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Year:
1949
Country:
UK
Genre:
Crime, Comedy
IMDB rating:
7.3
Director:
Alexander Mackendrick

 

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Gordon Jackson as George Campbell
Morland Graham as The Biffer
James Woodburn as Roderick MacRurie
Gabrielle Blunt as Catriona Macroon
Jameson Clark as Constable Macrae
James Anderson as Old Hector
Bruce Seton as Sergeant Odd
Wylie Watson as Joseph Macroon
James Robertson Justice as Dr. Maclaren
John Gregson as Sammy MacCodrun
Jean Cadell as Mrs. Campbell
Catherine Lacey as Mrs. Waggett
Basil Radford as Captain Paul Waggett
Joan Greenwood as Peggy Macroon
Whisky Galore! Storyline: Based on a true story. The name of the real ship, that sunk Feb 5 1941 - during WWII - was S/S Politician. Having left Liverpool two days earlier, heading for Jamaica, it sank outside Eriskay, The Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in bad weather, containing 250,000 bottles of whisky. The locals gathered as many bottles as they could, before the proper authorities arrived, and even today, bottles are found in the sand or in the sea every other year.
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HQ DVD-rip 704x528 px 1330 Mb mpeg4 2324 Kbps mkv Download
DVD-rip 640x464 px 697 Mb mpeg4 1219 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
Art and Entertainment Galore
Along with classical music Compton Mackenzie certainly knew his stuff when he wrote Whisky Galore, basing it on true events that happened in 1941. I always preferred the film. The quality of the video I made from UK BBC2 on 28th Dec 1988 was excellent, but there are budget editions out there so if interested best be careful. This is one of Ealing's handful of timeless first class classics, one that is always shown on TV and has passed into British movie folklore. Its depiction of the Sabbath-keeping Scottish islanders is only just passing into history as the inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides are only gradually establishing Sunday communications with the mainland.

Insular isolated island runs out of whisky but a cargo ship with 50,000 cases of the muck runs aground nearby. Happy times return, against all the efforts of Basil Radford as the local snooty (English) Home Guard Captain. Bruce Seton was actually a rather weather-beaten 40 to Joan Greenwood's 28 but they surely made a splendid non whisky drinking couple especially at the dance. Favourite bits: The church clock striking for the arrival of Monday morning and the consequent sudden activity; The group of men singing lustily and making hay with their first drink for ages; Hiding the muck from the Excise men, and so much more to watch and savour over and over again.

Ealing Studios went to Barra in summer 1948 and filmed this in 3 months for £80,000 - over-budget, too! When I think of the enormous pleasure that it's given me and so many others over the decades I would think that it was money very well spent, unlike any that might be spent on a pointless remake.
2006-04-09
Ealing classic still the measure
The island of Barra doubles for the fictional Isle of Toddy, where the God-fearing locals sweat over the sabbath before launching a mission to unload 50,000 cases of whisky from a shipwreck under the fastidious guard of the sassenach Home Guard captain, Basil Radford.

Beautifully paced, wonderfully shot, Whisky Galore creates a genre of Scottish/Celtic-themed comedies and refuses to relinquish its crown to the pretenders. Local Hero, Restless Natives, Hear My Song, and Heavenly Pursuits are all funny films that exploit the wry, laconic humour established in Whisky Galore. The epitome of this is the scene where the Sergeant tells his fiancé's father of his honourable intentions. More than his daughter's betrothal, the father's mind is on salvaging the whisky, and he plots to make it happen.

The English-Scottish tension would have been easy to overplay but it hardly surfaces, the writers instead allowing the characters to develop three-dimensionally. Each scene is a gem. No rural Scottish comedy can ever be made again without referencing this timeless classic.
2008-07-11
One of the most overrated films ever?
I regret to say that this is one of the most overrated films I have ever seen. This is the only negative review I have ever done for IMDb, but enough is enough - someone has to stand up against the tide of praise this film has inexplicably attracted for decades.

If ever there was an example of a film playing the part of the emperor in the Emperor's New Clothes fable, it is this one. There are virtually no laughs - and yet it is an acclaimed comedy. It is at times cruel and unpleasant - and yet it has a reputation for being gentle and whimsical.

There are genuinely classic comedies from the 1940s, so I have nothing against 40s comedies as such. An example is fellow Ealing comedy 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' (1948), which is both clever and genuinely witty, and at the same time doesn't pretend to be gentle and whimsical.

However, 'Whisky Galore' is neither clever nor witty. And, as mentioned above, it is at times cruel. The army captain (Basil Radford) is only trying to do his job, yet is driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown by the malice of the islanders. In the end, the captain gets into trouble with his superiors because of the deceit of the islanders. How gentle, whimsical and amusing - not.

I realise that such films were popular at the time because they tapped into the prevailing anti-establishment feeling of the immediate post-war years. However, in the cold light of the 21st century we need to be honest. There are many 1940s films which stand up extremely well even today. 'Whisky Galore' is not one of them.
2010-02-23
Excellent Film from Ealing
Another brilliant movie from Ealing studios, this one based in the islands of Scotland.

Due to the studios at Ealing all being used for other productions at the time, filming took place on location in Scotland and the film looks immeasurably better for it. Having the action take place on the actual beaches, countryside and buildings of the islands makes the whole thing look so much better.

Based on a true story, Whisky Galore tells the tale of when whisky is rationed during WW2 and a ship is wrecked off the island coast with 50000 cases of whisky. Naturally the inhabitants want to get it before the ship completely sinks, but have to contend with the local pest Captain Wagget and the local revenue.

