'Whisky Galore' has always been one of my favourite films. I remember seeing it at a Children’s matinee way back in the 1960s at a cinema in Riddrie, Glasgow. Of course as the years have passed I have bought the video and then the DVD. Who cannot be impressed by this tale of canny highlanders up against the might of the British establishment?
The music for the film was composed by Edward Irving. From 1930 until the Second World War Irving turned out dozens of scores including those for 'The Ghost at St Michael's' starring Will Hay and George Formby’s 'It has Turned out Nice Again'. In his later career he spent more time as a conductor and arranger in the film studio – although he still contributed some original music. It is a little known fact that Ralph Vaughan Williams dedicated his Sinfonia Antarctica to Ernest Irving.
Fortunately we do not have to watch the entire film to enjoy the music. Silva Screen Records have produced an attractive CD which features a seven minute suite of musical extracts from the film. It is in two parts and presents the introductory music from the film and the scene where the islanders board the S.S Cabinet Minister to ‘curate’ as many crates of the precious liquid as possible. The extract ends with a reprise of the ‘lovers’ music. It is an attractive score that does not really pretend o be anything other than a confection of Scottish music. Yet it is highly successful – especially the forties style romantic music.
As one final point. I wonder if those who know this film see in Captain Waggett a model for Arthur Lowe’s characterisation of Captain Mainwaring?
This CD could be hard to track down – but with the music by Benjamin Frankel, Georges Auric, Alan Rawsthorne and John Ireland it is well worth the effort.
The LadyKillers - Music from those Glorious Ealing Films Silva FILMCD 177