- The Eagle Movie: Celtic, for Diana Gabaldon Fans! Trailer
- Celtic Knot Meanings Are Lost Edu Sources Say, But They Take Great Pictures!
We may not have a movie of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novel yet, but The Eagle movie of 2011 should help tide you over. The amount of Celtic lore and music was a pleasant surprise. Like the Outlander novels, this movie features primitive battle surgery and emphasizes the similarities between Scottish highlanders and American Indians, or First Nation Peoples. The Scottish highland scenery and the Gaelic language, music, props and costumes in this movie all feed a Celtic appetite.
Rome building Hadrian’s Wall in 120 AD is the premise for this film. This happened 1600+ years before Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie walked the Highland hills, but the Highlands characters in this film are undoubtedly Jamie’s ancestors. One of the actors is even named Jamie Bell. He portrays a Brigante named Esca Mac Cunoval. Jamie’s hair even looks red in the sun! The 130 AD animosity between Rome and the Scottish Highlands — portrayed in this movie — partly explains the 1700’s animosity between England and Scotland — portrayed in Diana Gabaldon’s novels. (More below the trailer)
Even though The Eagle is told from the Roman point of view, we get to hear Irish pipes, fiddles and dulcimers pretty much throughout Atli Orvarsson’s original score. Much Gaelic singing is in the score, too, and Celtic drumming. Sword fighting probably sounds the same in every culture, and this film has plenty of that.
Esca Mac Cunoval speaks Gaelic much of the time, and we get subtitles. When Esca speaks English, he has the beginnings of a Scottish Highlands accent — especially when Esca says, “He slit her throat.” This is the first movie I have seen where they actually speak Gaelic. I love it and want them to make more. Morag Stewart is the Gaelic advisor for The Eagle.
There are no Scottish plaids or even kilts yet in the year 140 AD, but Esca Mac Cunoval wears an arisaid that features circular Celtic knotwork patterns. Curiously, these patterns only start to show when he gets to the Highlands. (More below this video of an interview with Jamie Bell regarding filming on location in the Scottish Highlands – and how Jamie’s costar Channing Tatum scalded his genitals while filming The Eagle.)
The Picts in The Eagle paint themselves with ordinary mud and tatoos, not with woad like the Picts as portrayed in the movie King Arthur. The Eagle movie calls the Picts “painted people,” “rogue warriors” and “seal people” — and portrays Picts very similar to American Indians in grooming, dress and demeanor. They have hairdos that resemble Mohawks, wear bone and tooth necklaces, and live in round tents with fires in the center. Their ritual rites of passage, feathered chief and painted caves resemble those in films about American Indians, most notably The Trial of Billy Jack.
The Eagle was filmed on location in Scotland, and there are panoramic vistas of the Scottish Highlands. The credits thank the people of the Coigaen Peninsula. Down below in the comments we learn that the Seal People are portrayed by Scottish locals from Achiltibuie, where much of the filming took place. Parts were made in Hungary, but not so you would notice. Most of the technical credits are Hungarian names. Producer Duncan Kenworthy and director Kevin MacDonald both have Scottish names.
I count The Eagle among these other great Celtic films I have seen: Brave Heart, The Highlander, Rob Roy and King Arthur. The only distraction for me was that The Eagle movie’s antlered medicine man looks like Riff Raff.
The cost of my movie tickets was reimbursed, but not for the purpose of reviewing nor promoting this film.
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