Released on DVD for the first time by Park Circus Films - tells the
story of Mary (Patricia Roc), who raised in a convent leaves for the
Isle of Skye to serve an old man. Whilst there she works hard for
the old fiend, who reminds her constantly at how lucky she is to have a
roof over her head; while also deflecting advances from the men folk of
the island. She works for the Macraes, a family who have a long
rivalry with the McFarishes. Mary's arrival provokes latent
sexual urges in the young men of the families, the rivalry reaching
boiling point on certain occasions.
Melodramatic by genre, but not a women's picture as Ms.Roc portrays
Mary as a woman far from vulnerable who can fend for herself as
she has to resist physical advances on more than one occasion.
The film is quite suggestive, unlike the fiercely proud and distinctly
British fare of the era from Powell and Pressburger, and earlier works
of David Lean in his collaborations with Noel Coward.
The otherness of the region and distinct air of non-Englishness on
display helps proceedings, as you treat it as something altogether
different from that which you are used to. The scenery is shot
beautifully, giving the highlands a sense of dread as this omnipresent
The night scenes when Mary is either out with Fergus (Maxwell Reed),
John (Duncan Macrae) or at a social event, Roc is shot with her hair
down and suddenly the Scottish landscape is likeBrigadoonwith Northern lights
beaming in the background, so there is a hint of fantasy and even,
magical realism taking place.
Featuring John Laurie (of Dad's Army fame) in a supporting role with
his wild eyes acting for him, this film has more redeeming features for
you to watch than for you to turn off. Even if it does feature
one of the most ludicrous fist fights between Fergus and John which
peeters out in a waterfall, and the first (and only) example of death
Surprisingly suggestive for its time in the immediate years following
World War II, the film is pleasantly entertaining and at times a tense
viewing but that is credit to the director David MacDonald, who directs
with vigour and assurance, and he is himself helped by a brilliant
leading performance from Roc as the feisty and irresistible Mary, and
it is a shame that Roc never reached the exalted heights of her
contemporaries, Margaret Lockwood and Vivian Leigh.
Available for the first time on DVD,The
Brothersis out on
Monday 6th June from Park Circus films for £15.99 RRP.