This review is a re-edit of my original review published on this blog back on July 2nd 2010. With time and re-reading I agreemented and corrected some parts. It is re-posted in the event of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Club.
I Know Where I'm Going! (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1945)TSPDT Greatest Films #400
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressbrurger are, in my opinion, two of the most underrated directors of all time. Maybe because British Cinema always passed in second after what American filmmakers had to offer or maybe because they don't come from a country where directors are not as much respected as in France for example. There is also a false sense that British Cinema has much less to offer than the rest of the major countries in Films. Truffaut used to say that British Cinema didn’t have much to bring at the table. Being an admirer of Truffaut as a Film critic and cineaste, agreeing on this topic is more difficult. Powell and Pressburger made such amazing films that only their corpus is enough to make this sentence less accurate. But, their films should be considered as some of the bests of the forties and fifties. Two of the richest decades in Film's History.
I Know Where I'm Going! is the story of a young woman, Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) who always knew what she wanted and never hesitated on anything in her life. There was only one way: her way! She is on the way to marry one of the richest man of Scotland, but on her path she encounters Torquil McNeil (Roger Livesey) with whom she may, for the first time in her life, have second thoughts on something; her marriage...
This story is about how we always try to plan, control, and decide in advance everything we do and how the society makes us want what it tells us. Sometimes journeys or obstacles make us think and put things in perspective and to take a certain step out to see what is really going on with our short lives isn't a bad idea.
This romantic comedy is far from being cliché or dull, but compared to Powell & Pressburger's other works (Red Shoes, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Black Narcissus) I Know Where I'm Going! is one of their lesser film. But lesser Powell & Pressburger is better than the average lesser film! This duo of filmmakers were natural storytellers and it gives to this film a strong touch of classic English litterature. Roger Livesey and Wendy Hiller give exquisite performances as the two leads. What is missing here, is the bright color cinematography and a stronger plot. The story isn’t as well subtexted as their other films and this is what lacks the most in here. However, coming from a pair that almost never deceived my expectations, I can forgive this minor film and just hope that the other films I’m missing for my completion are better works.