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I Know Where I’m Going [DVD] [1945]

I Know Where I’m Going [DVD] [1945]

Wendy Hillier stars in Powell and Pressburger’s classic romantic comedy about a young woman who discovers the true meaning of wealth. Joan Webster has her life mapped out, beginning with marriage to a rich industrialist. Her plans go wrong when she finds herself stranded on the way to a remote Scottish island and falls in […]

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Wendy Hillier stars in Powell and Pressburger’s classic romantic comedy about a young woman who discovers the true meaning of wealth. Joan Webster has her life mapped out, beginning with marriage to a rich industrialist. Her plans go wrong when she finds herself stranded on the way to a remote Scottish island and falls in love with a penniless young sailor. Filmed on location in the Isle of Mull, the fourth collaboration between Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (The Red Shoes, A Matter of Life and Death) is one of their best-loved movies.

Having seen I Know Where I’m Going, Martin Scorsese (a huge fan of filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger) declared that there were no more classics to be made in cinema. The film tells the story of Wendy Hiller’s unromantic but determined young bride-to-be Joan Webster, setting forth to the Isle of Mull to marry an elderly millionaire. However, on reaching Kiloran she’s prevented by adverse weather from reaching the island and must bunk down in a hotel with naval lieutenant and, it transpires, penniless Laird Torquil McNeil (Roger Livesey).

It’s not hard to predict the outcome of this saga but getting there is a wonderful journey. Hiller, more famous for playing less pretty elders in later life in the likes of Murder on the Orient Express, is splendid as the softening pragmatist, while Livesey, frequently used by Powell/Pressburger, again embodies a combination of British no-nonsense decency and romanticism. The strongest, most magical presence in the movie, even in black and white, is that of the Scottish scenery, beautiful and volatile and somehow serving to aid and abet the happy ending. —David Stubbs

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