In the Scottish highlands there is a town that comes to life once every hundred years. This town is called Brigadoon. In Hollywood there is a giant Cinemascopic set speckled with full-sweatered girls, bagpipes and Van Johnson. This is also called Brigadoon. So much has been said about the transient quality of both that an observer of Hollywood's Brigadoon finds himself looking for new beauty in seemingly insignificant details.
And he certainly does find it. For example, in the song Heather on the Hill, there is a line, "And all the clouds are holding still." Darned if they aren't, too. Because instead of photographing real clouds, the producer had some sets painted up so the clouds would be sure to hold still. For this reason also the hills look just like real hills, but bigger, and the lake is always the same color.
Then there's the scene when Gene Kelly sings Almost Like Being in Love to Van Johnson. Both had been carrying guns because they were hunters. But when Gene begins to sing, they both forget about their guns and walk away without them. Obvious innuendo: love and death-dealing do not mix. Somewhat like this subtlety is the scene where Gene and Van first sight the town of Brigadoon. They are so excited and hungry that they race away and Gene forgets his hat. Although it is hard to tell just what this means, it is effective.
Van Johnson should undoubtedly get top honors for drawing the audience into an understanding of the film's intricacies. In one unforgettable scene, he asks Gene Kelly, "Would you like a drink?"
"Nope, not this early in the morning."
"Good, heh, heh, all the more for me." This loosens up the audience, and prepares them for Van's great line a few hours later. He says to a forward little lassie, "If love were a hobby, you'd be a collector's item."
Although this does not exhaust the film's attention to insignificance, it does hit many of the high points. Of course, Cyd Charisse's brogue is pretty, and it's enlightening to see that dress fashions in 1723 Scotland owe something to Christian Dior.