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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Brigadoon

Starring: Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Rated: G
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: September 1954
Genres: Classic, Music, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Elaine Stewart, Barry Jones, Hugh Laing, Van Johnson

Review by Brian Koller
2½ stars out of 4

"Brigadoon" has a few things going for it: Gene Kelly, and an engaging story. But sluggish musical numbers and a lack of comic relief keep the production from fully taking off.

"Brigadoon" stars Kelly and Van Johnson as American tourists in Scotland, hunting grouse. They become lost, and stumble upon a quaint village. This village exists for only day every century. Kelly falls for Cyd Charisse, who has poise but little warmth. Barry Jones lands a plum role as the brogue-speaking village elder Mr. Lundie (perhaps Barry Fitzgerald wasn't available). Meanwhile, love-spurned villager Hugh Laing threatens to spoil everyone's fantasy by leaving the village.

Director Vincente Minnelli contrasts the alleged charm of Brigadoon with the cynical, phony lifestyle of New York's privileged set. Returning to New York, Kelly becomes a space cadet dreaming of Brigadoon, while alcoholic Johnson is somehow racked with guilt for accidentally shooting a man and thereby saving an entire town. This leads inevitably to happy ending, at least for Kelly, although Johnson may have some explaining to do to the Police about what has happened to his friend.

All mocking aside, the concept of Brigadoon's centennial visit is a charming one. The script is good, and the sets, while phony, ("Brigadoon" was filmed in Hollywood) are meticulous. The limiting factor for the film is the musical numbers, with their lumbering choreography and ensemble choruses. The resulting feeling is not a visit to the Scottish highlands, but rather using a ticket to a Broadway musical.

Copyright 1995 Brian Koller

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