Monday, April 15, 2013

I Know Where I'm Going!

Written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, I Know Where I’m Going! is the story of a woman traveling to the Scottish Hebrides to marry a tycoon only for things to go wrong as she meets a naval officer in the island. The film is a romantic-comedy of sorts of how a woman tries to go for one thing only for things not go the way she had planned. Starring Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesay, Pamela Brown, and Finlay Currie. I Know Where I’m Going! is an incredible film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The film is essentially a love story of sorts of a woman whose life has always gone her own way is about to marry a tycoon as she travels to Scotland to marry him at an island. Due to awful weather and raging tides that will prevent her to get to the island, the woman is forced to stay at a small Scottish town where she meets a naval officer who lives in the island as he is descended from a family who has a nearby castle that he never enters believing it’s cursed. Despite her time at this small village, the woman is determined to reach the island at any cost believing it’s destiny as she is forced to come to terms with her feelings for the naval officer and everything else in her life.

The screenplay by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger explores a woman has everything going her way in life as the film opens with an amazing opening credits sequence of Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) growing up as a child as she gets what she wants and is very ambitious. By marrying a tycoon, she will have everything she has ever wanted as she believed she’s earned it as it will fulfill her destiny. By the time she arrives Isle of Mull which is nearby the island of Kiloran, she expects to immediately be on board to the island but bad weather prevents it from happening. There, Joan has to stay on the island until the weather dies down as she befriends the naval officer Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesay) who is the Laird of Kiloran. MacNeil is a man who loves the Isle of Mull as he insists that Joan should stay but Joan’s stubborn behavior would lead to some trouble as she is also starting to fall for MacNeil.

The direction of Powell and Pressburger is very engaging for the way it explores a woman’s desire to fulfill her destiny and the circumstances she has to endure. While a lot of the shots are quite simple in its presentation, there is an element of style in the way some scenes are shot as well as the film’s opening sequence where the opening credits are placed on various things. Yet, there are an array of images that are quite stylish such as the use of layered dissolves in a dream sequence for Joan while the film also contains some very simplistic moments to cover the Scottish landscape and the small town of Mull. The direction is also intense for a very big moment in the third act where MacNeil tries to stop Joan from reaching the island as he and another man are on the boat with Joan where its as a catalyst for what Joan is facing. Though the ending is sort of predictable of what is expected in a romantic story, it works to convey the journey both MacNeil and Joan have endured. Overall, Powell and Pressburger create a captivating yet mesmerizing film about destiny and how to adjust to different circumstances.

Cinematographer Erwin Hiller does excellent work with the film‘s black-and-white photography as he creates some gorgeous shots of the Scottish locations in the daytime as well as more low-key lighting schemes in some of the film‘s nighttime interior settings. Editor John Seabourne Jr. does terrific work with the editing from the use of layered dissolves in the dream sequence to some of the more intense editing in the film’s climax. Production designer Alfred Junge does wonderful work with some of the film‘s set pieces such as the home Joan stays in to the dance hall where Joan and MacNeil watch a celebration.

Sound recorder C.C. Stevens does amazing work with the sound to capture the intensity of the winds as well as the noise of the waves during that terrible weather. The film’s music by Allan Gray is superb for its lush orchestral score to play out some of the melodrama and lighter moments while the rest of the music features an array of traditional Scottish folk music.

The casting by Pat MacDonnell and Adele Raymond is brilliant as it features a wonderful collection of actors including an early appearance from Petula Clark as a young girl Joan meets, Captain C.W.R. Knight as a falconer friend of MacNeil, Catherine Lacey as a talkative local who shows Joan around a large manor, Murdo Morrison as a young boatman named Kenny, and Margot Fitzsimons as Kenny’s girlfriend Bridie. Finlay Currie is terrific as an experienced boatman in Ruairidh Mhor as a man who tells Joan that crossing the sea to the island is a good idea due to the weather. Pamela Brown is wonderful as MacNeil’s friend Catriona as a woman who knows about MacNeil’s attraction towards Joan as well as the things that Joan wants.

Finally, there’s the duo of Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesay as they both give remarkable performances in their respective roles as Joan Webster and Torquil MacNeil. Hiller displays a great sense of determination to a woman who is unaware of how the world plays into things as she finds herself unable to maintain control of her situation. Livesay is more reserved in his role as a naval officer dealing with his family curse as he is full of charm and warmth while also being quite upfront about what Joan is trying to do. The two have amazing chemistry as their scenes together is definitely a highlight of the film.

I Know Where I’m Going! is a marvelous film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger that features splendid performances from Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesay. It’s a film that reveals how some things don’t go the way one intends only for something else to happen where it would end up being even better. It’s also a very engaging romantic film that have a sense of conventional storytelling but takes its time to find ways to not go into formula. In the end, I Know Where It’s Going! is a phenomenal film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Powell/Pressburger Films: The Spy is Black - (The Lion Has Wings) - Contraband - (An Airman’s Letter to His Mother) - 49th Parallel - One of Our Aircraft is Missing - The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - (The Volunteer) - A Canterbury Tale - A Matter of Life and Death - Black Narcissus - The Red Shoes - The Small Black Room - (Gone to Earth) - The Tales of Hoffman - (Oh… Rosalinda!!!) - (The Battle of the River Plate) - Ill Met by Moonlight - Peeping Tom - (They’re a Weird Mob) - (Age of Consent) - (The Boy Who Turned Yellow)

© thevoid99 2013

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