Friday, March 9, 2007

"I Know where I'm Going!"

Last night, I collapsed upon the USS Sofa and watched an utterly charming movie on TCM that I've never even heard of before.

"I Know Where I'm Going!" was filmed in 1945, but not released in the US until 1947. Written and directed by the estimable Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who jointly called themselves The Archers, the film follows Joan Webster, a rather domineering young lady, on her journey from London to a small island in the Hebrides, where she is to marry a very very rich man.

Needless to say, Miss Webster's well laid plans gang agley when a huge gale storms up out of the north and cuts her off from her bridegroom's island. While she waits for the storm to subside, Miss Webster meets a charming young naval officer who is also bound for the island, and she begins to wonder if she knows where's she's going after all.

The film was actually made on location in Western Scotland, and the Archers were masters at capturing the nuances of light and shadow, so the movie, even in black and white, is gorgeous. There's lots of Highland atmosphere, including a raucous ceilidh, a John Bullish colonel who is trying to train an eagle to hunt, and lots of locals speaking Gaelic. There's a touch of humor, more than a touch of atmosphere, and while the heroine starts out a bit unsympathetically, she grows through the course of the film, and the viewer ends up liking in her in the end. The hero is dashing and genial, and looks extremely good in a kilt.

And there are three pipers. And an ancient curse. And a dangerous whirlpool. And a pack of staghounds. And lots and lots of fog.

"I Know Where I'm Going!" is available on Netflix. Get it, watch it, and wonder why they don't make movies like this anymore.


Paul Witcover said...

This is one of my all-time favorite movies! It's a precursor to such whimsical eccentricities as Bill Forsythe's Gregory's Girl and Local Hero. A delight, every time. ]

If you liked this, give "The Ghost Goes West" a try . . .

Ysabeau Wilce said...

I've never heard of "The Ghost Goes West"...but the entry makes it sound quite good. I'll have to Netflix it. For other Archers' films, I highly recommend "Black Narcissus" which was also just shown on TCM. A group of Anglican nuns goes to the Himalayas to establish a convent and run smack into decadence and idolatry. Gorgeous color, and the whole film just pulses with forbidden desires.