Scottish-American director Alexander Mackendrick made his debut with this 1949 Ealing comedy, set on the fictional isle of Todday and filmed on Barra in the Outer Hebrides. Based on a novel by Compton Mackenzie, itself based on a wartime incident in which the islanders of Eriskay relieved the wrecked SS Politician of its consignment of whisky, it’s a classic Ealing tale of good-natured subversion, affectionately depicting a community whose spirits rise or fall depending on their ready access to a decent dram.
1943 and the island of Todday is in a deep depression due to the lack of whisky thanks to the War. When a ship containing a bountiful cargo of 50,000 cases is wrecked off the coast, pompous English Home Guard commander, Waggett (Basil Radford) is determined not to let the islanders get their hands on it. But he hasn’t reckoned with the single-minded resourcefulness of the wily islanders, amongst them Joan Greenwood, Wylie Watson, Gordon Jackson, James Robertson Justice and John Gregson, plus many real-life local extras.
Though filming on the Western Hebridean Isle of Barra over three summer months was plagued by terrible weather and went over budget, the film became a worldwide hit and was Ealing’s most profitable title.
Based On The Novel By Compton Mackenzie
Whisky Galore! appears in its original aspect ratio of 1:37:1 with mono 2.0 sound. Whisky Galore! was restored in high definition for this release using the best original film materials available. Unfortunately, some technical issues remain in the form of occasional printed-in dirt and scratches, periodic softness and instability of picture caused by film shrinkage, and image flicker caused by density fluctuation. These issues are all as per the original film source materials and reflect both the nature of the original film production and the physical state of the materials.