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