Film And TV Locations
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Due to be released in America in July 2007, Stardust, based on the book by Neil Gaiman, was filmed partly on Skye in the summer of 2006. Starring Claire Danes, Michelle Pfieffer, Sienna Miller, Robert De Niro and the voice of Ricky Gervais, the film is a magical fantasy in which Tristian (Charlie Cox) seeks to win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller). As no previews are currently available all we can say is that Michelle Pfieffer caused a stir riding around in a small chariot pulled by two goats and dressed in a leather bra and very little else in the chilly environment of the Fairy Glen near Uig. Other Skye locations included the coast at Lealt and minor roads in Kilmuir.
Also due for release in 2007 is Seachd Ė The Innaccessible Pinnacle. The first ever Gaelic-language feature film intended for worldwide showing, Seachd is produced by Skye-based Chris Young. The film tells the story of three children growing up in present day Skye. When their parents are tragically killed whilst trying to save another climber on the Cuillin's Innaccessible Pinnacle, Aonghas and his brother and sister go to live with their grandparents. Their grandfather is a wonderful storyteller and claims to be over 800 years old. Eventually his fantastic stories cast their own spell over the children and Aonghas finds himself drawn into an exciting and magical world.
Breaking the Waves, an acclaimed but harrowing 1996 film by Lars Von Trier, was filmed at a variety of locations across the North West Highlands, including Neist Point and on the Quiraing road near Staffin on Skye. Bess, played by Emily Watson, is a naÔve young woman who marries Jan, an oil rig worker. They have an intense and passionate relationship. However this bliss is cut short when an accident at work leaves Jan paralysed. Believing he will never to be able to make love to Bess again, he tells her to take other lovers and convinces her that this will help his recovery. Bessís underlying vulnerability is exposed and she is sent spiralling into a bleak world of confused emotions. The scenes at Neist Point required the construction of a fake graveyard which remained there for some time after filming.
In Highlander (1986) the dramatic swordfighting sequence in the mountains was filmed on the Cioch a large rock outcrop from the face of Sron Na Ciche in the Cuillin, and on the Table in the Quiraing. Other scenes were filmed at Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Shiel and further afield in Glen Coe and Glen Nevis. The film follows the epic sage of immortal Connor MacLeod who can only be killed by being beheaded by a sword. After living in peace for four centuries he is challenged by his old enemy, Krugan. Starring Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert the film dips in and out of different centruries in an epic battle between these two members of the same immortal race. More recently, locals tell the story of an excited climber who found an ancient sword embedded in the rock and scree of the Cuilln. Thinking he'd found a valuable artefact, he was slightly disappointed to hear it was one of the swords which was lost during filming of the famous Cioch swordfight scene.
The opening scenes of Flash Gordon (1980) were filmed at the Aishaig airstrip near Broadford. You may be interested to know that this brief scene included a young and thin Robbie Coltrane playing the baggage handler. Adapted from the classic cartoon Flash Gordon has to save the world from the evil plans of Ming the Merciless. With his companions, Doctor Zarkov and Dale Arden, Flash battles to save the earth.
The Land that Time Forgot was filmed in 1974 and starred Doug McClure and Susan Penhaligon in a sci-fi classic. A German U-Boat torpedoes a British ship during World War I, and its survivors are taken onboard. Getting lost, the U-Boat drifts into a mist which exposes a prehistoric land filled with ferocious monsters and dinosaurs. They must escape the land that time forgot. The final scenes in this film show the rock formations of the Quiraing and then the Old Man of Storr shrouded in mist. Walk around these eerie rocks can even today transport you back to the age of dinosaurs.
In 1973 The Wicker Man was released as a trailer to Donít Look Now. The opening credits show William Woodward as the policeman flying over the Old Man of Storr and the Trotternish coastline before landing at Plockton near to Skye on the mainland. The Wicker Man is now regarded as a classic of British cinema. Edward Woodward stars as Sergeant Howie, a naive young police officer sent to Summerisle, a secluded island off the coast of Scotland, to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan. When he arrives there, he finds a very tight-knit community that is mistrustful and hostile to outsiders. No one is willing to even acknowledge Rowan's disappearance. Soon, Howie begins to realize that the town might, in fact, be a strange pagan cult, one given to unbridled sexuality and possible human sacrifice. Driven to the brink of temptation by a naked, dancing Britt Ekland, (the Plockton house this scene was shot in was recently for sale, giving film buffs the opportunity to recreate this scene) Howie relies heavily on his earnest Christain faith. He seeks an audience with the oddly civilized Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), and hopes to get to the bottom of the mystery, but instead he finds something more shocking than he could have ever imagined.
Bonnie Prince Charlie was shot in glorious technicolor in 1948. As well as using painted backdrops it was filmed on location at the Old Man of Storr on Skye as well at Eilean Donan Castle, Glen Coe and Glenfinnan on the mainland. Starring David Niven, Margaret Leighton, Jack Hawkins and Finlay Currie, the film is a grand, if slightly dull, biography of the 16th century Scottish prince.
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