Whisky Galore

Synopsis: Scottish islanders try to plunder cases of whisky from a stranded ship.
98 min

Northwest of Scotland

on the broad expanse of the Atlantic

lie the lovely islands of the

Outer Hebrides

small scattered patches of sand and rock

rising out of the ocean.

To the west there is nothing,

except America.

The inhabitants scrape a frugal living

from the sea, the sand

and the low lying hills of coarse

grass and peat bog

A happy people

with few and simple pleasures!

The little island of Todday is a

completely isolated community

a hundred miles from the mainland.

a hundred miles from the nearest

cinema or dancehall

But the islanders know how to enjoy themselves

- they have all that they need

But in 1943,

disaster overwhelmed this little island

Not famine nor pestilence

Nor Hitler's bombs,

or the hordes of an invading army

But something far, far worse!

There is no whisky!

Whisky - Uisge Beatha

in Gaelic they call it "The Water of Life"

And, to a true islander,

Life without it is not worth living.

From that day every man went

into mourning

Mourning for a departed spirit!

He went terrible quick at the end.

What was I to do?

With every bottle in the bar

chock full of nothing

Do you think Winston Churchill

will be knowing that the government

has run out of whisky?

I don't believe he will

It is a pity he will not be saying something

about it on the wireless.

Aye. It's a terrible war right enough!

Do you remember the sabbath,

the day the war started?

Nobody on the island could mind such a storm of rain.

It was a sign.

A sign of what was coming to us.


Just nothing but water.

Ah well. I must be going.

I could have done with a dram myself this evening.

I've had a terrible shock.

- What was that?

- You'd better be asking George here

What have you been doing to Joseph?

I asked Catriona to marry me.

What did she say?

She said "yes"

Is that the mails ready?

Yes father

Sticklips and cigarettes.

Your mother would have more sense!

You'll not have to worry about me much longer.

Or Peggy either I'm thinking.

You're not married yet.

Are you not going down to the pier?

Why would I?

I thought this was the day your Sergeant is arriving

My Sergeant?

I don't know what you are talking about.

There it is! Tightest little island in the world!

You'll be finding a few changes, Sergeant!

You've been away from us for some time.

Two years, three months.

Well, well! Is it as long as that?

In Africa, eh?

That's right

Africa. Now that is a place I have never been.

Ah well. They'll be glad to see you back.

Do you think so?

Aye. The Home Guard amusements are not the same

without you

I hear they've been getting a bit stale lately

That's Captian Waggett's nonsense.

Surely it's up to you constable?

You know:
"the long arm of the law"

You must insist on Captain MacKechnie taking

those boxes of ammunition back to the mainland.

Doesn't he know there's a war on?

He says it is aboard of trade regulation.

What time's this other boat expected?

I do not think it will be expected at all

Mr Waggett

What is it dear?

I'm going down to the pier

Is anything the matter Paul?

You look worried.

Captain MacKechnie refuses to take

the ammunition back when the mails' onboard

But he always has the mails onboard hasn't he dear?


I was not really expecting anything.

I just came down in case there was a chance.

I'll be getting back to my boat, Joseph.

You'll be waiting for the mails?

Just a lot of letters for nothing.

Well how's yourself Mr. Macroon?

None too well, Sergeant, none too well.

Oh I'm sorry to hear that!

Nothing wrong with the family I hope?

Peggy and Catriona I mean.

And what would be wrong with them?

They're fine, just fine.

Both of them smoking away like two chimneys.

One of them thinks she's going to marry herself.

- Peggy?

- I believe it will be

What are you saying Joseph?

It's Catriona that is going to marry George Campbell.

Aye, Maybe it is.

Well that's great news!

Something like that it!

Amn't I after telling you dozen times, Mr Waggett,

that I cannot accept explosives on this ship!

Captain MacKechnie it is my duty to see that I am in a state of full defence.

How can I defend myself if my cartridges

do not fit my rifles?

It would be a bit awkward, right enough.

Awkward? It's more than awkward!

This kind of thing lead to the full of France.

A rule is a rule and a regulation is a regulation.

The ammunition arrived on the Island Queen!

Yes Yes, but Captain MacKechnie did not know then

that they was explosives.

If I had known I'd have never have brought them.

Don't you understand that I cannot get any.300

ammunition from ordinance

until this.303 gets back?

I had a wire from Obaig this morning.

- Yes? Sergeant welcome back.

- Can I be of any help sir?

- No!

Would it be all the same

if you sent back the.300

rifles and kept the.303 ammunition?

Then you could ask them to send the.300 rifles

so that we could use...

It would not be the same thing at all!

I'd rather have rifle and no ammunition

than ammunition and no rifles.

If I could make a suggestion, sir, we

could leave the stuff at Mr Macroon's shop.

Then you could take it up with Headquarters.

Not without a guard!

Now, finish of your compositions, children.

Don't make too much noise.

Is there anything the matter, mother?

To think that I should be hearing from others

that my own son is going to be married!

George Campbell, is this true?

Well, I only knew myself yesterday evening

that Catriona was...

You mean to stand there that and tell me

that you'd not been thinking of that girl

until yesterday evening?

Oh, I'd been thinking about her, yes!

Then why was I kept in the dark

about your thoughts?

By the time I'd got back

you'd gone to bed.

The bed I have made for myself

and on which I must lie!