Captain Wagget is really really nasty and wants to cause misery to everyone on the island and yet he is not actually a bad person, he just doing what he thinks is right. But as history shows untold misery has been inflicted on the world by those who do things because they think they are right. At the end, his attitude annoys everyone, even his own wife who, having stood by him throughout the entire movie, bursts in uncontrollable laughter when Wagget finds out he has inadvertently sent some whisky to the revenue.

The rest of the island inhabitants are all a bunch of crooks. Particularly funny is Duncan Macrae who appears stupid, but who one suspects is a lot cleverer than most people think.

It also extols the virtues of whisky, such as how it allows Mummy's boys to stand up to their domineering mothers and other such acts of bravery.

Ealing Studios does it again.
2006-06-28
Charming, heartwarming, hilarious
A lovely bit of nostalgia here, one of the greats of British comedy. The isle of Toddy becomes for a while at least a true paradise when the islanders find themselves rescuing part of the cargo of a wrecked ship carrying precious whisky, despite the efforts of the sassenach jobsworth running the local home guard. A wealth of wonderful moments, a softly-spoken gentleness that has always characterised this kind of movie (and lives on in such modern works as Hear My Song and Waking Ned), and a kind but firm lack of respect for bureaucratic authority soaked throughout the entire film make this a delight and a joy every time.
2001-02-23
A Sip of Good Scotch
A good whisky needs time to fully express itself; drinking it without its having reached its maturity just won't do. Well, like a great whisky, this film has developed itself over time. Already 65 years old, and that is certainly a long period of ageing, "Whisky Galore" is still crisp, certain, subtle and appealing, what you would expect both a great spirit and a great film to be. Like the perfect sip, it gets ahold of you from the very beginning, captivating the drinker (or the viewer) with calculated pace and timing, keeping your interest from start to finish. The movie deals easily with complex issues, such as the relation between parents and offspring, military and civilian, State and folk, always leaning towards the weaker. Ever gentle, it will make you smile and leave you with a nice reminiscence lingering for a long time: once again, just as a glass of the best scotch would do. Cheers!
2014-01-23
Whisky in the jar
Whisky Galore! is generally regarded as the typical charming and whimsical Ealing comedy pitting the common people against the forces of bureaucracy and high mindedness.

Directed by the American Alexander Mackendrick who had a sly eye for such waggish stories. When a cargo of whisky is shipwrecked near a small Outer Hebrides island, the local villagers, already out of whisky rations set about taking as much of the stock from the stricken ship before the authorities get wind.

Basil Radford plays the Home Guard's Captain Waggett, an Englishman who tries to keep order from what he sees as anarchy and find the stolen whisky which by now is cunningly hidden by the villagers.

The villagers just want to have fun during wartime rationing and rally together by sticking two fingers at the face of authority. A classic case of Ealing's anti establishment streak which works well in a remote island community which by the way still strictly observes Sunday. Of course Gordon Jackson is in it, a young man with a domineering mother.

Although the tale is amiable, it is also modest. It is more of a culture clash comedy as Captain Waggett behaves in an arch way and not trying to understand the locals.
2015-01-19
Bottoms Up!
A Canadian friend turned me on to this film. Prior to that - about 10 years ago - I had never heard of it. I managed to find a video and watched it. This was, without question, one of the funniest flicks I had ever seen. Filmed in glorious black & white and mostly at night, it boasted some incredible character actors and a non-stop action plot involving whiskey. LOTS of whiskey. Some great cinematography and sets, moody typical-English fog-laden atmosphere and a giant A for effort what the townsfolk went thru to hold on to that liquor! Very funny, non-violent movie just for laughs. I strongly suggest you see it.
2002-04-04
5th Review: Charming and Warming
Whisky Galore is a lovely, charming film - without a mean thought, a swear word, or a hidden intention in sight. It has a charm of it's own - slow-paced at first, then by turns quicker and quicker - and it's funny without resorting to anything inappropriate. The islanders are good characters and the situations sweet - it makes an excellent tonic to the constant assault of modern action comedies.

It stands as one of the best of the Ealing comedies - and that's no poor recommendation - more than worth your time - provided you are willing to be drawn in.

Might make you want a wee dram though...
2006-09-04
Cheers!
On 5 February 1941, the SS Politician, en route to Jamaica, sank during bad weather off the coast of Eriskay, in the Outer Hebrides. It was carrying 250,000 bottles of whisky, which the locals gleefully looted before authorities arrived. Bottles still surface to this day, carried in by the tides to the beach. It must be a wonderful place to live.

Whisky Galore!, an adaptation of the novel based on the true incident by Compton Mackenzie, uses the same premise, but - importantly - the interlopers (or "meddling colonialists"), in the shape of Basil Radford's Captain Waggett and his Home Guard, are already in place.

On the Island of Todday whisky is everything - the "water of life" binding the community together. When wartime rationing spells its depletion, the locals are only too delighted to relieve the "SS Cabinet Minister" of its cargo. Confrontation between the wily Islanders battling (literally) for survival, the pompous, uncomprehending Captain (a forerunner to Dad's Army's Captain Mainwaring), and the Gestapo-like Customs and Excise men is a foregone conclusion.

To Ealing head Michael Balcon's consternation, the movie was produced by a novice (Ealing's publicist Monja Danischewsky) and helmed by first-time director Alexander Mackendrick, emerging over-budget, due to (coincidentally enough) bad weather. Mackendrick, a strict Scottish Calvinist, also deliberately imposed a moralistic comeuppance-style ending.

But Balcon shouldn't have worried. Scarily similar to The Wicker Man in places, this wonderful movie is a joy to watch from start to finish, with Basil Radford, in particular, in his element. A reminder, if one were needed, that classic British cinema doesn't begin and end South of the border, this one - like whisky - will bring a warm glow to your cheeks.
2009-11-12
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