The Masters  
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 Richard Layne

I Know Where I'm Going
British, 1947, by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
[The film wasn't released until August 1947 in the States]
Black and white, 91 minutes

A review by Lura Burnette

Here's another absolute delight from the wonderful team of Powell and Pressburger, known as the Archers, creators of such great films as Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes. I particularly love this film because it features Wendy Hiller, who has gotten what I consider to be inadequate recognition from US audiences. She is perhaps most recognized for her roles in A Man For All Seasons, The Importance of Being Earnest and Murder On The Orient Express. These are all very good (I haven't ever seen her be bad in anything), but they were done when she was much older. I Know Where I'm Going features her as a fresh young woman, not traditionally pretty, but fascinating nonetheless. At the time this film was made, she had already been the first Eliza Doolitle on film in Pygmalion (1938), and was sensational in Major Barbara (1941). The story of I Know Where I'm Going is simple and charming. Hiller plays a young woman named Joan Webster who thinks she has got her life in perfect order, including having landed an older and very wealthy fiance. She is on her matter-of-fact way to join him in the Scottish Hebrides, where he has an estate, and where they are to be married. Fate, in the form of a fierce storm, forces her to break her journey. She meets a young naval officer on leave, played marvelously by Roger Livesey. Soon they are falling in love; yet Joan is at the point of fulfilling her driving desire for security and wealth. Her strength and determination are as beautifully illustrated as are her eventual vulnerability and wonderment.

No, that isn't the end of the story.

What is virtually the third lead in the film is the marvelous Scottish setting. I Know Where I'm Going has superb production values, including a feeling running through it that is best described as fey. The island and ocean scenes are unforgettable in their beauty and wildness; a background worthy of the characters. These locations are part of the threads of magic and fairy tale enchantment which run through I Know Where I'm Going, and render it so much more than a small love story. I first saw this movie on television long ago, on a rainy afternoon in winter, and it was - and is - such a joyous surprise.

Roger Livesey, for those who don't know his work, may seem familiar as soon as he appears on the screen. While it's certainly possible that a viewer may remember a particular role of his, the chances are also good that you are recognizing his fantastic voice. Once heard, it's never forgotten. It is absolutely golden, and very seductive. Some scenes from the film can almost be enjoyed with your eyes closed....almost, but not quite. He is a very good actor with strong appeal, and is also being seen at his youthful best, along with Wendy Hiller.

The lyrical beauty of this romance and its setting will capture even the most jaded viewer's attention. When you add to this the magnetic lead performances, engaging supporting players, and a rare sense of wonder, you have a unique film, indeed. The "message" is simple: open yourself to life and love, and see what happens.

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