No True Scotsman Blogathon

Posted on September 10, 2021 at 9:23 am

A real Scottish accent is a joy to listen to and very difficult to imitate. Hollywood has not always managed an accurate Scottish accent (of course there are many different accents in Scotland, just like in every other country). So, why not have a blogathon paying tribute to the good, the bad, and the ugly of Scottish accents attempted by non-Scottish actors? The film critic known as Realweegiemidget Reviews put out the call, and film bloggers responded.

Copyright 2021 Weegiemidget

The invitation:

The world of film and TV, is as we know full of the variety of international life as we know it. This meaning that actors and actresses, sometimes have to go out of their comfort zone and try a new accent. This is usually like the nursery rhyme says, ie it can be “good, very good” or when “it’s bad it’s horrid”.

So this blogathon topic is one close to my Scottish heart. It’s loosely based on the No True Scotsman fallacy as described HERE… For your mission (should you choose to accept it), is to review a film, TV Movie, TV episode or TV series with a Scottish character in it and with a Scottish accent… BUT before you send me your Sean Connery / Gerard Butler / Sam Heughan / James McAvoy themed request, there is a catch…

This wee proviso is found here, in Darlin Husband’s full definition of the blogathon…

“An actor or actress playing a Scot even though they themselves are not Scottish”

These characters’ “accents” can be from anywhere in Scotland, good or bad and from any year or genre. BUT Please check IMDb first to make sure your character is not actually played by a Scot first. (I will not be accepting James Bond films as only Sean Connery gave him a Scottish accent and as we all know he was as Scottish as Billy Connolly).

I got a kick out of the post about “McMillan and Wife,” the Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James show I loved in the 70s.

Dell wrote about something called “Loch Ness Horror.”

“When Nessie showed up I was besides myself with giddiness. This thing is American B-movie ingenuity at it’s finest. It takes the movie from being run of the mill, forgettable trash, to so bad it’s awesome!”

Of course “Highlander” had to be included, and it was good to get the take of a real Scot.

“Highlander is a great-looking, funny and often dazzling fusion of The Terminator with sword and sorcery; if it seemed indigestible to critics in 1986, perhaps the time has come to embrace the story of Connor Macleod.”

More on “Highlander” from Stabford Deathrage.

“I’m not sure where this film actually takes place, but it’s the most amazing location, because everywhere you go during the present day, you hear Queen, and everywhere you go in the past, it looks like the Safety Dance.”

A deep cut from Caftan Woman! An episode of the classic early TV show “Wagon Train.”

“Accent-wise, Jeannie gives her Scottish characters a lovely soft lilt most pleasant to hear. Her inflection has that slightly foreign feel yet at the same time is comforting. You can understand producers wanting to utilize that aspect of Jeannie’s ability.”

The Taking Up Room site looks at “Christy.”

“One of the most popular characters on the Christy TV show was, by far, Doctor Neil MacNeill, and one of the most popular show arcs was the triangle between Christy (Kellie Martin), Neil and preacher David Grantland (Randall Batinkoff). Neil was wonderfully played by Stuart Finlay-McLennan, who seemed to burr with the best of ’em.

Only one thing: Finlay-McLennan is an Australian from New South Wales. His burr was about as Highland as Scotch tape.”

“Brigadoon,” of course, from The Classic Movie Muse:

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Film History For Your Netflix Queue Movie History Understanding Media and Pop Culture

List: Scottish Movies and Actors

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm

In honor of Pixar’s “Brave,” this week’s release about a Scottish princess, here are some of my favorite films about Scots and Scotland and some of my favorite Scottish performers.

1. Brigadoon Lerner and Lowe’s first musical is the fanciful story of two Americans visiting Scotland who discover a magical town that appears just once every hundred years.  Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson star and the songs include, “The Heather on the Hill,” “I’ll Go Home to Bonnie Jean,” and “Almost Like Being in Love.”

