A little bit of history
By a customer
from Leeds, England
, 16 Sep 2006
I first saw this movie in about 1986. Back then I was 15 and loved razzing round on motorbikes (still do!). I also regularly went on holiday to the North West of Scotland, Glencoe in particular, and was delighted to see a lot of the beautiful scenery of that part of Scotland captured within this film.
There are some excellent performances from the main characters, Joe Mullaney and Vincent Freill, not that well known, except in Scotland, but great nontheless. Perhaps more famous are the actors who played supporting roles, Ned Beatty, Bernard Hill, Robert Urquhart, and cameos from the likes of Brian Forbes, Nanette Newman and Mel Smith.
The Soundtrack is also worth noting. I'm not a fan of Big Country, but the music that they produced for this film is absolutely excellent and complements it completely. I loved the soundtrack for this so much, that I spent 13 years tracking it down! At first it was only available as 2 b-sides split across 2 12-inch singles they had out, but eventually they released it in its entirety on 'Restless Natives - Hits and rarities' in 1998. It's a double cd, I bought it for the 35 minute soundtrack on the 2nd CD and that's the only stuff I play from Big Country - sorry boys!
The movie itself was also quite elusive! I had a copy on VHS that I recorded off the telly. It was commercially available on VHS in the late 80's early 90's, then was discontinued! There then followed about 12 years of not being able to buy it at all. The surge of DVD re-issues of old films seemed to overlook Restless Natives for what seemed like an eternity, I had begun to think the Oxford Film Foundation had lost the original film reels! DVD copies of the original VHS were beginning to appear on Ebay, with the original VHS itself starting to attract a premium! Then, all of a sudden, in 2005, 20 years after it's original release, 'Optimum Releasing' brought it out on DVD in full glory! Hurrah! A bonus with the DVD is a short interview with Vincent Friell, who played Will. He looks a bit different after 20 years!
Classic little bits to look out for in no particular order:- -Little old lady, mother of 'wee Angus' belting Ronnie Witherspoon unbelievably hard across the face with her hand before beating him remorselessly with a joke rubber squeaky baseball bat while Will disguises himself with a Groucho Marx Nose, Glasses and Moustache kit . - Classic physical comedy. -Watch Will playing with the green slime in the background while Ronnie is speaking to the policeman in the joke shop. Both of them provide an excellent depiction of two lads who think they're gonna get 'found out'. But all the copper wants is to buy a pair of false breasts! -Check out Will rocking back on his chair while talking to his dad at the dinner table. He just about leans back past the point of no return, before recovering it just as his dad shouts at his sister. -The street cleaner who spins his cart round with joy as he's just swept up loads of money, nearly overturns the whole thing! -Look out for the sign pointing to Glencoe Village before the scene where they're arrested. Anyone who's been to the 'Clachaig hotel' in Glencoe will recognise it!
All in all, a cracking little movie, well shot, well acted, good soundtrack, lovely scenery. Pace is pretty much spot-on, although if I was pushed, I'd say it drags a touch towards the last quarter of the movie, only because the beginning and middle flow so well. Nice little twist at the end. Definitely worth a watch!
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