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David Allison

Rob Roy 1922

Premiered at HippFest with David Allison's specially commissioned score in 2019, this impressive biopic of Scottish folk hero Rob Roy starring David Hawthorne in tartan kilt and tammy was shot entirely on location in the Trossachs and nearby Stirling Castle, whilst the 10th Duke of Argyll gave permission to the production to film on his estates.

The film makes liberal use of Scots for the intertitles (“dinnae fash yersel”) and has epic fight scenes abound, with 800 men of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders enlisted as extras in a dramatic battle.

At the opening of the film, screenwriter Alicia Ramsey explains via the first intertitle that this is not an adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, but the story of the principal events in the life of the famous outlaw (‘To Scotland, not to Scott, did we go for the facts…’).

 

Never prone to letting these ‘facts’ get in the way of a good story, the film is a gleeful adventure yarn with a strong romantic streak.

To accompany this rare silent source from the British Film Institute National Archive, HippFest commissioned multi-instrumentalist and composer David Allison to create a new score.

 

‘Stand aside Liam Neeson… Davie Hawthorne cuts a very fine figure as the outlawed romantic hero – striding across the glens, fighting injustice and confounding his enemies.

This wasn’t the first film version of the subject but it is certainly the most epic, and it hasn’t been screened since it took Scottish picture houses by storm in 1922.

David performing "Rob Roy" in the Great Hall at Stirling Castle where some of the movie was shot.

Helen, Rob Roy's wife, plays a key role in how the tale unfolds.

Reviews

Wonderful... The large and appreciative audience were thoroughly entertained. Not only by the film but equally so by David Allison’s terrific live score, which combines pipes and drums and flutes and strings to create a contemporary soundtrack which hints at but far from replicates the tartan and twee romanticism of the Highlands.

Peter Callaghan, Reviewsphere

 

Absolutely extraordinary, not just the film itself but the amazing soundtrack that David Allison composed and performed in front of us all.  It really is a unique experience.  If you love cinema at all you need to experience this at least once.

Peter Broughan, producer "Rob Roy" (1995)

 

“A soundtrack by David Allison that mines the emotion from the images. This is no twee piano accompaniment, but a rigorous application of traditional motifs delivered in a way that’s strikingly modern, with squalling guitars for the battle-scenes and lilting melodies for the romance and the dancing.”.

Eddie Harrison, Ten Seconds From Now (Wordpress)

 

“The film sparked into life thanks to the musical magic of David Allison, providing an atmospheric score that managed to blur the boundaries between the traditional Scottish stylings and more contemporary elements.”

Kyle Walker, Seven Days

 

“A sublime score from David Allison”.

Silent Film Calendar

 

The film couldn’t have been as incredible without the live performance of David Allison, who not only played on the keyboard, but multitasked on guitars and iPads – even creating synthesising moments within his performance.  The performance was hypnotic and beautiful to listen to, and set the tone through the different themes throughout the film.

Rosie Hughes, Movie World