Pylons Galore! Obstruct Classic Film Remake

Written by By James MacGregor on . Posted in Scripts and Development

The Hebridean island of Barra looks set to miss out on the remake of the Ealing film classic Whisky Galore! shot there 60 years ago.

That involved a cast and crew of 80, but Barra now looks almost certain to be by-passed by the action on the £10m remake. Filmmakers paid a visit to the Hebridean island only to find themselves face to face with with pylons galore - Barra now has electricity.

The producers are determined to press on with plans for a new version of the classic tale about a ship that runs aground and islanders' attempts to salvage its cargo of whisky.

Finance is in place, Jim Gillespie, the Scot who directed the hit horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer, has joined the team and negotiations on casting are well under way.

Filming is scheduled to begin on March 28 this year, but the question is, Where?

A Compton Mackenzie novel inspired the original film, which in turn was based on a real incident in which a ship was wrecked off Eriskay. Mackenzie called the island in his book Todday, which was based on Barra, where he lived.

The new version sticks closely to the original plot and retains the period setting. However, in a twist worthy of a vintage Ealing comedy, the film-makers have visited Barra and discovered it no longer resembles the unspoilt little island where Sandy Mackendrick filmed in 1948.

"There are a lot of pylons and things," said the Glasgow-based producer, Ed Crozier. Even with new digital technology he is afraid it might be difficult to remove signs of modern civilisation.

Donald Manford, the local councillor, said: "The electricity comes ashore from the neighbouring island of Eriskay and there's a spinal line of poles through the island carrying the energy round all the houses, although bit by bit a lot of it's being put underground."