20 Scottish films
Mowe, curator of film at the National Museum of
Scotland, selects his top twenty Scottish films.
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Dir. Bill Forsyth
In the great tradition of Ealing comedy yet with an identity
all of its own, Forsyth persuaded the late great Burt Lancaster
to play the Texan tycoon, tired of corporate stresses, who falls
under the spell of the tiny town his ambitious chief exec (Peter
Riegert) has been sent to buy. Charming, refreshing, full of
unexpected twists and colourful cameos. This is vintage Forsyth.
The Maggie (1953)
Dir. Alexander Mackendrick
Another classic Ealing comedy with Scottish roots from Alexander
Mackendrick, with Paul Douglas as an American financier who
falls foul of the captain of a leaky boat hired to carry a precious
cargo to a remote Scottish island. In the spirit of Whisky Galore.
Mrs Brown (1997)
Dir. John Madden
An intriguing and insightful exploration of the relationship
between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and John Brown (Billy Connolly),
distinguished by fine performances from all and sundry, including
Antony Sher as Disraeli, and Geoffrey Palmer as the queen’s
private secretary. Handsomely mounted by director John Madden
who captures the full flavour of the times.
Dir. Gillies Mackinnon
meticulously crafted adaptation of Pat Barker’s Booker prize-winner
with Jonathan Pryce as the psychiatrist trying to rebuild the
confidence of his patients to enable them to return to the horror
of the First World War trenches.
Dir. Michael Caton-Jones
A stirring historical drama from a sharp script by Alan
Sharp, and robustly directed by Michael Caton-Jones in which
Liam Neeson’s kilted warrior finds himself locked in emnity
with John Hurt’s Montrose. Best of all is Tim Roth’s foppish
yet dastardly Cunningham and Jessica Lange’s sensuous Mary in
a film that has the sweeping feel of a Western and was unjustly
dwarfed by Braveheart.
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