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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

'Scandal at Scourie' DVD: Catholics v. Protestants

Scandal At Scourie (1953)
The 1953 Technicolor Greer Garson/Walter Pidgeon drama "Scandal at Scourie," which is a relatively recent Warner Archive DVD release, arguably is a perfect family film. The story of a little orphan girl finding new parents will appeal to girls, the hi-jinks of an obnoxious fellow adopted orphan will appeal to boys, the related plot points of religion and politics (sorry, no sex) will appeal to adults.

Further, "Scourie" has a plethora of classic film elements that extend beyond the Technicolor presentation. As Archive points out, this film is the ninth and final pairing of uber- "Mrs. Miniver" stars Garson and Pidgeon. Further, having Pidgeon's Patrick McChesney own a turn-of-the-century emporium and employ a nervous and naive 20-something clerk adds a wonderful "Hello Dolly" vibe to the film.

A more modern film vibe comes in the form of the soon-to-be-adopted Patsy and her fellow "reject" orphans traveling across Canada via train in search of homes in the wake of a fire that destroys their orphanage. The recent really spectacular "must-see" textbook dystopian film "Snowpiercer" takes this concept to an extreme.

The train o' orphans arriving in the town that Patrick and Victoria McChesney call home leads to a very cute scene in which Patsy and the childless Victoria meet and equally charming segments in which Victoria manipulates circumstances in a manner that leads to her and Patrick adopting the little girl.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the aforementioned meeting perfectly illustrates the sweetness and humor of "Scourie."

The fact that the McChesneys are Protestants and that Patsy is Catholic only becomes a real issue to the political enemies of  Patrick, who holds an elected office that is equivalent to the mayor of a town. The fact that the adoption coincides with Patrick making progress regarding an aspiration to hold a higher office intensifies the use of the expansion of the McChesney family as a political issue.

Needless to say the attacks cause Victoria to get her Irish up in scenes that include disrupting the quiet routine in a barber shop and an event that clearly shows that her temper boiling over.

Things literally and figuratively heat up when a fire, which is no burning of Tara but still makes good use of Technicolor, intensifies the scrutiny of the McChesneys and contributes to related drama.

The only real sin regarding all this would be passing on this chance to see a great quasi-obscure terrific film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Sourie" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.