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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Submitted by Mark Fuller

An antidote to sophistication

by Patrick Kirwan
on new films

From: Evening Standard
16 November 1945

The nostalgia, the exiles' homesickness, that haunt the tender cadences:
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas,
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides!

will find echo in the hearts of Scotsmen wherever I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (Odeon, Leicester-square) is shown in the world.

     This charming and very beautiful romance of the Western Isles will achieve more: it will be hailed with relief and rapture by a public, of whatever nationality they may be, tiring of the cynical and synthetic films they have recently been offered.

     It offers simplicity in place of weary sophistication, vitality as against vulgarity. It admits sweet air into our stuffy auditoriums.

     The story is slight enough. A girl, Wendy Hiller, is determined upon a rich and successful marriage.

     She is engaged to a baronet who has rented Kiloran Island from its laird, Roger Livesey, and is travelling to her marriage when, reaching the neighbouring island of Mull, the weather turns and the crossing is declared impossible until the wind lifts.

     While awaiting passage she meets the Laird of Kiloran, who is poor but content with Highland simplicities and wild loveliness.

     Here is a life in utter contrast to all that she has striven for. She struggles with herself but in the end returns the Laird's love, and sees that the good life is not wholly dependent upon money.

     This may sound trite enough, but it is gracefully written and acted with dignity and distinction. Indeed, any more complicated plot would have spoiled its natural charm, and denied us the privilege of meeting Captain Knight's awe-inspiring eagle Mr. Ramshaw, or of spending some terrifying minutes in a small open boat on the verge of the island's terrible whirlpool.

     Here are exhilarating Highland dances and songs, though I must proclaim that the best of them, which gives the film its title, is Irish; but as all share the Gaelic it makes no matter.

     Once again those gifted collaborators, Messrs. Powell and Pressburger, are to be congratulated on proving that British films, in quality, if not quantity, are still pre-eminent.

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