Friday, August 03, 2007

True Love

If last week is to go by, Longing, Loving And Leg-Overs: The Story Of British Romance, the second slice of the great steaming loaf called British Film Forever is probably not worth the effort, unless you like a long stream of inane drivel. Where the BBC has got it right is in the films selected to make up the themed afternoon double-bill.

I Know Where I’m Going! and The Red Shoes are amongst the best films made by the extraordinary creative partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger during the 1940s. Released in 1945, I Know Where I’m Going! continued the themes of characters’ spiritual relationship to the land that had been key to the duo’s previous film, A Canterbury Tale, which is being shown later in the season. Away from the Kent countryside of Powell’s birthplace, I Know Where I’m Going! relocates to the wilds of Scotland where it is infused with an added dimension of Celtic Mysticism and folklore.

Watch the first couple of minutes to see how Powell & Pressburger establish Wendy Hiller’s determined and driven Joan Webster in the bravura extended title sequence. With the final leg of her journey north is delayed, as bad weather denies her the opportunity to make the crossing to the Hebridean isle of Kiloran, she changes from someone who knows exactly what she wants in life through the realization that life has so much more to offer.

While I Know Where I’m Going! doesn’t have anything like the celebrated jump cut that opens A Canterbury Tale, there are enough of their trademark visual flourishes, especially in the opening sequence when it comes time for Joan to change trains in Glasgow. Oh, and after you become entranced by Erwin Hiller’s remarkable cinematography, remember this: Because he was committed to appearing in a play on the West End at the same time as filming his part of Torquil MacNeill, Roger Livesey never set one foot in Scotland.

As for The Red Shoes, it is simply a masterpiece. And that’s all that needs to be said.


At 8:28 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

oooh Red Shoes. When it is on exactly?

At 9:05 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

BBC2, 2:25pm tomorrow. IKWIG! is on before it, starting at 1:00pm.

Before you head home, you should head into a DVD store and treat yourself to the Criterion Collection discs of both them and the other Powell & Pressburger films.

At 11:24 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

aw. i'll miss it then. i've taken the car back now... and it's too hot to walk anywhere - have just walked back from the car hire place and i'm DRENCHED.

nice. never mind i can get them off lovefilm.


At 11:26 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Actually, I watched IKWIG! last night. And The Red Shoes will probably bring back memories I'd rather forget. So I'm probably going to walk up the hill to the park and take a notepad with me and write.


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