By Colin McArthur
This provocative ebook follows MGM's Gene Kelly musical Brigadoon in the course of the worlds of Forties Broadway theatre and Fifties Hollywood and records the contempt the movie has elicited, rather from the Scots intelligentsia. McArthur succumbs to Brigadoon's allure, yet reveals no such mitigating beneficial properties in Mel Gibson's 1995 blockbuster Braveheart . Tracing Braveheart 's appropriation by means of political, touristic and wearing figures, he argues that, faraway from its being approximately Scottish heritage, it truly is essentially approximately Hollywood's favourite types and cinematic traditions. He seems to be too on the method the movie distorts background and examines Braveheart 's sinister entice the proto-fascist psyche. McArthur argues that either motion pictures have huge, immense resonance inside of Scottish tradition and the Scots diaspora and, crucially, for an unlimited around the world viewers who can have no different wisdom of the Scots.
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Extra info for Brigadoon, Braveheart and the Scots: Distortions of Scotland in Hollywood Cinema
Although this had been to some extent true of the inter-war period, sumptuous advertisements, especially for whisky since the Scottish tourist authorities could not match the funding of the whisky companies, increasingly suffused the pages of up- and middle-market American publications such as Fortune, Collier’s, Life, Saturday Evening Post and the New Yorker, most usually drawing on Tartanry/Kailyard images of Scotland. Post-Brigadoon advertisements often draw upon Brigadoon-like landscapes and rustic bridges, opening up the likelihood that the show was both (to some extent) shaped by and shaping advertising.
Learning that her dead lover’s script was not among the 12 because ‘it lacked certain elements that we need to market a film successfully’, the heroine enquires what these elements are. Mill then recounts the key ingredients not just of the classic Hollywood film, but of that form at a particular moment (1992) of its development – ‘suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, happy endings… mainly happy endings’. ’. With the replacement of nudity and sex with singing, dancing and romance, Mill’s list amounts to a fair description of Brigadoon and of the Broadway musical more generally.
The brief second scene has both a practical and a musical function. It is part of the genre of the Broadway musical – which it shares with operetta and, indeed, opera – that, shortly after establishing the basics of the story, there should be a big production number, usually involving most of the cast, an upbeat musical tempo and the glowing spectacle of actors and costumes in colourful movement. In Viennesestyle operetta, for example, this would be the early ‘village green’ scene where the aristocratic principals encounter the happy, forelock-tugging peasants and drink, sing, flirt and, sometimes dance with them.
Brigadoon, Braveheart and the Scots: Distortions of Scotland in Hollywood Cinema by Colin McArthur