Thursday, May 24, 2018

Repost: Tonight's Movie: I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)

NOTE: It was nearly a decade ago when I first became acquainted with I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! (1945), and it's been over half a decade since I first reposted my review. This week I once more revisited this truly magical piece of filmmaking by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, spurred both by my love for it and by having recently rewatched LEAP YEAR (2010) and noticed influences from I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! which I hadn't caught on my first viewing. I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! is a wonderful film which deserves a plug every few years -- it's the first film which has had its review reposted here twice -- and so here once more is my review originally posted in November 2008, augmented with additional images.

One of the marvelous things about classic movies is that no matter how many hundreds of films one has seen, there are always more just waiting to be discovered. And there's a particular thrill that comes with viewing a wonderful movie for the very first time.

I had such an experience tonight watching the 1945 British film I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!, written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The movie stars Wendy Hiller as Joan Webster, a determined young lady who is headed for her wedding to a wealthy man she doesn't love. However, Joan has to get there first, and "there" is a remote Scottish island. Bad weather strands Joan in a village for several days, where she gradually falls under the spell of the people in general and a poor but dashing Naval officer, Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesey), in particular.

I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! combines equal parts comedy and drama. The film's beginning is enchanting, as we follow Joan growing to adulthood over the opening credits. Joan is stubborn -- and mercenary -- yet she also has a certain charm; she's a fully rounded, human character. Small moments linger in the mind, such as Joan hanging up her wedding dress in her train compartment, gazing at it with satisfaction.

Livesey has quiet confidence as Torquil, and Joan and the audience simultaneously get to know him and come to see his worth. The romance between Joan and Torquil is depicted with great subtlety -- blink and you will miss key moments -- but it builds to a wonderful, heartwarming conclusion. The film's 91 minutes fly past quickly.

The black and white photography and the Scottish locations are stunning. You may want to watch this one wrapped in a warm blanket, as the viewer can't help feeling cooooold watching the wind and rainswept scenes. (I also felt a bit seasick during the last third of the movie...) The weather and stark locale combine with Gaelic, ancient castles and legends, music, animals, and village celebrations to give the film a certain otherworldly, mystic quality.

Pamela Brown is particularly striking as Catriona, a free-spirited woman who takes weary traveler Joan into her dog-filled, cobwebby home. Petula Clark was about 12 when she played a young girl Joan meets during her stay. Finlay Currie is also in the large cast.

I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! is available on DVD as part of the Criterion Collection; like most Criterion DVD's, it's packed with extras, including a commentary track.

The movie is also available on VHS and can be seen on cable on TCM.

I'm looking forward to watching the commentary track soon, as it will give me the chance to absorb more of the film. It's a relatively simple story, but told with so many rich details and nuances that it's impossible to take it all in in one sitting.

Watch and enjoy!

Update: Here's some good trivia...Margot Fitzsimons, who plays young Bridie, is the sister of Maureen O'Hara.


Blogger Frank Gibbons said...

I enjoyed your enthusiastic review of "I Know Where I'm Going". I recently watched it and found it to be an extraordinary, virtually flawless film. Everything is perfect -- the writing, the cinematography, and direction. Hiller and Livesey play their parts brilliantly. I had seen "Black Narcissus" several times over the years but never watched anything else by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. After watching "I Know Where I'm Going", my wife and I watched "A Matter of Live and Death" which is also a marvel. This is one film that must be watched in Blu-Ray or at least in HD. Roger Livesey turns in another fine performance. We're going to view "The Red Shoes" next and plan to the entire Powell & Emeric repertoire. Martin Scorsese not only admired Powell but used him as a consultant. Scorsese was going to film "Raging Bull" in color but Powell told him it had to be done in black & white.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING. I'm delighted to know you found it as special as I did.

BLACK NARCISSUS didn't connect with me, at least on my first viewing, though it was visually beautiful. On the other hand I absolutely loved THE RED SHOES and hope you'll enjoy it as well.

I haven't seen A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH since a childhood viewing, shown on TV as STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. I picked up the Criterion edition in a sale so I look forward to revisiting it.

Thanks again for your comment!

Best wishes,

7:32 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older