Laxdale Hall

Laxdale Hall is a 1953 British romantic comedy film directed by John Eldridge and starring Ronald Squire, Kathleen Ryan, Raymond Huntley and Sebastian Shaw, with Prunella Scales and Fulton Mackay in early roles.[1] Released in the U.S. as Scotch on the Rocks, it was adapted from the 1951 novel Laxdale Hall by Eric Linklater.[2]

Laxdale Hall
Laxdale Hall (1953 film).jpg
Directed byJohn Eldridge
Produced byAlfred Shaughnessy
Written byAlfred Shaughnessy
John Eldridge
Based onnovel Laxdale Hall by Eric Linklater
StarringRonald Squire
Kathleen Ryan
Raymond Huntley
Sebastian Shaw
Music byFrank Spencer
CinematographyArthur Grant
Ken Hodges
Edited byBernard Gribble
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathé (UK)
Release date
  • April 1953 (1953-04) (UK)
  • 5 June 1954 (1954-06-05) (USA)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The few car owners of Laxdale, a remote village near the Isle of Skye at Applecross, refuse to pay their Road Fund taxes, in protest against the poor state of the only road. Summonses sent out via the local police mysteriously 'disappear'. The government sends a delegation to investigate. It is led by Samuel Pettigrew, a pompous politician and industrialist, whose Mother was born in Laxdale. He is accompanied by another MP, Hugh Marvell, and Andrew Flett from the Scottish Office.

Pettigrew suggests abandoning the village and setting up a New Town, Brumley Dumps, 100 miles away. But the villagers are highly unimpressed.

Flett (Fulton Mackay), a former teacher, begins romancing the local schoolteacher (Prunella Scales). Marvell spends his time with the daughter of the Laird, a retired General.

The villagers see everything differently. In the middle of torrential rain, the local poacher chats casually with the undertaker saying "ach, there's a bit of mist on the hill". The hearse is used to transport his poached stag. Later, in the pouring rain, they hold an open air production of MacBeth. The play is abandoned when news arrives that there are poachers from Glasgow on the estate (local poachers are tolerated). They ambush the poachers and the police arrest them.

By the time the delegation is ready to leave, Pettigrew has accepted the viewpoint of the villagers; they must have a new road.


Applecross House

The external scenes were shot in Applecross and "Laxdale Hall" is in fact Applecross House, an early 18th century laird's house of formal composition.[3]


Critical receptionEdit

The Radio Times wrote, "The huge success of director Alexander Mackendrick's Whisky Galore! meant it was inevitable that film-makers would cast around for more stories of wily Scots running rings around the stiff-necked English. However, lightning didn't strike twice and this tale of the battle between Whitehall and a tiny Hebridean island, whose inhabitants won't pay a hated road tax, lacks the magic sparkle of Mackendrick's classic";[4] whereas TV Guide wrote, "The humor is subtle and gentle, but often very funny, in much the same way as that in Bill Forsyth's pictures (Local Hero, Comfort and Joy) three decades later."[5]


  1. ^ "Laxdale Hall (1953)".
  2. ^ "Scotch on the Rocks (1952) - John Eldridge - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie".
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Laxdale Hall - Film from RadioTimes".
  5. ^ "Scotch On The Rocks".

External linksEdit