Torquil Lairds Joan Astray
On face value "I Know Where I'm Going!" is a relative obvious and simple movie, young woman on her way to be married finds herself in the company of another man when her journey is forced to grind to a halt. That idea has been done before in one shape or form and most certainly been done since "I Know Where I'm Going!" was released back in 1945. But "I Know Where I'm Going!" is a Powell and Pressburger movie and whilst that may not mean much to modern audiences does guarantee that this simple story will have a lot more going on that first meets the eye. From style to humour, drama to action "I Know Where I'm Going!" comes alive whilst also challenging your thinking and as such this simple romantic tale becomes something more.
Ever since she was a young child Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller) knew what she wanted and wouldn't stop until she got it and now as a woman she is heading to Scotland to the remote Island of Kiloran to marry wealthy businessman Robert Bellinger. When her journey is forced to come to a halt due to a storm she still has her mind set on making that final boat trip to her intended. But she finds herself in the company of the pleasant Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesey - The League of Gentlemen) Laird of Kiloran and finds her resolve tested as she becomes fond of him leading her to take desperate measure to try and stick to her plan.
After a nicely crafted intro where we learn all about Joan Webster and how from an early age she always knew what she wanted and didn't stop till she got it we get to the main part of the storyline which is Joan heading up to a remote Scottish Island to marry wealthy business man Robert Bellinger. Now what follows is on face value obvious but also entertaining as Joan finds her journey delayed due to bad weather and she finds herself in the company of the congenial Torquil MacNeil. I say obvious because you can guess that whilst Joan has her eyes set on marrying Bellinger she will become attracted to Torquil and likewise he will become fond of her. It's not a criticism as it means that "I Know Where I'm Going!" works on the simplest level of romantic entertainment as we wonder whether Joan will head to Bellinger or stay with Torquil.
But whilst "I Know Where I'm Going!" works at the simplest level there is depth to this story as we watch Joan doggedly stick to her guns, despite having feelings for Torquil. We watch how following her plan becomes more important to her than going with what is right at the time and as such it introduces an element of action and drama as she tries to make the final boat journey despite it being unsafe. This layer of depth nicely reveals itself as whilst we know that Joan is a woman who gets what she wants you do wonder how far she will go to prove herself right or whether she can sort of swallow her pride.
Yet whilst there is this depth Powell and Pressburger go further and create a wonderful tapestry of styles and elements. There is a wonderful dream sequence as Joan travels to Scotland by train and we have the train travelling through a patchwork of Tartan hills. But then there is drama and action with a surprisingly spectacular series of scenes revolving around a boat in the storm. And it doesn't stop there as we have comedy and quirky characters which might not make you laugh but they certainly make you smile. In fact there is so much going on that "I Know Where I'm Going!" deserves a second viewing to pick up on all the various clever elements.
Ironically whilst no one puts in a bad performance the actual acting is the least remarkable thing about "I Know Where I'm Going!". It means that whilst Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesy are both entertaining as Joan and Torquil you don't end up remembering their performances. Although C.W.R. Knight is so purposely over the top as Colonel Barnstaple that it is difficult to forget him.
What this all boils down to is that "I Know Where I'm Going!" is another entertaining Powell and Pressburger movie. Not only does it work as a simple piece of romantic entertainment but it has layers of depth to discover which open themselves up a little bit more each time you watch it.