The Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon

The Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon

I Know Where I'm Going

My favorite comfort movie, I Know Where I’m Going! opens with a montage of a  toddler girl, Joan Webster,  propelling herself around the family living room.   Then we see Joan at age a 5, writing a bossy letter to Father Christmas ordering him to bring her silk stockings for Christmas!  We see  12 year old Joan with her stockings on and rushing across the street to get a ride home from the milkman instead of milling around the schoolyard with  her classmates.   We see Joan at 18, leaving work and getting her date to take her to a fancy restaurant instead of the movies.  At the end of this montage we see  Joan’s legs, stylishly dressed in silk stockings and heels, entering  a hotel lobby/restaurant.  Joan Webster(Wendy Hiller)  is the main focus of the movie’s plot.  Joan is a determined personality, she always “knows where she is going” and she so far has lived her life by that motto.  She graduated from school and has become an independent career woman.  Her determination and hard work has taken her into the stratosphere of business and she now finds herself engaged to the owner of Consolidated Chemical Industries, Sir Robert Bellinger, one of the wealthiest men in England.  At the hotel Joan meets with her dad to inform him that she will be marrying Sir Robert the next day on the Isle of Kiloran, one of the Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland.  Joan’s father is surprised and does comment that Sir Robert is the same age as himself, but that doesn’t seem to bother Joan.  Before she departs for the train station  she reminds her dad not to worry because she knows where she is going!

Joan telling her dad her plans to marry Sir Robert.

Joan telling her dad her plans to marry Sir Robert.

Next is a montage of dreams Joan has about her marriage to Consolidated Chemical Industries, interspersed with  scenes of traveling to Scotland by train.  Joan next transfers to a bus and on that crowded bus she notices a handsome Naval Officer, Torquil MacNeil(Roger Livesey) and the Officer notices her.  We, the audience, can’t help but cheer when this happens as the Officer is handsome and much closer in age to Joan than her intended is.   Joan and Officer MacNeil both exit the bus near the dock area of the village of Mull.  Joan asks a nearby boat captain if she can get a ride to Kiloran which one can see out in the distance from Mull’s docks.  The captain, Ruairidh Mhor(played by Finlay Curie), tells Joan that the weather is too fierce and no boats will be traveling to Kiloran until the next day, if the weather is better.  Joan is disappointed at this hindrance in her journey to the altar, and she reluctantly agrees to Officer MacNeil’s plan: that they stay overnight at his good friend Catriona’s( Pamela Brown) home.  At Catriona’s home, Joan is introduced to Colonel Barnstaple(C.W.R. Knight) a friend of Catriona’s, who is also staying at her home.  As Catriona and the Colonel fix dinner, Joan is delighted to notice a map of Kiloran on the wall and Officer MacNeil is able to tell Joan a lot of information about the island.  Later that night, as Joan is turning in, she has a short encounter with Officer MacNeil, who congratulates her on her upcoming wedding when she tells him about it, and he reminds Joan to count the beams on her ceiling and then pray a prayer so her wish can come true.  Joan prays for good weather so she can sail to Kiloran in the morning.  In the morning, as fast as she can, Joan readies herself for a trip to the docks and finds out that despite a sunny day, the gales are too strong for any boats to go out.  With Officer MacNeil’s help, they make arrangements to stay at a local hotel and decide to walk to the nearest coastal radio station  so Joan can place a call to Kiloran and talk to Sir Robert.  On the walk to the radio site, Joan and Officer MacNeil pass Moy Castle.  Joan has been reading up on the Hebrides and the area around them and knows that there is a curse on Moy Castle, a curse for the Lairds of Kiloran.  (Laird is Scottish for Lord and bestowed on the landowners of the Isle of Kiloran.)  Joan is eager to explore the castle, but Officer MacNeil refuses to go inside.  After Joan has explored Moy Castle, she emerges and begins to tease Officer MacNeil for being “chicken” and not wanting to explore and it is then that Officer MacNeil reveals that he is the current Laird of Kiloran and that despite what Joan may think, he has a healthy respect for this curse and he won’t step foot into that castle!

Joan praying for good weather.

Joan praying for good weather.

Studying the map of Kiloran.

Studying the map of Kiloran.

As the weather continues to misbehave, Joan and Officer MacNeil keep getting thrown together: she is invited to a tea held by some distant friends in the area and guess who is also a guest?  Officer MacNeil.  The Laird  is  invited to attend the 60th Wedding Anniversary of a local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, and he invites Joan to attend with him.  We can tell that Officer MacNeil is growing fond of Joan, and she of him, but falling in love with this Officer is not a part of Joan’s plans.  What is she going to do??

Love has struck!

Love has struck!

Joan makes a very foolish decision in order to get to Kiloran, and it has negative consequences for her, Officer MacNeil, and some others.  She achieves making Officer MacNeil very angry with her, and a possible ending to their burgeoning romance.

The dangerous boat trip to Kiloran.

The dangerous boat trip to Kiloran.

Will these two people, who are obviously a perfect match for one another, ever get together? Will the weather get better? Will Officer MacNeil get over  his fear of the family castle?  Will Sir Robert be willing to let Joan go?  Does Joan really know where she is going?

Various scenes from the movie.

Various scenes from the movie.

The Laird exploring the castle and ignoring the curse.

The Laird exploring the castle and ignoring the curse.

I happened to stumble upon this film 5 years ago when it aired on Turner Classic Movies.  It left me in awe, not only the beautiful cinematographer’s shots of Scotland, but the strong plot, the  wonderful acting, it all  left me wondering why can’t Hollywood make as many good movies like this one anymore?  Even famed American director Martin Scorsese has  declared this film one of his favorites!   I Know Where I’m Going! was written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the creative British movie magic makers at The Archers, their production company.  The movie was a large box office hit in Great Britain.   It is available to rent via Netflix, via Amazon’s instant rent it section or for purchase, and it does appear on Turner Classic Movies from time to time, and someone has put parts of it up on Youtube.  Don’t miss this wonderful romance film and  it is a movie that I don’t mind watching over and over again.

My post today has been for Classic Film and TV Cafe’s Annual Classic Movie Day: Comfort Movies.  A comfort movie is one you love to see over and over again, maybe when you’re feeling ill and need a day of rest on the sofa, or you need a movie to perk you up, or just because it’s a film that you never tire of watching.  I Know Where I’m Going! is that movie for me.  Be sure to visit CFandTVC’s site to read more Comfort Movies for this, the National Classic Movie Day.


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8 responses to this post.

  1. This is such a marvelous film, a P&P favorite of mine along with “Black Narcissus” and “The Red Shoes.” A wonderful comfort film, I agree. One of my favorite scenes, so evocative and heart-stirring, is that of the ‘ceilidh’ wedding anniversary dance. Just enchanting – as is the entire film and everything about it. Magic.

    Reply

  2. Your choice of comfort movie is perfect and relatable. I was introduced to this movie as a teenager by the Ontario public television station TVO and its influential program, Saturday Night at the Movies. Such a treat. And the greatest punchline of all time!

    Reply

  3. Thanks for the Netflix tip. I’ve never even heard of this movie, even though I claim to be a fan of Powell and Pressburger. I can’t wait to see the cinematography. Thanks in advance!

    Reply

  4. I am a huge Powell-Pressberger fan and this is one of their best. As you wrote, the story and locations are marvelous, but it’s the two fabulous leads that make it such a sublime movie.I strongly recommend it, too.

    Reply

  5. I agree with you completely. I could not keep my eyes off it when I first saw it. Wonderful film.

    Reply

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