This is a perfect end to the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival. Gillies MacKinnon has directed a gem of a feel-good film, based on Peter McDougall’s rewriting of the Compton Mackenzie classic novel and the film which followed it in 1949.
The war-time Hebridean island of Todday has run dry – no more whisky anywhere. Everyone is bad-tempered and sad, not least postmaster McCroon (Gregor Fisher at his best), both of whose daughters plan to marry and leave him. As well as a lack of strong liquor, the island has to contend with officious Captain Waggett (Eddie Izzard) trying to muster the Home Guard.
Salvation comes in the form of the SS Cabinet Minister running aground in dense fog, its cargo being malt whisky bound for New York. Mayhem ensues as the island population attempts to salvage the whisky and hide it before the excise-men can find it.
The costumes, hair and make-up are particularly effective and there are many strong performances but Fenella Woolgar stands out as Waggett’s long-suffering wife, Dolly. Patrick Doyle’s music is simply beautiful.