An American in Scotland… ?
by Adam Miller
An unexpectedly terrible film. BRIGADOON was a succesful Broadway show, and with Gene Kelly starring in and choreographing, this film ought to be at the very least a watchable musical (a genre I'm perfectly fine with).
Of course, it's hard not to compare Kelly's body of work with the masterpiece SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. BRIGADOON compares badly. The dancing seems lackluster in comparison. Kelly's genius was in using his environments to choreograph dance numbers and the moors of Scotland just don't offer Kelly enough to play with.
Meanwhile, the story is a silly little fantasy about a town, Brigadoon, which awakes for one day only every 100 years. Kelly and co. stumble upon the village on the very day it just happens to be awake (which is only their second day since the "miracle" happened two hundred years ago). The film truly moves into bad territory, for me at least, with its dubious value system. You see, if any townsperson leaves Brigadoon, the whole spell is broken and everyone in Brigadoon has to, you know, live in the real world. So when the Emo character wants to leave, the whole town tries to stop him (and eventually kills him). Does that sound very Christian to you? And aside from that, the whole concept of a town which awakes every 100 years so it never has to deal with the terrors of any given century sounds like a pathetically quaint way to deal with the modern era. The twentieth century is scary, sure, but the townsfolk of Brigadoon aren't helping any. Instead they just go about their merry little lives.
I'd be curious in another hundred years what happens if global warming floods Scotland or something. I guess they'd all wake up and drown, which seems rather satisfying to me. At least that means I wouldn't have to listen to them singing anymore.