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Joan Webster is an ambitious and stubborn middle-class English woman determined to move forward since her childhood. She meets her father in a fancy restaurant to tell him that she will marry the wealthy middle-aged industrial Robert Bellinger in Kiloran island, in the Hebrides Islands, Scotland. She travels from Manchester to the island of Mull, where she stays trapped due to the windy weather. While in the island, she meets Torquil McNeil and as the days go by they fall in love with each other. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The title, "I Know Where I'm Going," refers to a declaration made by the film's heroine, Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller), a middle-class English girl who's determined to get to the top of the social rung by any means legal. Thus, at the story's outset, we learn she has just become engaged to Sir Robert Bellinger, one of the richest industrialists in Britain. She knows where she's going all right: To the Scottish isle of Killoran, by train and by boat, where her future as Lady Bellinger is to be confirmed in matrimony.
Yet as far as Joan is concerned, Killoran may as well be a distant planet, for either thick fog or a high wind makes it impossible for her to ferry across to Gretna Green. It's as if the atmosphere, something in the climate, or perhaps the old legends and superstitions that proliferate the Highlands are conspiring to keep her from obtaining everything she's ever wanted from the time she was a child.
It's obvious to the Scottish locals that the island of Killoran is highly suspect as the key to Joan's future happiness. Yet she is stubborn, even bribing a boy to pilot a small boat to Killoran in the midst of a huge squall a move that proves nearly fatal. She's determined to get "where she is going," but she's turned away -- by the elements as well as by a slow realization that she has become emotionally attached to a naval officer on leave (Roger Livesey) who she has just encountered.
Michael Powell, the director, keeps things moving at an agreeable pace. There isn't a single wasted motion in this modest little film. The minor characters are memorable: Pamela Brown, as Catriona, who is introduced silhouetted against the gray Northern sky, her hand tethered to a leash restraining dogs as they make their way up a brae; Finley Curray, whose weather-beaten face says more about his salty character than the terse, excellent dialogue he is given; and there's a cameo by a pre-teen Petula Clark.
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