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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Must-have movies: I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)



    The classics that every film-lover will want to own. This week, Marc Lee remembers Powell and Pressburger's Scottish romance



    By the mid-1940s, Powell and Pressburger, one of the greatest partnerships in cinema, were churning out one masterpiece after another. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes (among others) all appeared between 1942 and 1948, all richly deserving of their classic status.



    Yet, despite their technical innovation and narrative ambition, none is quite as charming, loveable and re-watchable as the relatively small-scale I Know Where I'm Going!



    The story is simple: flighty city girl Joan heads off for her wedding to "one of the richest men in England" on a remote Hebridean island only for the sea crossing to be stymied by bad weather, the delay leaving her prey to the charms of Torquil, the dashing but straitened local laird.



    This is so much more than a slight, light romcom. It's also a celebration of Gaelic culture, and a paean to the breathtaking Scottish landscape. It subtly captures an era when top hats could still be seen in the streets, and a young woman would insist on separate tables rather than take lunch with an unattached male acquaintance.



    There's also something mysterious and magical about the setting, with its mist-shrouded castles and ancient curses that trouble even the war-hero Torquil. Plus the climactic sequence in which the protagonists' flimsy motor boat is drawn perilously towards a vicious whirlpool could not have been shot more thrillingly even with all the computer technology available to today's filmmakers.



    In the lead roles, Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey are superb. She brings extraordinary depth to an initially shallow character: the scene in which she's so desperate to escape the burgeoning love affair that she's willing to risk not only her own life but someone else's, too, is truly chilling.



    And Livesey is one of the few romantic heroes who can convincingly spend an entire movie with a pipe clamped between his teeth.

  2. #2
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    Love this film. Is it true - P&P addicts may be able to assist - that Roger Livesey never went to the Scottish locations and all the exterior shots featuring his character are of a double?



    And did the bloke who plays the ex-Army falconer type ever do any more films? He sounds like he's trying to make himself heard over a pnuematic drill all the time! "I'VE NAMED HIM AFTER YOU TORQUIL!!!HOPE YOU DON'T MIND OLD BOY!!!"

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    sunofyork:

    Love this film. Is it true - P&P addicts may be able to assist - that Roger Livesey never went to the Scottish locations and all the exterior shots featuring his character are of a double?



    And did the bloke who plays the ex-Army falconer type ever do any more films? He sounds like he's trying to make himself heard over a pnuematic drill all the time! "I'VE NAMED HIM AFTER YOU TORQUIL!!!HOPE YOU DON'T MIND OLD BOY!!!"
    It's true that Roger Livesey never went anywhere near the Western Isles where the locations were shot. He was appearing every night (& some afternoons) on stage in London in "The Banbury Nose" by Peter Ustinov.



    All the exterior shots are using a double (we still don't know the name of that double). But the difficulty is identifying exactly which are the exterior shots as some which are set outside are actually filmed in the studio. The Archers were a bit clever like that. It's sometimes very hard to tell. But if you see Roger's face then you can be sure it was in the studio.



    The falconer was Capt. C.W.R. Knight. I don't know of any other films he appeared in although he was in a few clips from newsreels. Considering that he wasn't an actor it's a very good performance. He has to shout loudly to make himself heard above the noise of the waterfall in the scene you mention - but he does have quite a loud voice.



    Capt. Knight was the uncle of actor Esmond Knight and he was the falcon/hawk handler & trainer on a few other films like The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), Gone to Earth (1950) and Geordie (1955). He toured the world giving demonstrations and lectures, usually accompanied by the Golden Eagle that also stars in IKWIG, Mr. Ramshaw. He wrote "All British Eagle", London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1943.



    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    Steve, you are an absolute goldmine of information thumbs_u



    rgds

    Rob

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    Many thanks Steve, fascinating stuff.



    Raymond

  6. #6
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    I loved 'I Know Where I'm Going!' so much I bought the BFI book about the film. If anyone's in any doubt about which version of the film to buy then I can tell you that the Criterion DVD is stunning - one of the best in my collection. 'I Know Where I'm Going' is up there with 'A Canterbury Tale' as one of Pressburger / Powell's best.

  7. #7
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Ed Parsons:

    I loved 'I Know Where I'm Going!' so much I bought the BFI book about the film. If anyone's in any doubt about which version of the film to buy then I can tell you that the Criterion DVD is stunning - one of the best in my collection. 'I Know Where I'm Going' is up there with 'A Canterbury Tale' as one of Pressburger / Powell's best.
    If you can find a copy (they're quite rare) there was a "book of the film" I Know Where I'm Going! by Eric Britton, World Film Publications: London 1946.



    Yes, the Criterion DVD is the better one. But for anyone who thinks they might have trouble playing it (even though it's not region coded) IKWIG is also available on a triple DVD from Carlton along with Blimp and AMOLAD.



    But that doesn't have all the wonderful extras that are on the Criterion DVD.



    Steve

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    I have a very unhappy copy of this book (looks like it was once dropped in the bath) which I'd love to replace with a minter if anyone has one.....

  9. #9
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Paul E:

    I have a very unhappy copy of this book (looks like it was once dropped in the bath) which I'd love to replace with a minter if anyone has one.....
    ABE Books is your best bet for that and any other second hand books .



    ABE stands for Advanced Book Exchange and they act as a clearing house for lots of second hand book sellers from around the world.



