I Know Where I’m Going! – 1945 Powell & Pressburger
My second viewing — a classic romance – ingenuity in the direction from Powell & Pressburger, career-defining performances from Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, and simply one of the strongest screenplays of the 1940’s outside of Casablanca (Livesey’s line “”They’re not poor, they just haven’t any money”)
It’s more than just polish and craftsmanship from Powell—the opening sequence of Hiller’s character growing up is so well done- the credits are a part of the mise-en-scene as we get to know her and how doggedly determined she is, even as a young girl
The title, haha, very literal (not exactly poetic)- not a big fan but not a big deal
Hiller is brilliant here as Joan Webster, aspiring, smart, pragmatic, stubborn
One of the film’s standout stylistic sequences is the blending and overlapping of images (sort of a dissolve but it is a sustained hold from Powell)- it’s at 10 minutes in, overlapping images as Powell puts us in the headspace of Hiller’s character—the engine, her trip, her busy mind, he matches a steam engine with a black top hat. Hitchcock would be the master of this style—a strong tradition that lives on- Aronofsky would do in Pi and Requiem.
The exteriors shot on location in Scotland, natural lighting, fog—really strong landscape work
The greatest images in the film- on a wall in an art museum level photography is a shot 30 minutes in with Hiller opening the door of the castle. There’s a matching one at 85 minutes for the Livesey character
There are a few shots that are similar on the beach with the water in the background at the magic hour—but only a few—not enough
The same year as Lean’s Brief Encounter– this is a week-long courtship but there are similarities—she’s falling in love as the weather confines her from getting to her fiancee –
After Livesey enters the castle at 85 minutes there are some nicely framed shots of the castle—him stalking around
I think it’s a perfect choice never to show the fiancée
HR—maybe a HR/MS with some distance from it but not higher
Hey, I’ve been visiting your site and it’s quickly become my go-to for “what to watch next” haha. You’re very articulate in your reviews- I especially enjoy the stills and references to other films/directors.
I haven’t got around to this Powell/Pressburger movie but I caught an interview with PTA and DDL saying it was one of the films they watched in preparation for Phantom Thread. Excited to check it out!
@William — thanks for the praise on the site and reviews. The stills are my favorite part– I love finding great moments from some of these films.
Interesting on PTA Phantom Thread and I Know Where I’m Going! I can see it- I hadn’t read that. Thanks for sharing.
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Great notes on the shots, and especially the context — how this kind of brilliant visual filmmaking informs the work we do today. Love this film, Livesey’s continuously deepening connection with her, so quiet so intense. And the visuals feed it and grow it. Story telling at its best, in sensual black and white. Many thanks on your post.
@Victoria WAKS (VJ WAKS)- you are very welcome- thanks for visiting the site and the comment here– very well said on Livesey’s connection
Some of the beautiful location shots where the characters features are obscured were because the lead actors did not shoot on location..those are doubles…this to me only magnifies the filmmaker’s achievement,…they created a believable,entrancing world out of bits and pieces..
@Michael Malden- Thanks for sharing- I was not aware of this- and I agree with you.