Anything is possible in Brigadoon, the Lerner and Loewe musical put to celluloid in 1954 by director Vincente Minnelli: a village can reappear for only one day each century, and Gene Kelly can tap-dance on a dirt path. Kel... more »ly and Van Johnson play a pair of New Yorkers who go on a hunting vacation in the highlands of Scotland. But what Tommy Albright (Kelly) captures is the heart of a bonny Scottish lass, Fiona Campbell (Cyd Charisse). The catch: Fiona lives in Brigadoon, an enchanted town that appears for only one day every 100 years. If Tommy stays, he must give up everything (including his fiancÚ back home); if Fiona leaves with Tommy, Brigadoon will vanish into the highland mist, never to be seen again. Not that this keeps anyone from having a good time. The men are clad in vivid tartan kilts and leggings, and the women swish about in multicolored petticoats. Fiona's sister Jean is getting married, and the whole town is drinking ale and singing cheery songs--except for Jean's ex-beau, who threatens to leave and thereby end the town's existence. Brigadoon is a charming escape into a sweet fairy tale. Some of the songs may be less than memorable, but Kelly's choreography is often as witty as the banter. When the hectic pace of the modern world threatens to overtake you, consider a brief vacation in the highlands of Scotland. As one character says, "There must be an awful lot of folk searching for a Brigadoon"--even if it only lasts for a couple of hours. --Larisa Lomacky Moore« less
"When I first rented BRIGADOON from the public library last spring, I immediately fell in love with it. Just added the DVD to my collection yesterday. It is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. It is a 1954 film adaptation of the 1947 Broadway musical. The Lerner and Loewe score is one of the greatest ever written for the stage (or screen). The great cast includes Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, and Cyd Charisse. Although certainly not the greatest singers in the world, Kelly's and Johnson's singing is more than adequate and is really quite lovely. Charisse's singing voice is dubbed for this film, and she works great as well. When Brigadoon made the transition from Broadway to Hollywood, a good chunk of its score was dispensed with in order to make room to highlight the dancing abilities of its stars. This is, in fact, where many people find fault with this film; the lack of the rest of the Broadway score. To these people, I have this to say... ---This movie is not the Broadway play. It is a **film adaptation.**--- This is also the common complaint about MGM's "Show Boat" from 3 years earlier. Another common complaint about "Brigadoon" is that it was obviously shot in soundstages on the MGM lot in Culver City instead of the highlands of Scotland. This was due to the fact that producers were working with smaller budgets than they had been just 3 or 4 years earlier. This, coupled with the unpredictable weather in the British Isles, necesitated that the film be shot at the studio. This is also evident in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" from the same year. Although the sets are obviously painted backdrops, they are nicely done and work well. IMO, they do not demerit the film.Brigadoon more than makes up for the missing songs by adding some spectacular dance numbers. "Heather on the Hill" is one of the most sweeping dance numbers I have ever seen in any film. Kelly's and Charisse's gracefulness really hits the spot. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the DVD, with its lush color, clear picture, and stereo sound. If you haven't seen "Brigadoon," you should see it. At the very least for some of the greatest dance numbers you will ever see."
Brigadoon an Overlooked Masterpiece
A. Munnik | Brazeau Tower, Alberta | 05/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brigadoon is widely considered as one of Vincente Minnelli's lesser achievements. The critics were somewhat disenchanted that Brigadoon was filmed on a sound stage in Culver City rather than "on location" in Scotland. MGM had not helped matters by actually dispatching Minnelli and Producer Arthur Freed to Scotland to scout for suitable filming locations. MGM, like the other major studios, were finding themselves in somewhat dire financial straits due to competition from television and certain pieces of anti-trust legislation that loosened their monopolistic grip over the entertainment industry. When MGM pulled the plug on the concept of an "on location" shoot (they were well aware of Minnelli's obsession with perfection and expected that he would go well over budget if given a free rein), the entire project became saddled with an image problem. By 1954, movie audiences expected something more than fixed indoor sets and painted scenery, especially from a work so site specific as Brigadoon.
Minnelli faced other obstacles. Ansco was a cheaper and somewhat inferior colour processing system than Technicolor, which no doubt irritated his refined sensibilities. He also had to come to terms with the new demands of Cinemascope and full stereophonic sound, with somewhat mixed results.
Even more troubling is that the choreography was in the hands of Gene Kelly, who seemed determined to emphasize the dancing rather than musical element at the heart of Brigadoon. The two had worked wonderfully together on "An American in Paris", but on the set of Brigadoon their artistic visions clashed. It is telling that Brigadoon was their last collaboration.
Critics in the 1950's were also a better informed breed than they were 20 years earlier and they were quick to pounce on certain "inaccuracies", such as the outrageous blends of tartans, which cerainly would have made any Laird wince, and the suitability of much of Mr. Kelly's choreography; hardly Scottish by a long stretch.
