Title: ‘I Know Where I’m Going!’
Language: English, Scottish Gaelic
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directors/Writers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Music: Allan Gray
Cinematography: Erwin Hillier
The Archers’ (Powell and Pressburger) b&w “never-too-late-to-meet-the-right-one” romance, shot during wartime, just prior to their foray into Technicolor. In the center stage of it is a middle-class English woman Joan Webster (Hiller), accentuated by the titular motto, she is a headstrong city gal, endowed with a limpid mind, and always knows what she wants ever since she is a little girl (real silk stockings).
After a succinct prologue traversing through her childhood to adulthood, now at the age of 25, Joan is going to marry a magnate of chemical business, and their wedding will be held in the (fictitious) Isle of Kiloran, but there is a catch, is this affluent but much older fiancé is the right man for her? That is the time-honored dilemma sets to disorient the self-willed soul of Joan, with a little help of a well-timed gale standing between her and the island, ever so close, but cannot reach, nature has unleashed a warning sign of this matrimony.
Thus, after traveling from Manchester through sundry methods of transport, Joan is stuck in the Isle of Mull, impatiently waits for the blustering gale to lull, and she meets the local denizens and a tinge of romance troublingly budding between her and Torquil MacNeil (Livesey), a navy officer who plans to spend his furlough on Kiloran as well, a subplot concerns an ancient curse subjected to the laird of Kiloran would serve as a sterling springboard for the pair to realize their true feelings for each other. But, their chemistry, the magic that leaves one’s heart palpitating with hankering doesn’t make for a leavening feeling of entrancement, albeit Hiller’s emotive rendition is pitch-perfect and bursting with niceties. So Joan, portrayed as a self-seeking and reckless woman purported by the modern air of independence, falls for a nondescript character like Torquil (easy-going but blue-blooded) as a contingency when she has learned a lesson from her own mistake of preferring monetary security to a more organic life, the eloquence is rather deficient, conversely it also makes Torquil’s choice of Joan, a city girl with glamor, over his long-time friend Catriona Potts (a shimmering Pamela Brown), an expansive huntress, sounds awkwardly hypocritical, the film’s ethnographic message certainly hits the right mark, but its sex politics fails to launch in afterthought.
Be that as it may, the film is an absolute gas to behold, not the least for its sterling cinematography, elemental and picturesque (makes one wonder what it would look like if it were shot in colors), particularly, the eye-opening, studio-bounded money shots of the monstrous Corryvreckan whirlpool, starkly conjures up its cinematic allure for progeny to ponder about The Archers’ studious work ethic and their state-of-the-art craftsmanship.
referential point: BLACK NARCISSUS (1947) 8.3/10