Archive for July 22nd, 2014


© 2014 by James Clark


    Emeric Pressburger, of the British filmmaking team, along with Michael Powell, known as the Archers, has been quoted as emphasizing that a film should have “a little bit of magic…” Though their team name implies precision, straight to the point, shooting, there was from out of their shooting range (so long ago) one memorable treatment of the seemingly crystal clear subject of romance, namely, I Know Where I’m Going (1945), that can, I’m sure, validly lay claim to conjuring real magic.

Let’s dip into its handsomely filmed black and white nuances of a Hebrides location and of London-studio-based interiors, to begin with one of the protagonists, Joan, and her War-era-styled ocelot-skin-patterned hat. There’s a war going on—most of the patrons of the first scene’s upscale restaurant are in uniform—but you’d never know it from Joan’s cracking the whip in the direction of her bank manager/father, to fork over her liquid assets on behalf of a sojourn to Scotland, where she’s scheduled to be married to the owner of Consolidated Chemical Industries (“Did you bring my money?”). As played by Wendy Hiller, an expert in transmitting peppy chain reactions, Joan goes on from letting her dad in on the happy event—rather late; and he’s not invited—to ordering drinks and demanding that he, the picture of Cromwellian asceticism, dance with her. “Come on, Daddy!” (He had, according to her [in a timid rebelliousness on being somehow touched by a rapidly and confusedly rebranding world], taught her to dance.) Her embodying an ebullient and stunning big cat (with a rich twinkle in her eyes and plush dimples) barely manages to say good-bye to her parent, who had accompanied her to a First Class compartment on the Scottish Night Train (“The Night Scotsman”), so absorbed does she become with “Hunter,” her fiancé’s rep in charge of travel plans. “I managed to prevent them from putting you over the wheel,” he reports (a useful lieutenant to her warrior Maid). We learn by a series of brief flashbacks that she had very early on acquired a taste for exceptional sensuous stimulation—as a 5-year-old she told Santa, by mail, “I want a pair of silk stockings, and I don’t mean artificial.” (more…)

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