Trouble In The Glen (1954)

Dir. Herbert Wilcox / USA / Comedy, Drama / Colour / 91m

Maurice Walsh, long endeared to audiences for Irish classic ‘The Quiet Man’, also wrote this controversial tale set in the Scottish Highlands. Why is it controversial? Many critics and film historians see it as the absolute nadir of representations of Scotland perpetrated by Hollywood. All the actors have terrible Scottish accents, the scenery is fake and the story of ignorant farming folk is bordering on the racist.

That said, if you watch just with your brain switched off for an hour and a half of entertainment, then there is something to enjoy here.

Orson Welles plays a belligerent Argentine descendent of Highland lairds, who returns to take up the title and hates every second of it. He gives a memorable tirade against bagpipes and the Scottish brogue at the beginning but it is a performance miles away from Citizen Kane. He is frankly silly as a made-up tanned Scotsman. Determined to defend his property rights, he clamps down on the locals – here called a “clan of tinks”. There’s also a ubiquitous romance between one of the tinks and the laird’s daughter that threatens to destroy any chance of peace.

Don’t expect to see anything authentically Scottish in this but perhaps enjoy it for its comedy value (sometimes unintentional).

trouble in the glen

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