Brigadoon and Hollywood’s Distortion of Scotland

I recently came across Colin McArthur’s book Brigadoon, Braveheart and the Scots: Distortions of Scotland in Hollywood Cinema (2003), which (as its title implies) devotes a chapter to Brigadoon (Vincente Minnelli, 1954), an MGM musical starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, and Cyd Charrisse.

Most of the chapter (#3) may be read here on Google books.

And a description of the book overall:

This provocative book follows MGM’s Gene Kelly musical Brigadoon through the worlds of 1940s Broadway theatre and 1950s Hollywood and documents the contempt the film has elicited, particularly from the Scots intelligentsia. McArthur succumbs to Brigadoon’s charm, but finds no such mitigating features in Mel Gibson’s 1995 blockbuster Braveheart. Tracing Braveheart‘s appropriation by political, touristic and sporting figures, he argues that, far from its being about Scottish history, it is primarily about Hollywood’s generic forms and cinematic traditions. He looks too at the way the film distorts history and examines Braveheart‘s sinister appeal to the proto-fascist psyche. McArthur argues that both films have enormous resonance within Scottish culture and the Scots diaspora and, crucially, for a vast worldwide audience who may have no other knowledge of the Scots.



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