I Know Where I'm Going

Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1945, 92 minutes

"Money isn't everything." Conceived when The Archers were told that there was no Technicolor film stock available for them to make A Matter of Life and Death, I Know Where I'm Going! (IKWIG to the inftiated) is a better follow up to A Canterbury Tale's evocation of the British landscape and its crusade against materialism.

It tells the story of Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller), who knows where she's going: to many the millionaire boss of Consolidated Chemical Industries on a remote beautiful island called Kiloran off the West Coast of Scotland, to be precise. But prevented from crossing to the island by the Highland weather, Joan finds herself the object of the attentions of a local naval officer on leave (Roger Livesy) and soon realises that she no longer knows where she's going.

Probably the only film-makers who could get away with calling their leading male character Torquil, The Archers combine comedy, romance, and suspense wfth Hebridean myth, Scandinavian legend, ancient curses and several significant symbols (hawks, islands, a whirlpool), all complemented by Erwin Hillier's poetic photography. Although the early surreal sequences (top hats dissolve into locomotive chimneys, Joan dreams of marrying CCI itself, trains pass through tartan coloured hills) give way to naturalistic texture in the second half, the film is permeated with a sense of the supenatural.

Roger Livesy never went within 500 miles of Mull (where exterior scenes were filmed), because he was under contract to appear in a West End play at the time. During location filming a double was used and the shots intencut at the editing stage. Powell considered this the best thing he did in movies, and it is not easy to spot the differences. Watch also for a young Petula Clark, whose character dismisses Joan as a 'fortune hunter."

Review by Stephen Cox
Taken from EUFS Programme 1995-96