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 Malcolm Pratt
I Know Where I'm Going
Review by Thomas M. Pryor
New York Times, August 20th 1947
Written, produced, and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Cinematographer, Erwin Hillier
Edited by John Seabourne
Music by Allan Gray
Art designer, Alfred Junge
Released by Universal International Pictures
Black and white
Running time: 91 minutes.
Wendy Hiller (Joan Webster)
Roger Livesey (Torquil MacNeil)
Finlay Currie (Ruairidh Mor)
Pamela Brown (Catriona)
Valentine Dyall (Mr. Robinson)
Petula Clark (Cheril)
Walter Hudd (Hunter)
George Carney (Mr. Webster)
Duncan Mackechnie (Captain Lochinvar)
The Archers, which is a corporate way of saying Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, have scored another bulls-eye. Last week this English writing-directing team gave us the artistically exciting Black Narcissus. Yesterday they sent to the Sutton Cinema, in East Fifty-seventh Street, one of the most satisfying screen romances of many a season. I Know Where I'm Going is boy-meets-girl, but developed in an adult, literate style -- a sort of romantic suspense drama which is as beautifully performed as it is beautifully written and directed.
Wendy Hiller, back on the screen for the first time since Major Barbara (1941), is giving a facile, captivating portrayal of a materialistic young woman who believes that money is the springboard to all earthly happiness. She is expertly assisted by Roger Livesey as a British naval officer who would convince her otherwise and a host of lesser-known players, each of whom appears to have been chosen for his or her particular role with meticulous care. These minor characters are fully rounded personalities, and what they have to say and do exerts considerable influence upon the destiny of the principals. In other words, I Know Where I'm Going is a striking example of the ensemble precept of moviemaking.
At twenty-six, Joan Webster is represented as a girl who had always known where she was going in life. And, as the story gets under way, she is going from London to the Island of Kiloran, in the Hebrides, to marry an elderly and wealthy industrialist. A storm maroons her for eight days on the Isle of Mull in the company of the personable naval officer and other Highland folk, and for the first time in her life Miss Webster begins to live with her heart as well as her head. This simple story line is developed with considerable imagination, wit, and emotional insight into a thoroughly enjoyable and exhilarating romantic experience.
Practically all of I Know Where I'm Going unfolds on the rugged, picturesque Isle of Mull, and the Scottish inhabitants and their customs are exquisitely depicted. The whole atmosphere of the film is alive with the sound of whining wind and the crashing of angry waves on the rocky coast, the ghosts of ancient, kilted clansmen standing silent watch over abandoned castles, and the skirling of bagpipes.
One of the most fascinating sequences of the picture is the Ceilidh ("Kayley"), an ancient Highland song and dance ritual, held in honor of a couple celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Much of the song and conversation is carried on in Gaelic at the Ceilidh, and though unintelligible to most American moviegoers, one would not want it otherwise, for therein lies the true flavor of the people.
I Know Where I'm Going will be a treat for discriminating moviegoers, but it will not hold much appeal for those who may expect any violent, emotional display. For the characters in this picture are solid, normal, and mature human beings and their experiences are far from spectacular. But they are intensely interesting people in their own quiet way.
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