Brigadoon (1954)

Article #1312 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-17-2004
Posting Date: 3-16-2005
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Featuring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, Cyd Charisse

Two hunters stumble upon the Scottish village of Brigadoon, which only appears on the earth for one day every one hundred years.

There was a time in my life when I hated musicals. Then there was a period of time when I was under the influence of Danny Peary’s “Film Fanatic Guide” (which encourages trying out all genres), and I ended up watching musicals on a more regular basis. I found that practically every genre (with the possible exception of soap operas) has the ability to speak to me, and that includes musicals. Nowadays, even if I can’t really call myself a fan of the form, I don’t hate them and can enjoy them if I wish.

One of the powers of a musical is that it can take a corny concept and, through the use of music and dance, give it depth and resonance. The concept here is that “love can work miracles”; this may make my rational mind snicker, but it does touch a chord in my emotional mind, and the music and dance draws on that part of my psyche. Now I wouldn’t call BRIGADOON a great musical (it gets a little boring at times), but it is a good one. At the very least, it does accomplish the task of making its theme resonant enough so that you find yourself touched and moved at the end of the movie rather than annoyed. You even feel a little sorry for the Van Johnson character, whose materialistic nature makes an appreciation of the magical nature of Brigadoon and the power of love inaccessible to him. Movies like this do have a valuable function; in a world where it is so easy to give in to cynicism, that there are other options if we have the heart to pursue them.


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