Whisky Galore! (1949)

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Movie Info

Originally released in Great Britain as Whisky Galore!, Tight Little Island is a comedy predicated on the notion that all Scotsmen are lushes. The tiny Scots Island of Todday suffers from a wartime whisky shortage. Luck of luck, a ship full of the precious liquid is wrecked on a reef. The islanders conspire to smuggle the whisky off the ship right under the noses of the pesky British revenue officials. Numerous clever comic complications occur before the happy ending--which, we are told by the narrator, was not so happy once all the whisky was consumed. Tight Little Island is regarded by devotees of British comedy as the best and most representative offering from the short-lived Ealing Studios.

Cast

Basil Radford
as Capt. Paul Waggett
Joan Greenwood
as Peggy Macroon
Bruce Seton
as Sgt. Odd
Catherine Lacey
as Mrs. Waggett
Gordon Jackson
as George Campbell
Wylie Watson
as Joseph Macroon
Gabrielle Blunt
as Catriona Macroon
Jean Cadell
as Mrs. Campbell
Morland Graham
as The Biffer
Duncan Macrae
as Angus MacCormac
Compton MacKenzie
as Capt. Buncher
John Gregson
as Sammy MacConrum
James Woodburn
as Roderick MacRuire
James Anderson
as Old Hector
Jameson Clark
as Constable Macrae
Mary McNeil Fenollosa
as Mrs. MacCormac
Alastair Hunter
as Capt. MacKechnie
Norman Macowan
as Capt. MacPhee
Alistair Hunter
as Capt. MacKechnie
Henry Mollison
as Mr. Farquharson
Frank Webster
as 1st Mate
Finlay Currie
as Narrator
A.E. Matthews
as Col. Linsey-Woolsey
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Critic Reviews for Whisky Galore!

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (7)

[A] convivial little classic.

Apr 7, 2016

Beguiling, subversive and a complete joy.

Jul 28, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The film hangs on a superb sense of community -- both in the story and in its making.

Apr 4, 2011 | Full Review…

Out of this excellent idea, which less skilled hands might have reduced to farce, the British moviemakers have spun a tight little comedy of pure gold.

Apr 4, 2011 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Basil Radford gives a flawless performance.

Jul 22, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The result is the sweetest, smartest and most joyous of all the Ealing comedies.

Jun 24, 2006 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Whisky Galore!

½

It's not vintage Ealing, but it's a fine dram all the same.

Marcus Woolcott
Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

½

A very accessible comedy thriller for a 1940s black & white movie. Full of Dad's Army, home guard humour and George Formby type characters. Explains a lot about the conservative ways of Scottish island live nowadays too...

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

Delightful post-war British comedy illustrating for the umpteenth time the fighting spirit of the "ordinary Joe" (or in this case Jock) when set against the pomposity of the would-be ruling classes. Capt Waggett (Basil Radford) is the real star here as the middle class representative of stiff upper lippery. Surely Jimmy Perry and David Croft must have drawn on him when they were dreaming up the Capt Mainwaring character for the long-running BBC TV sit-com "Dad's Army". Even one of Waggett's lines ("I was waiting to see when you'd spot that", a comment usually made when Mainwaring had just uttered some piece of logistical nonsense) made an appearance. Unmissable example of British comedy rooted in the style that made Ealing so succesful

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

[Warning: Some might say this review contains spoilers, though I personally wouldn't have minded reading any of these comments beforehand.] I love many of those little British comedies of the '50s and early '60s, and I know this is regarded as a classic and one of the first of its breed. But this film really frustrated me. The premise of an isolated, unhappily "dry" island suddenly finding itself with a motherlode of contraband alcohol is so wonderful, but the execution just doesn't pay off like it should. I envisioned a plot about the amusing repercussions of sitting on this bounty. Some people will get too drunk. Other people will do unwise things while drunk. Other people will covet others' stashes, resulting in a comic series of thefts and quarrels. Great fun. But instead, a large chunk of the film is devoted to simply *getting* the whisky and setting the story in motion. And once the town has its booze, not much happens beyond the authorities trying to claim it back. Very little in the way of human comedy results -- just car chases and action scenes. Furthermore, the final *minute* or so suddenly adds a buzzkill conclusion which comes off like something hastily inserted after the temperance board protested an early screening. What a drag!

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Whisky Galore! Quotes

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