Based of course on the much loved 1947 novel by Compton Mckenzie, this new version of Whisky Galore starring Gregor Fisher, Eddie Izzard, James Cosmo, Kevin Guthrie, Sean Biggerstaff, Naomi Battrick, Ellie Kendrick and directed by Gillies MacKinnon was always going to have to live up to many people’s fond memories of Alexander Mackendrick’s 1949 film adaptation from the very start, and it actually does far more than this.
Disaster has struck the islands of Great Todday and Little Todday. The German army may have occupied nearby Norway, but the war in Europe has barely touched these remote islands...until now; they have run out of whisky. The “water of life has run dry”.
With a well crafted script by Peter McDougal, wonderful location photography, great attention to great period detail and some great acting that brings to life the main characters in this story, this is simply a delightful tale of local islanders running rings round the establishment, and in particular Home Guard platoon commander Captain Waggett is brought wonderfully to life by Eddie Izzard as they go about their task of hiding their haul of whisky salvaged from the stricken and run aground SS Cabinet Minister.
Gregor Fisher plays the local postmaster and is also narrator of this story, and his gentle portrayal of an at times cantankerous old widower dreading the day that his two daughters get married and leave him on his own is just a delight to watch.. This day as he knows is coming fast, and too soon for him.
The original story by Compton McKenzie is based on the real ship SS Politician which ran aground off the Island of Eriskay during a storm when en route to Jamaica and the U.S.A. The real ship was carrying more cargo than just whisky (this story does have an extra special cargo too).
Whisky Galore is one of those rare occasions when you can go to the cinema and just sit back, watch and enjoy a lovely warm story unfolding.
26 June, 17:15 at Festival Theatre
26 June, 20:45 at Filmhouse 1
Review by Tom King