Brigadoon (1954)

Brigadoon (1954), directed by Vincente Minnelli.

How well you like this probably depends on (1) your attitude toward musicals and their goofy fantasy plots, (2) specifically Lerner and Loewe, and (3) the hyper-Scottish mythical setting with an explosive assault of kilts and plaid pants.

It's more or less a filmed stage musical and I had forgotten the gorgeous set dressing and lovely painted backgrounds. The dancing is not as vigorous as in other Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse films; they run around in the heather instead. Because of the dresses we do not see much of her famous long legs, but she is graceful and a knockout beauty regardless.

When we get back to New York Elaine Stewart has one scene as the fierce fiancée. She catches the eye just as she did in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) by the same director:

The village of Brigadoon is like Shangri-La in Lost Horizon (1937): a magical place hard to reach, but the heart's desire of those who want it. Not all do, like Van Johnson as the wittily drunken best pal, always cynical and unwilling or unable to be happy.

If you get under the sugary sweet surface, strange and subtle flavors wait: the village is enchanted because they are hiding from witches. They have lived only two days since, two hundred years by our time, but seem as if they had been doing it forever. An accidental shooting: one man must die so the village can live. They are not entirely disconnected from our world -- there is a calling back and forth in sleep.

Finally: what happened to poor Jeff when Tommy ran across the bridge at the end? No goodbye for him.

As for Lerner and Loewe: I like their music more than the films made from them. "Almost Like Being in Love" is the famous song from this one.

This title really deserves restoration and a Blu-ray, but I've seen no sign of either. The thumbnails are from the anamorphic DVD upgrade, but even that was done in ancient times. The aspect ratio is 2.55:1.

[Later: available on Blu-ray].