Four musicals that are much better than Brigadoon

It’s too easy to point out that Brigadoon isn’t the greatest musical of all time, and even though it made a packet at the box office, it’s pretty unwatchable to a modern audience (especially to anyone who’s ever met a real live Scotch person).

The accents are Dick van Dyke- in- Mary- Poppins dreadful and the evocation of a Scottish community full of twinkly-eyed tam o’ shanter-wearing, bekilted Highland dancing gephyrophobiacs  is sentimental and laughably twee

Might I draw your attention to any one of these glorious musicals that are more fun, have better tunes and superb dancing?

Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn Le Roy, 1933)

Busby Berkeley‘s crowning achievement. As with most of the films where Buzz choreographed the dance sequences, the plot is largely irrelevant and you stick with it for the dance sequences. This film includes the breath-taking Lullaby of Broadway sequence: hundreds of perfectly synchronised tap dancers, filmed to emphasise the geometry of their mass. And with a peculiarly gruesome ending.

Lullaby of Broadway

Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935)

Ginger Rogers could do anything Fred Astaire could do, only backwards and in high heels. They had rehearsed and danced this sequence so many times that the beautiful dress she is wearing is beginning to disintegrate and tiny filaments of ostrich feather float in the light. It’s said that she was bleeding into her shoes by the final take and she performs three amazing back bends, lower each time, and always ridiculously graceful.

Cheek to Cheek


Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Doonen, 1955)

Debbie Reynolds is so perky and loveable throughout this film. She’s wholesome and cheery and vivacious and is a contrast to the inherent seriousness of Gene Kelly, he always struck me as someone who took themselves terribly seriously. It’s worth talking “the whole night through” just so you can sing this song. It’s a real “let’s put on the show right here” song.

Good Morning

Strictly Ballroom (Baz Lurhmann, 1992)

Okay, it’s not strictly a musical, but it is a film about dancing and music and this song pops up  several times throughout the soundtrack. At this point, we know that you can dance any steps you like, that Scott will fulfil his father’s thwarted dreams it’ll all end happily ever after  and that love is indeed in the air.

Love Is In The Air

Other superior musicals: High Society (What a Swell party) , Oliver! (Food Glorious Food), and Swingtime (Pick Yourself Up) – such apparently effortless elegance.


AuthorOliver Jones