Whisky Galore! is an Ealing comedy with a great repuation. It often appearing in Top 10 Ealing lists alongside the likes of Passport to Pimlico, Kind Hearts of Coronets and The Ladykillers. Therefore when you watch this film you expect it to be similar to the other films from the studio… you expect a great ensemble cast, darkly funny situations and a sarcastic humour hidden in a light-hearted exterior.

Unfortunately Whisky Galore! whilst having these attributes fails to make the impact of the other films listed (although admittedly it was made before any of the others so mistakes where obviously learnt from)’ it is dire bland film with almost no humour.

The film has an interesting premise that should set it up for great comedy. During World War II a small Scottish island runs out of whisky (due to rationing) then when a cargo ship crashes off its shore filled with 50,000 cases of whisky’s the Scottish townspeople must work together to steal (and drink) the whisky without the obedient English officer Captain Waggett (Basil Radford) discovering what they’re up to.

The story is set up for a great community standing up against the authority type film (in the same vein as Passport to Pimlico). However it never quite happens; the townspeople don’t evade Waggett in any way that is even mildly amusing – the highlight being they hide some whisky under a baby’s pram – and we have no care for their plight. The entire film is just drab and humourless. It has little heart and almost no charm as we have no-one to back on either side.

The film improves towards it end with a car chase that is good fun, but it is a sense of far little too late. Throughout the film you feel sorry for Waggett for the trouble the townspeople cause him (instead of happy that he’s being outwitted), and watching the villagers get drunk has little comedic impact.

A remake of the film has been recently announced starring Eddie Izzard in the role of Captain Waggett. Whilst I’m not particularly excited by this decision it will be interesting to see a more current (and hopefully comedic) take on the story as I do believe the situation could have genuinely hilarious

Whisky Galore! is a dry ‘comedy’ with no jokes and the only reason that I can see for the outstanding reviews it often gets is that the reviewers are all partaking in the titular ‘Whisky’ throughout their viewings.

5/10