2. Gregory’s Girl This story of an awkward high school boy with a crush on the girl who replaces him on the soccer team is a romantic comedy filled with winning moments.

3. Local Hero  An ambitious American executive is dispatched to Scotland to buy land for an oil refinery but is soon beguiled by the charm of the community he is supposed to displace.

4. The 39 Steps Alfred Hitchcock directed this stylish thriller based on the book by John Buchan.  Robert Donat plays a man swept up in a chase through Scotland to protect vital military secrets from falling into the hands of a spy ring.

5. Braveheart Mel Gibson was director and star of this Best Picture Oscar winner about William Wallace, who led a rebellion against the British in the 13th century.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBXBtORI7pE

6. I Know Where I’m Going! A determined English woman gets waylaid in the Hebrides on her way to marry a wealthy man in this classic film starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey.

Performers:

Ewan McGregor: Obi-Wan Kenobi in the second “Star Wars” trilogy and a heroin addict in “Trainspotters.”

Alan Cummings: He played opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in “Emma” and now appears on “The Good Wife.”

Billy Connelly: You can hear him as the king in “Brave” and see him as Queen Victoria’s cherished friend in “Mrs. Brown”

Tilda Swinton: An Oscar-winner for “Michael Clayton,” this striking actress was the villain in the first “Narnia” film and the androgynous title character in “Orlando.”

John Hannah: He appeared in “The Mummy” and unforgettably recited W.H. Auden in “Four Weddings and a Funeral”

Craig Ferguson: The late night host was voice talent in “How to Train Your Dragon” and co-wrote and starred in a very funny film about a hairdressing competition called “The Big Tease.”

Gerard Butler: He was the title character behind a mask in “Phantom of the Opera” and fought with a sword in “300.”

James McAvoy: He played the young Dr. X in “X-Men First Class” and provided voices in “Arthur Christmas” and “Gnomeo & Juliet.”

Sean Connery: He’s the first — and many think still the best — James Bond and won an Oscar for “The Untouchables.”

Kelly McDonald: She’s in “Boardwalk Empire” and appeared in “Gosford Park” and “No Country for Old Men.”  And she provides the voice for “Brave’s” heroine, Merrida.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O88tBPpSW4

Special mention:

The BBC series Monarch of the Glen is an engaging story based on Sir Compton Mackenzie’s Highland Novels about a son who returns home and gradually learns to appreciate his heritage.

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For Your Netflix Queue Lists Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families Neglected gem

I Know Where I’m Going

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:17 am

Plot: As a baby, as a five year old, as a school girl, and as a young woman, Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) always knows exactly what she wants. And whether it is “real silk stockings” instead of synthetic or dinner in an elegant restaurant instead of an evening at the movies, she insists on getting it. As the movie begins, she tells her father she is about to marry one of the richest men in England, and that she is leaving that night for his island off the coast of Scotland. At each step of the trip, one of her fiancé’s employees is there to make sure things go smoothly, but once she gets to Scotland the fog is so thick she cannot take the boat to the island. That night she wishes for a wind to blow away the fog, and the next morning she finds that she has been too successful — the wind is so strong that no boats can get to the island. Stuck where she is, she meets some of the people from the community, including Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesey), a Naval officer home on leave.

“People are very poor around here,” she comments to Catriona, a local woman who is a close friend of Torquil’s. “Not poor, they just haven’t got any money.” “Same thing.” “No, it isn’t.” While waiting for the wind to die down, Joan has a chance to see something of the life she would have as the wife of Sir Robert Bellinger. She meets his bridge- playing friends and hears of his plans to install a swimming pool on the Kiloran estate he is renting. (It turns out that he is renting it from Torquil, who is the Laird of Kiloran.) She visits a castle where Torquil’s ancestors lived, and where it is said that any Laird of Kiloran who goes inside will be cursed. She goes to the 60th wedding anniversary party of a local couple, still very much in love.

