“I Know Where I’m Going” (You-Tube or Criterion Channel)

Even if you don’t like old movies, you might want to check out this relatively ignored British gem released in 1945. It’s a romance with rom-com overtones, but the setting and themes give it depth. Filmed on the Isle of Mull we get to see the Western Isles Hotel in Tobermory, Duart Castle, Torosay Castle and the ruin of Moy Castle at Lochbuie. Maybe you haven’t heard of these places, but you may well want to after watching the film. The plot line goes something like this: Joan, a spoiled middle-class young woman travels from Manchester, England to the Inner Hebrides where she is to be married to a man the age of her father, the “third richest man in England”. The last leg of the journey requires a stop at the Isle of Mull where needs to be transported by small boat to the island her wealthy fiance has rented for the wedding. The weather is terrible: rain and gales, and she is forced to remain on Mull until the weather pattern passes. But Joan is determined to accomplish her marriage goal by any means–it’s her life plan to marry rich. If you are prone to seasickness take a dramamine before watching the cinematographically remarkable scene where in spite of all warnings she is attempting to make the crossing. Part of this desperation is her need to escape the pull of the love interest of the film, Torquil, a British naval officer and Mull native. One of the underlying themes addresses, no doubt, the war induced deprivation and poverty–it’s not just happenstance that her intended is a wealthy industrialist. When Joan remarks that the townspeople are “poor”, Torquil corrects her by saying “they aren’t poor, they just haven’t any money. That’s not the same thing.” Gaellic dialogue, the Glasgow Choir, Scottish folk dancing, kilts, ancient curses. Relax and enjoy, have a hot toddy, preferably imported from Ledaig Distillery (Tobermory) Ltd, Isle of Mull.

4 Comments

  1. “I Know where I’m Going” factoid: the precocious daughter of the pretentious Robinsons, was played by Petula Clark (in 1945 she was probably 12) — spotted her name in the credits. LOVED the film for its Gaelic spirit, for the wonderful sea-gales and malevolent whirlpool, for the golden eagle…I could go on… Completely unbelievable ending — but who cares!

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  2. I know!! I saw her name in the credits, but thought it couldn’t be the same one. I looked her up. She’s still alive, 88 but don’t know if she’s still singing “Downtown”

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