The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland - Vol. 4

By David Finkelstein; Alistair McCleery | Go to book overview
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Section 6
Trends and Prospects from 2000

David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery

IN 1996 THE then manager of the Scotland football team took his players to the cinema to see Braveheart (1995) in the hope that the film of Scottish victory in the fourteenth-century wars of independence would inspire them to success on the pitch. The film traced the career of William Wallace, but only from the point where he had returned from Rome, fluent in the universal language of clerical hegemony, Latin, and included his victories against the armies of Edward I, before his capture and death by being hanged, drawn and quartered in London. More apocryphal incidents in the film included the impregna­ tion of the French wife of the crown prince by the doughty Scotsman; while the more historically accurate account of the Scottish nobles shar­ ing a common heritage with their English counterparts, and indeed owning estates in both countries, provided a key motivation to the nar­ rative’s depiction of upper-class pusillanimity and desertion.

The film was based on a book by an American academic of Scottish ancestry; Wallace was played by an Australian born in the USA where he now lived and worked; most of the action was shot in Ireland with the collaboration of the Irish army; and Braveheart is owned, reflecting the production investment, by an American studio, Twentieth Century Fox, part of News Corp, a media conglomerate, the fiefdom of Rupert Murdoch, an Australian of Scots origins who has taken American nationality. The Scotland football team, mainly composed of Scots play­ ing in English teams as opposed to Scottish teams comprising players from everywhere except Scotland, failed to make much progress in Euro 96 but, unusually for those in such an occupation, the manager remained in post until he resigned after failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. He was succeeded by a German whose contract as manager of the Kuwaiti national side was bought out by the Scottish FA.


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