This comes of spoiling my only child!

Spoiling me?

Spare the rod...

- You never did

- ... and spoil the child

Now look mother what would have

been the use of upsetting you and...

So you Knew that it would upset me! You knew it!

But you went on all the same

thinking only of yourself!

You've always thought only of yourself.

How many times as a child

have I caught you in the blackcurrants

when you knew perfectly well

that I wanted all the blackcurrants for my own jam

Mother, if I bring Catriona to tea,

will you be nice to her?

The day you bring Catriona Macroon

to this house

I walk out!

I'll go and live with your aunt in Glasgow

- But you hate Glasgow!

- Never mind!

"The Lord Chastiseth them that he loveth"

And who am I to set myself up

against the Lord?

There are more people in Snorvaig

But they are not so nice as the

people in Garryboo

Because they are so stuck up.

The Island Queen is a beautiful boat

but there was no Whisky this week.

And when there is no whisky,

we are all very sad.

Come along, get a move on there!

Not good enough you know!

Every time they move that roadblock

it's longer than the last!

How do you account for that?

Well I wouldn't say they are doing too badly you know

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Peter McDougall

Peter McDougall (born 1947, Greenock, Scotland) is a Scottish television playwright whose major success was in the 1970s. McDougall claims to have had very little schooling and to rarely read books, He began his working life at the age of fourteen in the shipyards of Greater Glasgow and Greenock with future comedian and actor Billy Connolly. Depressed by the harsh conditions and unfulfilled by the menial work, he left Scotland and moved to London, where he worked as a house-painter. It was while painting Colin Welland's house that McDougall impressed the actor and writer when relating tales of being the drum major in the Orange walk as a teenager. He was advised to try writing a television play about this and the result was Just Another Saturday, which McDougall wrote in secret and hid even from his first wife, a teacher nearly a decade his senior. Once completed, the script was sent to the BBC Play for Today team, who were enormously impressed but rejected the play because of the sensitive subject matter. McDougall was however asked to try again, and wrote a more intimate piece Just your Luck (1972) based on his sister's wedding, again exploring the sectarian divide in its story of a Protestant girl who finds herself pregnant by a Catholic boy. The play caused a furore in Scotland, many people appalled by its portrayal of the people's earthiness and prejudice. However, there was much positive praise too, one viewer even going so far as to say it was "the most exciting debut since Look Back in Anger." At that point, the director John Mackenzie began enquiring after the script of Just Another Saturday and managed to get the play into production, only to then find the piece banned after the head of the Glasgow police said that the script would cause "bloodshed on the streets in the making and in the showing". After a year Mackenzie managed to persuade the Head of BBC Television Alasdair Milne to press ahead with the play, although some scenes were eventually filmed in Edinburgh to minimise controversy. The finished film, the script of which was barely changed from the first draft, won massive acclaim on its first transmission in 1975, gained several repeats, and won its author the Prix Italia. McDougall followed this success up with a short kitchen comedy for BBC2, A Wily Couple (1976), part of the Centre Play series and another Play for Today, The Elephants' Graveyard (1976). During this time McDougall got the opportunity to work with talented and influential producers such as Graeme Macdonald, who later became overall Head Of Drama at the BBC in the 1980s. Several other television projects ensued, including an aborted sitcom, until McDougall and Mackenzie collaborated again on their final Play for Today, Just a Boys' Game (1979). Starring blues singer Frankie Miller this was the story of Greenock razor gangs and specifically of one man's life of alcohol and violence over a twenty-four-hour period. His most violent piece, Just A Boy's Game the film was also notable for supporting performances from a then unknown Gregor Fisher, Ken Hutchison, comedian Hector Nicol and Jean Taylor Smith. Martin Scorsese has since stated that the bar room brawl scene and its bleak moody atmosphere made the film the Scottish equivalent of Mean Streets. McDougall also wrote the BBC supernatural drama Tarry-Dan Tarry-Dan Scarey Old Spooky Man set in Cornwall about a troubled teenager experiencing dreams of an ancient family curse. Only broadcast once in May 1978 and directed by John Reardon. Mackenzie and McDougall's last collaboration was on the STV film A Sense of Freedom (also 1979), based on the autobiography of Glaswegian gangster Jimmy Boyle, detailing his crimes and subsequent reform. McDougall's subsequent plays Shoot For The Sun (1986), a bleak BBC drama starring Jimmy Nail and Brian Cox about Edinburgh's heroin problem, and Down Where The Buffalo Go (1988) starring Harvey Keitel, and Down Among The Big Boys (1993) did not meet with as significant critical acclaim. However he has remained good friends since with Keitel, who played the lead in Down Where The Buffalo Go. Keitel was caught wearing a “Get Me Peter” T-shirt during the filming of Down Where the Buffalo Go in a declaration of disillusionment with the director Ian Knox, and his bond with McDougall.In 1994, McDougall was caught remarking upon the appointment of BBC's new Head of Drama, future Last King Of Scotland producer Andrea Calderwood, that the BBC should never had given the job to a "wee lassie". The two later made up and Calderwood was later invited round McDougall's for dinner, with Billy Connolly and Brian Cox present.McDougall was assaulted in Glasgow's West End in 1995, with an assailant brandishing a knife whilst walking home with his son. He was stabbed above the eye and taken to the Western Infirmary, where his wounds required more than 20 stitches. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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