    Steve

  10. #10
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    this was my favourie p&p film til i found out roger livesey never went to scotland, this ruined the romance, the bit about counting the 4 corners of the room is an old hungarian superstition, if you do this whatever

    you dream will come true, but only if it is a room you have never slept in before. anyway i now like a canterbuury tale better

  11. #11
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    joanwebster:

    this was my favourie p&p film til i found out roger livesey never went to scotland, this ruined the romance, the bit about counting the 4 corners of the room is an old hungarian superstition, if you do this whatever you dream will come true, but only if it is a room you have never slept in before. anyway i now like a canterbuury tale better
    Hello Joan, how are you doing? How's Torquil? :)



    Sorry, I certainly didn't mean to ruin the romance (if it was me that gave it away about Roger not going to Scotland). I thought that just affected how they made the film, not the story they were telling.



    I did go into their story before and after the part that was filmed in some detail with one lady. The results of our meanderings are at Intelligent Female Nonsense.



    Interesting to hear about the old Hungarian superstition as Emeric Pressburger, the writer, was born in Hungary. Although I like the way they adapted it to counting the beams because you can only do that when your room has beams.



    Steve



    P.S. If you now prefer A Canterbury Tale why did you choose the name JoanWebster rather than AlisonSmith?

  12. #12
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    Steve, as somone has already fired a shot across your bows wink I must admit my heart sank when I read that.



    Next time I watch it I won't be able to stop thinking about him not actually being there.



    It's something I've done with movies before, when I've delved for info about the production & cast and then wished I hadn't spoiled the illusion.



    Although thinking about it now, I can't actually think of another film I wouldn't see again because of something I've discovered.



    So perhaps it's just a little shock at first but it's easy to put it to the back of ones mind when watching a film next time.

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    MrDrakesDuck:

    It's something I've done with movies before, when I've delved for info about the production & cast and then wished I hadn't spoiled the illusion.
    I sat down to watch the 'Amelie' director's DVD commentary. The first thing Jean-Pierre Jeunet says on the commentary track is to stop listening if you don't want the magic of the film to be ruined. So I switched it off straight away.

  14. #14
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    MrDrakesDuck:

    Steve, as somone has already fired a shot across your bows wink I must admit my heart sank when I read that.



    Next time I watch it I won't be able to stop thinking about him not actually being there.



    It's something I've done with movies before, when I've delved for info about the production & cast and then wished I hadn't spoiled the illusion.



    Although thinking about it now, I can't actually think of another film I wouldn't see again because of something I've discovered.



    So perhaps it's just a little shock at first but it's easy to put it to the back of ones mind when watching a film next time.
    I must have what is looking like it might be an unusual ability to either watch a film and get totally involved in the story, or to admire how they made it, without letting the one interfere with the other.



    Steve

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    joanwebster:

    this was my favourie p&p film til i found out roger livesey never went to scotland, this ruined the romance, the bit about counting the 4 corners of the room is an old hungarian superstition, if you do this whatever

    you dream will come true, but only if it is a room you have never slept in before. anyway i now like a canterbuury tale better
    Wasn't it counting the beams in the ceiling of the room???

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    joanwebster:

    this was my favourie p&p film til i found out roger livesey never went to scotland, this ruined the romance, the bit about counting the 4 corners of the room is an old hungarian superstition, if you do this whatever

    you dream will come true, but only if it is a room you have never slept in before. anyway i now like a canterbuury tale better
    Does Steve know if there's any doubling in A Canterbury Tale! Joan may have to move on to AMOLAD if there is!!

    Joan - you may be aware that James Mason was originally booked to play the part anyway but was sacked by Powell before shooting began because Mason was whingeing so much about having to go near the water!?

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    paul e thanks for that, i think i knew it was james mason, but i didn't know iw was his whinging.

    it was 4 beams. but my family are hungarian, and it thrilled me to see the superstition in another form mentioned. not all rooms have beams. and not all rooms have 4 corners, by the way it has not worked yet.



    it made me feel how central european the p + p films seemed to me

  18. #18
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Paul E:

    Steve does know - and there isn't any :)

    Unless we count the 3 roles played by Esmond Knight


    But there is quite a lot of playing around with locations. Tracking them all down was a real job of work [by Paul Tritton in his wonderful book on the film]. Because Powell knew the area so well, he grew up there, he could choose exactly the right location for each shot.



    Steve

  19. #19
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    joanwebster:

    paul e thanks for that, i think i knew it was james mason, but i didn't know iw was his whinging.

    it was 4 beams. but my family are hungarian, and it thrilled me to see the superstition in another form mentioned. not all rooms have beams. and not all rooms have 4 corners, by the way it has not worked yet.



    it made me feel how central european the p + p films seemed to me
    That's why we love them so much - they are very european and very British at the same time, taking the best from all styles and the best people available both in front of and behind the camera.



    I like to use Colonel Blimp as an example of a "typically British film" as made by P&P

    Written by a Hungarian (Emeric Pressburger)

    Filmed by a Frenchman (Georges Périnal)

    Music by a Pole (Allan Gray - born Josef Zmigrod)

    Design by a German (Alfred Junge)

    Starring an Austrian (Anton Walbrook)



    And Powell himself, although born in England, had a most unusual (for the time) world view of cinema and art in general. That was partly because he spent a lot of time in the South of France and did a lot of his film-making apprenticeship there.



    Steve

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    Talking of actors not going to Scotland I believe the only time Robert Donat went to Scotland in The 39 Steps was for 2 days shooting of the Forth Bridge sequence - the chase and crofters cottage sequences were filmed at Lime Grove.

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