Scots from around the globe celebrate their Scottish Heritage Month in April. Scottish actors such as Sean Connery, James McAvoy and Robbie Coltrane have made it big on the silver screen and their movies (James Bond, X-Men, and Harry Potter, respectively) are still big household names in the industry. Celebrating “Mìos dualchais”, let us look back at Whisky Galore! one of the most important Scottish movies.
The movie is set in 1943 during the peak of World War 2 on the fictional island of Todday. The inhabitants of the island are unaffected by the ravaging war but their whisky supply is running out. The population went crazy like they were cut off from oxygen, and among those affected are widowed postmaster Macroon and his two adult daughters Caitriona and Peggy. Both daughters’ lives are affected by the shortage as Peggy’s nuptial requires alcohol and as it serves Caitriona’s lover, Georges, as a relaxant escaping his domineering mother.
In the meantime, a ship containing 50 000 bottles of Scotch whisky must be delivered to New Orleans, sailing off from the island. Due to a nighttime heavy fog, the ship begins to sink near Todday. The news and location quickly spread and inhabitants rushed to steal the whisky bottles citing the salvage rule to defend their act. Although the ship contained medicine and clothes, the inhabitants were only attracted to the alcohol and ran off with it: some of them hid the bottles in their houses, the others drank them on the spot in fear of being caught. The climax of the story is much rather a funny one as the Scots defy authorities and try to hide these bottles in unexpected and ingenious places.
The movie was produced in 1949 and was rebooted in 2016. The producers incorporated comedy to narrate the true, yet forgettable events that happened in the devastating World War 2.
During your free time, do not hesitate to grab your favorite bottle of whisky, stream either version of Whisky Galore! and have a good laugh. Moreover, if you are a bookworm you can also read the eponymous novel written by Compton Mackenzie. And as a true Scot would say: “an-diugh tha uisge a-màireach uisge-beatha” (Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whiskey