I Know Where I’m Going! is a perfectly entertaining movie, in a 1945 sort of way. It might not hold the attention of modern audience as remarkably well as some of Powell and Pressburger’s other films, as this one really is just a low key love story. It’s an enjoyable enough watch but not anything particularly earth-shattering.
Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) is a materialistic young woman who is determined to marry a rich man. She’s all set to do this, but she has to get all the way to the remote Scottish island of Killoran, where the captain of industry in question lives. On her way to the island, she gets stuck on another island in a gale, and struggles with the postponement of her wishes. While there, she gets a look at the local customs and starts falling for a military officer who happens to be the laird (lord) of Killoran, Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesey).
There’s really not a lot to say about this movie, unfortunately. It’s a pretty low key story, girl is determined to marry rich guy, falls for young dashing guy by accident instead. That doesn’t mean it’s not charming, well made, and well acted, because it is, but there wasn’t a ton of dramatic pull or emotional investment on my part. Perhaps the most interesting parts are the ones devoted to Scottish customs, which knowing the Archers, was probably one of their main goals in making the film. We get to see dancing, a bunch of castles, kilts, talk of curses and superstitions, and a relatively thrilling sequence in a whirlpool.
I realize I’m being a bit unfair to this movie. The film does touch on some other themes, and there is a rather involving sequence at the end where Joan tries to charter a boat to Killoran by paying a young man who doesn’t understand the danger involved more money than he’s ever seen in his life. It illustrates the class issues the film is concerned with from the beginning rather well, that Joan is more concerned with money for its own sake rather than thinking about how she actually wants to live her life. She’s so set on getting to Killoran that she doesn’t stop to think how she could potentially cause the death of the young man; she thinks everything is fine just because she’s paying him.
Despite being a perfectly entertaining film, I Know Where I’m Going was a bit disappointing to me. Not much, mind you, but a bit. It’s not something I would ever really feel like watching again, just because it was rather bland story-wise. I was happy Archers’ regular Roger Livesey made an appearance, but like the movie as a whole he doesn’t really do anything special. Colonel Blimp this is not. That’s fine, but all in all I was looking for something a bit more spectacular.
“Oh it’s no trouble at all. Besides I haven’t heard any intelligent female nonsense for months.”
Long story short: 3/4 stars
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