Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Peter Falk, Robert Goulet and Sally Ann Howes
BRIGADOON (1966 ABC television special). Produced and directed by Fielder Cook. Music and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederic Loewe.

In this television adaptation of the famous Broadway musical, American friends Tommy Albright (Robert Goulet) and Jeff Douglas (Peter Falk) stumble upon an 18th century Scottish village that only appears every hundred years (the logistics of this are impossible to really figure out so don't even try). Jean (Linda Howe) has decided to marry Charlie (Thomas Carlisle) over Harry (Edward Villella), putting him in a funk that leads to tragedy. While milkmaid Meg (Marlyn Mason) pitches woo at Jeff, the also unmarried Fiona (Sally Ann Howes) develops feelings for Tommy and vice versa. But is Tommy willing to make what might seem to any reasonable person an insane sacrifice for love that can never be rescinded? Even this shortened and adapted version of Lerner's libretto gets across the intense romance (in every sense of the word) of the story, as well as both the poetic and nightmarish aspects of Brigadoon and the curse that hangs over it. Peter Falk [Luv] is terrific in this, but thank goodness he doesn't have to do any singing. That's left to Howes [Dead of Night], who has a beautiful voice, and Carlisle, who is also a splendid singer. Goulet has a fine voice as well, but although he appeared in Broadway shows (such as Lerner and Loewe's Camelot), he sings in a typically sixties pop style that doesn't quite ruin such superb numbers as "Almost Like Being in Love" and "There But for You Go I" but doesn't compliment them, either. (The original Broadway cast album has the best versions of these songs.) Marlyn Mason [That Certain Summer] is excellent as Meg, and does a fine rendition of "My Mother's Wedding Day." Interestingly the last two lines of the song -- "It was a mess beyond compare/I ought to know 'cause I was there" -- which were cut from the original cast album were reinstated for this TV special. Ballet dancer Edward Villella does a very nice job as the jilted Harry and dances a sword dance as well. The Lerner and Loewe score is one of their finest, and can almost be described as American opera. The 1957 feature film was a big disappointment.

Verdict: Interesting adaptation of this enduring and beautiful musical. ***.


angelman66 said...

Had no idea this was done--looks interesting indeed. You're right, the film version is totally ho-hum.
I had the pleasure of spending the day with Mr. Edward Villella many years ago when he first took over as artistic director of Miami City Ballet. What a brilliant man, and he gave all credit for his success to his mentor George Balanchine...

William said...

Villella was a big big name in the field, very talented, nice-looking, and he could even act as well as dance. Must have been a real pleasure to spend some time with him. I remember he even guest-starred on "The Odd Couple" with Klugman and Randell!