Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Brigadoon [1954]

US movie (1954). MGM. Pr Arthur Freed. Dir Vincente Minnelli. Spfx Warren Newcombe. Screenplay Alan Jay Lerner. Based on Brigadoon (stage musical 1947) by Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Starring Virginia Bosler (Jean Campbell), Cyd Charisse (Fiona Campbell), Van Johnson (Jeff Douglas), Barry Jones (Mr Lundie), Gene Kelly (Tommy Albright), Hugh Laing (Harry Beaton), Jimmy Thompson (Charles Chisholm Dalrymple). 108 mins. Colour.

On a shooting holiday in Scotland two young Americans, Albright and Douglas, stray into the hamlet Brigadoon, which exists in our Reality only one day every 100 years, "slumbering" in the interim: in Brigadoon the year is still 1754. This condition was brought about by its Minister, Mr Forsyth, who bartered his own life with God for a Miracle that would preserve the hamlet from the prevalent evil of witchcraft (> Witches). Should any of its inhabitants cross Brigadoon's boundaries, its next night will be everlasting – but this is exactly what thwarted lover Beaton proposes to do until shot dead by Douglas. The Americans flee, although Albright has so fallen in love with a Brigadoon girl, Fiona, that after a few months he rejects his New York life and returns to Scotland, the strength of his love being sufficient to conjure Brigadoon long enough from the mists that he may enter it.

B is very stagy – it was shot not on location but on the MGM lot – and the standard trappings of the musical (e.g., interminable dance routines) almost smother its central premise, drawn from Scottish folklore. Also interesting is its portrayal of 18th-century Scotland as a Land of Fable – a Scotland which, once sampled, is worth giving everything to regain. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.