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Brigadoon Review

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Tommy and Jeff, Americans on a grouse-hunting holiday, wander through a Scotch mist into the enchanted village of Brigadoon, which remains as it was in 1754, existing for only one day in every century. Tommy falls for local girl Fiona.

★★★★★

Though Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe’s score includes the standard hit ‘Almost Like Being in Love’, this is one of MGM’s more grotesque musical efforts.

In 1953, Vincente Minnelli made The Band Wagon, in which Jack Buchanan plays a director of musicals who runs away with himself and delivers a pretentious, overly-wrought flop – a year later, Minnelli made Brigadoon, which seems exactly like the comically dud production glimpsed in the earlier film.

A widescreen reproduction of a Broadway hit, Brigadoon runs to acres of face-frozen grins, billows of smoke machine mist, stiff supporting performances (with bogus Scots accents that make James Doohan sound like Robert Carlyle), a pompous and tasteless script and a kitsch vision of Scotland which is long on tartan tights and choreographed lynchings.

The long‑legged Charisse, in ridiculous costumes, is the major attraction from the past, tempting cynical modern American Kelly to disappear into the magical village, and a far more convincing a reason for surrendering to the fantasy than the somewhat embarrassing 'social comment' sequences.

The film tries to sell the frozen-in-1754 village as a magical utopia like Shangri-La, but it’s hard not to sympathise with the one bad-tempered villager who hates the ridiculously-contrived spell a pastor has brought down on Brigadoon to protect it from the outside world – the rest of the happy folks hunt this poor loser down and bring about his death, all the while singing a song about it. Based on a Japanese ghost story, the film later inspired Herschell Gordon Lewis’s splatter classic Two Thousand Maniacs!

Overdone and not particularly tasteful musical stuff and nonsense.

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