Brigadoon (1954)

Genres - Musical, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Romance, Romantic Fantasy, Musical Fantasy  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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By 1954, Hollywood's standard operating procedure toward Broadway musicals -- purchase the property and then discard most of the score -- had changed significantly. The studios had learned to be more respectful of stage musicals in the post-Oklahoma! era. Yet sometimes this respect seemed to stifle a director's creative juices somewhat, as witnessed by Vincente Minnelli and Brigadoon. Not that the film is in any way bad; it just isn't the emotional experience that it was on-stage and should have been on the silver screen. However, beyond the stiffness, there's a great deal to enjoy here. Gene Kelly is in typical fine form; if his self-described "Irish whiskey" voice is occasionally taxed by the fine Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe score, his dancing is as graceful, energetic, and self-assured as ever. Kelly also brings his familiar romantic sensuality to the proceedings, which his role definitely calls for. Cyd Charisse, arguably Kelly's best dancing partner, looks beautiful and moves divinely. When Kelly and Charisse are together for "The Heather on the Hill" and "Almost Like Being in Love," their body language convinces an audience that a man really might give up his entire world for a woman with whom he has spent less than 24 hours. Kelly's choreography, while not groundbreaking as Agnes DeMille's was for the play, is quite effective on its own terms. If Brigadoon is less than perfect, Minnelli, Lerner, and Loewe made up for it with their next joint project -- the classic Gigi.