Two Matte shots from Bonnie Prince Charlie – actually made in 1947 – so before the fifties decade BUT they were used again in 1953 for
The Master of Ballantrae with Errol Flynn and Roger Livesey – Two actors I liked.
One actor who I didn’t take to was in fact David Niven who in my opinion was woefully mis-cast in this film.
Bonnie Prince Charlie had a huge budget, a major Hollywood star and a dramatic story from Scottish history, the 1948 film should have been one of British cinema’s most celebrated epics.
Alexander Korda, England’s greatest movie mogul, had conquered America with The Private Life of Henry VIII, the first British film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and he was prepared to spend big money for a repeat.
David Niven was at the time under contract to Sam Goldwyn, but Korda’s London Film Productions offered the studio the then-astronomical sum of $150,000 for the use of his services.
Bonnie Prince Charlie was shot mainly in the studios at Shepperton, although there was some location filming in the Highlands.
The distinguished cast included Margaret Leighton as Flora MacDonald, Jack Hawkins as Lord George Murray and Scots actor John Laurie, who later played Private Fraser in TV’s Dad’s Army, as Blind Jimmie
Just to add insult to injury, when Niven’s birth certificate was discovered after his death it turned out that he had not been born in Kirriemuir in Angus, as he claimed, but in Belgrave Mansions in London.
Above: Will Fyffe chatting to Alexander Korda on the set of the film.
Famous Comedian Actor Will Fyffe had been cast in the film – and much filming had been done with him but he sadly died during the actual making of the film – and was replaced by Moreland Graham.
After an operation on his right ear in 1947, Fyffe went to recuperate at his own hotel in St Andrews. One night, he fell from the window of his suite and was taken to the local cottage hospital, where he later died.
Filming took place on location in Scotland and at Shepperton studios in London. Second unit filming began in August 1946 near Fort William. Doubles for the main cast were used as David Niven was unavailable until the spring.
Soldiers in the British army were hired as extras as they were in the making of Rob Roy The Highland Rogue with Richard Todd about 5 or 6 years later – that was a good film.
The film ended up taking two years to make. Portions of the film were also directed by Robert Stevenson, Leslie Arliss and Alex Korda. Producer Edward Black died not long after the premiere.
Above: a JIG SAW PUZZLE to promote the film. There were a few done like this at that time. I can think of puzzles for Diamond City, The Blue Lagoon, The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men and Rob Roy, The Highland Rogue to mention but a few – and I am pretty sure there are more