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Whisky Galore! Review

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When a ship sailing for Jamaica with a cargo of over 50,000 bottles of Whiskey shipwrecks in the Outer Hebrides the local villagers try to salvage as many as they can for themselves before the authorities arrive

★★★★

Alexander Mackendrick's remarkable first feature put Ealing comedy on the international map, and this influential, much imitated culture-clash comedy still sparkles. Beautifully shot on location in documentary style on the isle of Barra (with attendant weather and budget travails), it's a brilliantly canny ensemble caper in which sanctimonious but uncorruptible Home Guard captain Basil Radford's hunt for a foundered ship's "salvaged" wartime cargo of the amber nectar is hilariously foiled by thirsty islanders - including James Robertson Justice, young Gordon Jackson and seductive Joan Greenwood, with uncredited Finlay Currie as narrator - who run rings around him and the Excise men.

Screenwriter Compton MacKenzie, who adapted his own novel (inspired by a true story), appears as the S. S. Cabinet Minister's hapless captain. Furious Ealing chief Michael Balcon initially deplored the expensive footage, but Charles Crichton's editing revealed a sharp, snappy, shapely and sublime classic

Sharp and snappy Ealing comedy