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Based on a true story. The name of the real ship, that sunk Feb 5 1941 - during WWII - was S/S Politician. Having left Liverpool two days earlier, heading for Jamaica, it sank outside Eriskay, The Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in bad weather, containing 250,000 bottles of whisky. The locals gathered as many bottles as they could, before the proper authorities arrived, and even today, bottles are found in the sand or in the sea every other year.
For more about Whisky Galore! and the Whisky Galore! Blu-ray release, see Whisky Galore! Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on July 29, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, Catherine Lacey, Bruce Seton, Wylie Watson, Gabrielle Blunt
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
» See full cast & crew
Whisky Galore! Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, July 29, 2011
Alexander Mackendrick's "Whisky Galore!" (1949) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include a short introduction by film critic and journalist George Perry; audio commentary by writer and producer John Ellis; documentary feature; video interview with islander Angus Campbell; video interview with Hilary Mackendrick, wife of director Alexander Mackendrick; and collection of photos taken during the shooting of the film. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
On the remote Scottish island of Todday in The Outer Hebrides people are seriously depressed – because there is not enough whisky and life without it isn't worth living. They complain daily and hope that eventually the damn whisky rationing would go away.
One day a miracle happens. The SS Cabinet Minister, a large ship carrying 50,000 cases of whisky, is wrecked on the coastline. The crew immediately deserts the ship and its cargo. On the shore, the captain of the ship requests help from the government, but is told that it may take awhile before he gets any.
The locals quickly discover what the ship's cargo is and rush to salvage as much of it as possible. In a matter of hours, hundreds of bottles of whisky are removed from the ship and hidden in a large cave.
Soon after, the proper authorities dispatch a few agents to reclaim the whiskey from the locals. However, instead of giving back the precious whisky, they decide to hide it all over the island and frustrate the agents so that they leave them alone.
Alexander Mackendrick's Whisky Galore!, the director's first feature film, was inspired by a true story. On February 5, 1941, the SS Politician sank near the Hebridean islands of Eriskay and South Uist. On board of the ship were 22,000 cases of whisky, approximately 7,000 of which were "rescued" by people from the islands.
In Mackendrick's film, the story has been embellished quite a bit, but its essence is true. People from the fictional island of Todday unite and confront the agents who arrive to reclaim the precious cargo just like those who in 1941 apparently did the same and managed to stash away hundreds of bottles of whisky. While the drama is underway, some of these people fall in love, confront old demons, and choose a new direction in life.
The humor is excellent, even when it is a bit dry. Some of the best sequences in the film feature the arrogant English Home Guard Captain Paul Waggett (Basil Radford), who consistently fails to prove that he knows what he is talking about. The supporting cast, comprised mostly of nonprofessional actors, the majority of whom were Scots, also brightens up the entire film. It is unclear whether some real whisky was passed around during the shooting of the film, but quite a few of the Scots look suspiciously happy.
Together with Robert Hamer's Kind Hearts and Coronets and Henry Cornelius' Passport to Pimlico, Whisky Galore! established the Ealing Studios' reputation for producing high quality British comedies. Despite its enormous success in Britain, however, when the film finally reached the U.S. the local censors demanded that its distributor promotes it under an alternative title because there was a ban on using names of alcoholic drinks in titles. As a result, Whisky Galore! was renamed Tight Little Island.
Note: In 1950, Whisky Galore! was nominated for BAFTA Film Award for Best British Film.
Whisky Galore! Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, Alexander Mackendrick's Whisky Galore! arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment.
The following text appears in the press materials for the Blu-ray release of Whisky Galore!:
"Whiskey Galore was restored in high-definition for this release using the best original film materials available. Unfortunately, some technical issues remain in the form of occasional printed-in dirt and scratches, periodic softness and instability of picture caused by film shrinkage, and image flicker caused by density fluctuations. These issues are all as per the original film source materials and reflect both the nature of the original film production and the physical state of the materials."
Despite the above warning about various inherited issues, Whisky Galore! looks terrific on Blu-ray. Many of the close-ups -- and there are plenty of happy faces during the second half of the film -- look very strong. In fact, looking at some of them it is hard to imagine that Whisky Galore! was filmed in 1949. Despite minor fluctuations, clarity and contrast are also pleasing. Even during the very dark foggy sequences, clarity is surprisingly good. The best news, however, is that there are absolutely no traces of heavy DNR alterations. Unsurprisingly, healthy grain in various doses is present throughout the entire film. Edge-enhancement and macroblocking do not plague the high-definition transfer either. Color reproduction is convincing -- the blacks look healthy, not boosted, while the variety of grays and whites convey pleasing organic qualities. Finally, occasionally some sequences do look marginally softer than others, but the fluctuations are certainly within the realm of what is natural for aged films. Some minor scratches also appear here and there, but very large debris or damage marks have been eliminated. All in all, this is a very strong and very convincing presentation. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Whisky Galore! Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Optimum Home Entertainment have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
There are obvious improvements in terms of balance and fluidity here. Pops, cracks, and hiss have also been removed. As a result, the dialog is pleasingly clean and stable. There are no problematic dynamic fluctuations and absolutely no distortions whatsoever. Considering the age of the film, it appears that the audio has been optimized as best as possible.
Whisky Galore! Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Whisky Galore! Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Alexander Mackendrick's Whisky Galore! has been recently restored and looks simply terrific on Blu-ray. The disc also comes with a wealth of supplemental features, including a very informative audio commentary by writer and producer John Ellis. Also, like The Lavender Hill Mob, the restored Whisky Galore! is back in cinemas across the UK this Friday. Do not miss it, folks. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Whisky Galore! Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Whisky Galore Detailed - June 3, 2011
On August 8th, British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray Alexander Mackendrick's Whisky Galore (1949), starring Basil Radford (Night Train to Munich), Catherine Lacey (The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes), and Bruce Seton (The Cruel ...
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