Even though it is still not safe to take the boats out, she is desperate to leave, telling Torquil, “I’m not safe here…I’m on the brink of losing everything I’ve ever wanted since I could want anything.” She pays a young man to take her out in the boat, and Torquil goes along. The boat almost sinks, and she loses the bridal gown she had planned to be married in. When it is finally safe to go, Joan and Torquil say goodbye. He asks her to have the bagpipes play for him some day, and she asks him for a kiss. They part, but she returns with three bagpipe players and joins him in the castle, where it turns out the curse provides that any Laird of Kiloran who enters will never leave it a free man. “He shall be chained to a woman until the end of his days and he shall die in his chains.”

Discussion: Like “I Love You Again,” this movie falls into the category of “the life I didn’t know I wanted.” Joan thinks she knows what she wants and where she is going, but she is given the gift of a chance to see the alternatives. She learns that, while the people from the community miss having money, there are other things they care about more. And she learns that she can fall in love with someone who is is going in a very different direction from her ideas of “where I’m going.”

This movie provides a good starting point for a discussion of how we make decisions about what we want out of life, how we pursue those goals, and what we do when we are presented either with obstacles or with new information. And it is a good starting point for a discussion of what is important, and how we determine what is important to us.

Questions for Kids:

· The title of this movie is taken from a famous old folk song. Why did the filmmakers choose it? Why did they insist on an exclamation point at the end?

· Does Joan know where she is going? When does she know? Where is she going?

· What makes Joan change her mind? What do you think her life will be like?

· What is the meaning of the “terrible curse”?

Connections: The little girl who seems so much more mature than her parents is played by then-child actress Petula Clark, who became a pop star in the 1960s (“Downtown”) and appeared in the musical version of “Goodbye Mr. Chips.”

Activities: The bagpipe plays an important role in this movie. Children might enjoy hearing more bagpipe music, especially if they can see it performed live. Look up the Hebrides, where this movie takes place, in an atlas or encyclopedia. Find out if your area has any legends like the ones described in the movie.

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Drama Romance

Local Hero

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:17 am

Plot: McIntyre (Peter Reigert) is an ambitious executive with a Knox Oil & Gas, based in Houston, Texas. He is dispatched by Happer (Burt Lancaster), the company’s eccentric billionaire chief executive, to a remote corner of Scotland to acquire a fishing village named Ferness and the land surrounding it for an oil refinery and storage facility.

McIntyre, all business, arrives in Ferness with Danny Oldsen (Peter Capaldi), a Knox employee from Scotland. At first, McIntyre finds it hard to adjust to the pace of Ferness. Gordon Urquhart (Denis Lawson), the local innkeeper and resident accountant, tells him to enjoy the area for a couple of days before they open negotiations. Gordon tells the villagers about the offer from Knox. They are delighted at the prospect of being bought out and begin to debate the relative merits of a Rolls Royce over a Maserati. The only hitch to finalizing the deal is Ben, a reclusive beachcomber who lives in a shack by the shore. He owns several miles of beach and refuses to sell.

Meanwhile, McIntyre sheds his hurried Houston style and comes to enjoy the tranquil rhythms of the village. In a whisky-induced moment, he tells Urquhart that he wants them to swap jobs. Following Happer’s order to “watch the sky,” he is dazzled by the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, and calls Happer to report.

Happer arrives from Houston. He establishes an instant rapport with Ben, and decides that instead of the refinery, he will create an observatory and marine laboratory — the Happer Institute. McIntyre is sent back to Texas to organize the changes. McIntyre returns to Houston, deeply missing the charm and character of his brief Highland life.

Discussion: McIntyre’s life in Houston is cluttered but empty. He resorts to phoning colleagues seated ten yards away to see if they are free for lunch. he cares a great deal about material things. In Ferness, his expensive watch falls into the water, and he doesn’t miss it. He learns to enjoy collecting shells and examining the night sky.

