Posted on: 4th March 2012 19:38:43

Welcome to the March 2012 Edition. St. Patrick’s Day in Brigadoon!



Brigadoon begins our second look into the work of Gene Kelly.  (He appears inAugust in Singin’ in the Rain).


This film expertly directed by Vincente Minelli is the third pairing for actor and director. (The others: The Pirate with Judy Garland and An American in Paris with Leslie Caron) will have to wait for Volume 2 of Movies and Music.

It was rumored Minelli and Kelly wanted to film on location in Scotland. However, budgets being tight and studio heads being tight fisted, the Warner Brother’s back lot substituted for the land of Brigadoon


Brigadoon, a land of fantasy. As my group and I explore this film we find ourselves discussing all things related to a small community such as boundaries, town squares, customs and costumes. We enjoy reminiscences regarding the towns we grew up in and our particular family customs.  When visiting the town square we meet an anxious groom singing the praises of his new bride.  Here we have ample opportunity to discuss the language they use. In fact, the language they use, together with the concept of” love at first sight” are my favorite aspects of the film.

“Courting” is a common theme in all the films in the workbook. In this film it is done with elegance, grace and sweetness in the hands of Gene Kelly.  Who wouldn’t want to “take (his) hand and wander through the heather on the hill”? It is here we begin to see the real love Kelly has for Charisse. I enjoy my group’s stories about high school sweethearts, first meetings, first dates etc. In most cases it’s the men who are “smitten” with their brides.

Another aspect of the film which I have not discussed here, but have made reference to in other films such as Holiday Inn and White Christmas, is that of friendship.    In Holiday Inn we discovered Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire only pretended to be friends while trying to out manipulate each other. In White Christmas, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye truly like each other. In every encounter the audience has the sense that Danny is looking out for Bing.  Here, Gene’s friendship with Van Johnson is most likely a mixture of the others.


 At the close of the film, upon their return to Manhattan, Gene Kelly resumes his life as a businessman and finds himself drowning in memories of Brigadoon – even in the presence of another woman, and as Van Johnson tries to resume a similar life, he finds himself drowning in alcohol to block out memories of a land he believes never existed.   Therefore, when Gene wants to return to Scotland to “see” Brigadoon, Van believes “it doesn’t make sense” but goes with him to support him.  It is Johnson who also says, “it’s so much like a dream now I have to work hard to convince myself it happened at all”.  Johnson is the pessimist so Kelly takes on the optimist role by replying, ”I found the things you believe in become more real to you than all the things you can explain away or understand”.

I recommend you spend some time here discussing the aspects of this friendship -- support coupled with disbelief. Can pessimism and optimism exist well in a friendship? Do you believe as Kelly does, that the things you believe in become more real to you than all the things you can explain away or understand? 


Philosophy, language, and reminiscence all rolled into Brigadoon.  Who knew?





See you in April for a walk up the Avenue in Easter Parade!










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