[box cover]

Local Hero

Houston-based Knox Corp. has located a new supply of oil in the North Sea, but their proposed refinery and shipping port will have to be built where a Scottish fishing village currently stands. Aware that the acquisition of a small town and its many properties will require some delicacy, Porsche-driving junior executive Mac MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) is dispatched to Scotland, primarily because of his user-friendly surname (and despite the fact that his forefathers were Hungarian and only adopted the MacIntyre name because they assumed it was "American"). Knox Chairman Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster) personally oversees the operation, although the eccentric CEO is more interested in the astronomical benefits the northern location has to offer than any humdrum oil deal. Once on the ground, Mac begins negotiations with the town's innkeeper and chief representative, Gordon Urquhart (Denis Lawson), but what should be predictable from that point isn't — the townspeople decide to drive a hard bargain and make a bundle off the oil company, while Mac soon loses his interest in the art of the deal and becomes more enamored of the village and the simpler life it offers. He also develops an inexplicable fascination with seashells. Writer/director Bill Forsyth's understated 1983 movie paved the way with American audiences for such other quirky Britcoms as Waking Ned Devine and The Full Monty. Forsyth takes his time to tell a thoughtful story, and he playfully toys with the motivations of his characters, urban and rural alike. Riegert (Animal House), a choice leading man in the right role, has done far too few films since this one. Lancaster, in the twilight of his career, is as vital and energetic as ever. Original score by Mark Knopfler, which only makes the mono audio track that much more regrettable. Good transfer, U.S. theatrical trailer, snap-case.
—JJB



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