Yet in spite of these encumberances, I love this film. The painted diaramas are in keeping with the preposterous nature of the storyline, and what beautiful sets they are! Minnelli's artistic flourishes are evident eveywhere, such as the ample plantings of heather which must have caused a state of full employment for local florists. Minnelli"s outstanding contribution to American Film was his refined palette of colour schemes, and in Brigadoon his genius achieves its climax. Make no mistake, Brigadoon is a feast for the eyes.
The music by Lerner and Loewe is superb, with haunting melodies and stirring choruses. Cyd Charisse, always more celebrated for her dancing than her thespian skills, in Brigadoon achieves her finest hour, even though her singing voice is dubbed. Gene Kelly's type of acting is perhaps an acquired taste, but there is no denying his cat like grace and radiant boyish good looks.
On the whole, the imperfections of Brigadoon only make it more endearing. It is the one musical I never tire of seeing over and over again."
The Plus Factor
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 06/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw a high school production of BRIGADOON in San Francisco at the ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) at 24th and Guerrero. These girls who played the parts had never been anywhere near Scotland, you could tell, and some had not been in the USA very long and the charming accents of South of the Border stood in for the strong Scots burr. Nevertheless they played the show beautifully and ever since then I have had a fondness for the music and the story. I feel that the makers of MOULIN ROUGE were probably trying to capture some of the big-hearted appeal of BRIGADOON when they created their fantasy world. Watching the movie I have always felt that a bit of the magic was lost because so much of Minnelli's canvas was spent on dance elements which, IMHO, are just not that interesting. So many dance numbers created to take advantage of Gene Kelly's and Cyd Charisse's astonishing abilities. Maybe too many! Thus some of the musical numbers had to be cut out, including some of the loveliest of the songs Lerner and Loewe wrote for the 1947 musical.
Imagine my surprise and delight when the new DVD came out this spring and I discover that, in fact, Minnelli did film three of the rejected songs (and recorded another, perhaps the greatest) and that all of this deleted material would be available on the disc. I was in hog heaven. However we are all familiar with some deleted scenes that you watch and then you say, "Well, I know why that sucker got deleted" and I was afraid that these scenes would be of inferior quality. (Like "Is It A Crime?" in BELLS ARE RINGING--forgive me, "Crime" fans!)
But it is my pleasure to report that all 3 numbers here are keepers. I wish somehow they had been re-integrated back into the main print of BRIGADOON and we could then judge the movie for once and for all the way Minnelli wanted it. If it is too long, then maybe shorten down the "Sword Dance." I feel sure that somewhere footage must exist for the exquisite "There But For You Go I"--or is that just a dream of mine? In any case we can now hear the track, and we can see the fully staged versions of "Come to Me, Bend to Me" and the marvelous "From This Day On" which is to BRIGADOON what "From This Moment On" is to KISS ME KATE. All in all, the plus factor makes this disc the one to buy if you're wanting the full BRIGADOON magic."
Out of the mists and into the light
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although painted backdrops and cyclorama stand in for the "heathered hills" of Scotland, M-G-M's film version of BRIGADOON (directed by Vincente Minnelli) does feature Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly in some of their finest work on screen. Charisse in particular dazzles as Fiona with some fancy footwork in "The Heather on the Hill", the memorable pas de deux with Kelly. Dody Heath and Van Johnson provide the cute secondary romance. The Broadway score of Lerner and Loewe ("Waitin' for My Dearie", "I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean", "Almost Like Being in Love", etc.) is justly-delivered by the renowned M-G-M Studio Orchestra under the baton of Johnny Green (with arrangements by Conrad Salinger).
Originally this film was to have been shot on location in Scotland, but budget cuts under the new studio head Dore Schary prevented this. The fake sets combined with the CinemaScope ratio spelled disaster for the film technically. Artistically, BRIGADOON's heart was in the right place and the sincerity of the performers overcomes any of the bigger problems. Still wonderful."
Almost Like Being in Love
Charlotte Kendall | Bay City, MI | 02/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reason I saw this is because I am a huge Gene Kelly fan and I love Cyd Charisse as well! This isn't the greatest MGM musical but it was one of the last ones from the "Golden Age" that make this movie very special. The movie is about two hunters named Tommy(Gene Kelly) and Jeff (Van Johnson) who are in Scotland. While they are lost they stumble into this little village that isn't on their map. The village happens to be Brigadoon and it happens to wake up for one day every one hundred years. Tommy starts to fall in love with Fiona (Cyd Charisse) but Fiona can't leave the village if she does the town will disappear forever. This movie has a lot of great music my favorites are "Heather on the Hill", "Waitin' for My Dearie", "I'll Go Home With Bonnie Jean", and "Almost Like Being in Love." This is really one the last great musicals! This a must see movie! I am very happy that Warner Bros. re-released this on DVD with good extras!
Here are the extras:
First-ever New Digital 16x9 Transfer (2:55:1) Soundtrack Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Three Outtake Musical Numbers: Come to Me, Bend to Me, From this Day On and Sword Dance Audio Outtake: There But for You Go I Theatrical Trailer Languages: English & French Subtitles - English, French and Spanish
Go out and get lost and fall in love with Brigadoon!"