In a poignant final shot we see McIntyre calling the village’s pay phone.

It rings and rings, but no one answers. The suggestion is that while the village has invaded McIntyre’s soul, he has not had a similar impact in return. McIntyre represented a fleeting interest in lives that run to slower rhythms.

The film is to be noted less for its messages or themes than its magnificent cast of quirky, delightfully observed characters and gorgeous location photography. There is a touch of magic in the story, with a marine biologist who seems to be part mermaid, and a deus ex machina happy ending for most of the characters.

Note: This movie has the feel of a fairy tale, but there are some odd moments that may bother some kids. Happer hires a “therapist” for a bizarre “abuse therapy.” Danny saves a rabbit that is then cooked and served to Danny and McIntyre by Gordon. And the very un-Hollywood resolution, with McIntyre back in Texas by himself, should prompt some discussion of what kids think may happen to him.

Questions for Kids:

· What does McIntyre list as the requirements for an excellent life in Houston? Do the villagers agree with him, since all but Ben are anxious to sell?

· Why does the girl with the punk outfit say that she likes McIntyre?

· Why didn’t Ben want to sell?

· Why, when McIntyre calls the village pay phone at the end of the film, does no one answer?

Connections: Forsyth is also the director of the wonderful “Gregory’s Girl.”

Activities: Find Scotland on a map. Visit a marine study facility like the one they plan to build in Ferness.

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Not specified

The Three Lives of Thomasina

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:17 am

Plot: The story takes place in the Scotland of 1912. Mary MacDhui (Karen Dotrice) is a little girl whose mother has died. She loves her cat Thomasina more than anything in the world. Her father Andrew (Patrick McGoohan), a veterinarian, is a very rational man who has trouble communicating and tends to see his animal patients in economic rather than emotional terms. He has a hard time showing Mary how much she means to him, or understanding how much Thomasina means to her. He is unable to cure Thomasina when she is hurt, so he puts her to sleep, a choice that is rational, but insensitive.

Mary’s friends help her plan a funeral with an enthusiastic chief mourner (He says with pride, “I can cry very loud!”). They reassure her that the whole town will understand the magnitude of the loss: “Everyone will say, ‘There goes the poor widow McDouhi a-burying her dear Thomasina, foully done to death, God rest her soul.” The funeral is interrupted by Lori MacGregor (Susan Hampshire), a beautiful and mysterious woman who lives in the forest outside the town. She cures animals with herbs and affection and is thought to be a witch. Lori finds Thomasina, who is not dead; she has just used up one of her nine lives. In a fantasy scene set in Cat Heaven, Thomasina is reborn, with no memory of her previous life.

The people in the town begin to bring their sick animals to Lori, upset because Andrew put his daughter’s cat to sleep. Mary, pining for Thomasina, glimpses her, and runs after her, becoming drenched in a storm. She gets ill, and Andrew, desperate, goes to Lori for help. Lori tells him that his love is what Mary needs. Thomasina appears outside Mary’s window, and Andrew brings her inside. Thomasina has brought them all together, and Andrew and Lori are married.

Discussion: Andrew represents the head, and Lori the heart. In the beginning of the story, both are isolated. Thomasina and Mary bring them together. Children may be interested in the way that the funeral arrangements are such a comfort to Mary. They may also want to know more about why Andrew had such a problem communicating his feelings. WARNING: Some children may be upset over the notion that a cat can die and come back; some who have lost a pet (or a family member) may be upset that they don’t come back.

Questions for Kids:

· What do you think about Mary’s decision not to talk to her father? Was that a good way to solve the problem?

· What was her father’s reaction? Was that a good way to solve the problem?

· Why is it harder for some people to talk about their feelings than others? Is it ever hard for you to talk about yours?

Connections: The children in this movie, Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber, also appeared in “Mary Poppins,” released the same year, and “The Gnome-mobile,” released in 1967.

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