Sunday, September 6, 2015

Local Hero

In putting together another Dragontape mix - this one on Mark Knopfler - THC came across this video of the theme song from the movie Local Hero (1983), written by Knopfler.

Set in the Scottish highlands, it's about an American oil company's attempt to buy a small Scottish village so it can build an oil terminal - that is, to the extent the movie is about anything because it just sort of ambles along in a low-key humorous and oddball way.  The stars are Peter Riegert ("Boon" in Animal House) as an junior executive at Knox Oil, selected to make the journey from Houston to the Highlands because he's thought to be Scottish since his last name is MacIntyre, though his family are actually Hungarian immigrants who changed their name when they came to the U.S. and Burt Lancaster in one of his last films as the decidedly eccentric owner of the company, but the real star is the setting in Scotland.  THC and the Mrs (prior to them being Mr and Mrs) had camped in the area where the film is set while on a trip in 1978 so it provided a little extra jolt to see some of that beautiful coast again.  The best camping site we found was on a peninsula which provided a view towards the Isle of Skye across the sound to the south.  Actually it wasn't a formal camping site; it was the field adjacent to a cottage lying along a lonely coastal road.  We went up to the door and asked if it was okay if we camped on their property.  "Of course" was the response.

The movie was the centerpiece of a trio of films directed by Bill Forsyth in the early 1980s, the first being Gregory's Girl and the last Comfort And Joy, which is about the rivalry of two Glasgow ice cream companies and the secret to making ice cream fritters.  All are set in Scotland (we only understood about half the dialogue in Gregory's Girl as Scottish only seems vaguely related to the English language) and greatly enjoyed them all.  None of them had a traditional story arc; someone once wrote something to the effect that Forsyth made films "using the scenes other directors would cut".  After that he went off to Hollywood, lost his mojo, and never made anything watchable again.

The video features some of the Highland scenery we enjoyed so much. You can listen to a lovely live version by Knopfler here.  And this is another song from the film - Even The Lone Star State Gets Lonesome - sung by Victor, the Soviet fishing vessel captain who occasionally stops by the isolated village where the story is set.In this scene Victor and Mac discuss wealth creation and we are treated to a technical explanation of the Aurora Borealis.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the Local Hero tunes. One of my favorite quirky little films. Great music.