Brigadoon, Braveheart and the Scots: Distortions of Scotland by Colin McArthur

By Colin McArthur

This provocative publication follows MGM's Gene Kelly musical Brigadoon during the worlds of Forties Broadway theatre and Nineteen Fifties Hollywood and records the contempt the movie has elicited, really from the Scots intelligentsia. McArthur succumbs to Brigadoon's appeal, yet unearths no such mitigating beneficial properties in Mel Gibson's 1995 blockbuster Braveheart . Tracing Braveheart 's appropriation through political, touristic and wearing figures, he argues that, faraway from its being approximately Scottish background, it really is essentially approximately Hollywood's normal types and cinematic traditions. He seems too on the approach the movie distorts heritage and examines Braveheart 's sinister entice the proto-fascist psyche. McArthur argues that either movies have huge, immense resonance inside Scottish tradition and the Scots diaspora and, crucially, for an enormous world wide viewers who could have no different wisdom of the Scots.

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Extra resources for Brigadoon, Braveheart and the Scots: Distortions of Scotland in Hollywood Cinema

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She goes on: De Mille’s community… is entirely homogeneous. In fact, the moral purpose of her ballet is to show the error of being a nonconformist… Rodeo personifies all the conventional ideas about courting. In trying to be like the men the Cowgirl loses their 29 30 Brigadoon, Braveheart and the Scots respect; they want their girls to be mysterious, unpredictable, helpless, to wear bows in their hair and not smell of leather and horse sweat… [T]o be correct is to belong, and belonging is all. (Siegel 1979: 128–129) The danger of following through a trend in terms of the practice of a single artist is the implication that the single artist is the ‘onlie begetter’ of the trend.

He would progressively abandon acting for directing and teaching, founding – with Crawford and Kazan – the famous Actors Studio in New York, the practice of which, popularly dubbed ‘the Method’, would become more widely known through the film work of ‘graduates’ of the Studio such as Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and James Dean. Given that Lewis’ involvement in Brigadoon might be seen as the coming to fruition of all these qualities which the Group inhibited, it is a pleasing coincidence that one of his earliest muscle-flexings as director should have been the William Saroyan play of 1939 – My Heart’s in the Highlands.

Gerstäcker. Lerner, in his reply, conceded that Germelshausen had been drawn to his attention, but only after he had completed the first draft of Brigadoon. The charge of plagiarism was taken up by George Jean Nathan, theatre critic of the New York Times, and it obviously stung Lerner so deeply that, over 30 years later, in his memoirs, The Street Where I Live, he was to accuse Nathan of being motivated solely by sexual jealousy. The interest of these exchanges is in their symptomatic quality, their being of a piece with the unreality of Brigadoon’s world.

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