Monday, March 22, 2010

'I Know Where I'm Going!' Open Thread

I reached the point of thinking there were no more masterpieces to discover, until I saw "I Know Where I'm Going!"

Martin Scorsese


  1. Wouldn't you just love to go to a far away place, to sit out a storm, to speak of castles and curses and find good company and a good friend, even if just for a time?

    Aye. So then, it's off to Kiloran.

  2. Okay, my favorite scene was in the ride in the bus! The conversation amongst the islanders and Torquil was so charming, and with young Joan engaged to the 'rich man of Kiloran' sitting by, Torquil was at once both sympathetic to the islanders, while still blunting their criticism and protecting Joan.

    Says one with astonishment:

    "Aye, the 'rich man from Kiloran', he has the finest tackle money can by, but the fish ... do not know him."

    "No" says another, shaking his head sadly, "the fish do not know him."


  3. Oh, Nick, I loved it. I loved it from the start, with the funny, clever titles. I loved that little moment when her father "caught" her, and made her just be herself. I loved the train travel, and the sight of Scotland, and the people. So real -- not "local color" bit parts -- and the singing and dancing at the anniversary party. And Catrina, so natural and accepting, with her great huge dogs, and her old big house, and knowing how much better that was than having money.

    I was glad they didn't feel there was any need to make the fiance a bad guy; and Joan would have been a good wife, but she would have had to keep telling herself it was what she wanted. So "correct", so controlled -- almost all the time -- but being really rich just isn't as good as being really alive.

    I would have found it awfully difficult to overlook Joan's selfishness, though, desperate though she was, in "buying" Kenny to take her in the boat. But it is a movie -- one has to have some sort of cards-on-the-table crisis, and she did acquit herself reasonably well in the storm.

    OK, man's perspective time: why would Catrina's saying "She's running away from you" prompt Torquil to help Joan go out in the boat to Kiloran?

    But, as you may have gathered, I do like a happy ending -- this was quite satisfying in that regard -- I loved their meeting at the cursed castle. Complete with pipers!

    Have you ever been? (To Scotland, I mean.) These images are from such a long time ago, but they create such a longing.

  4. Oh! And I've just seen your comment about the bus scene. Yes, it was so neatly done: We see him willing her not to take it too hard, and her, trying so hard not to feel the truth in the local folks' appraisal of her somewhat foolish fiance.

  5. Cathy, I love reading your comments.

    As to your question, yes, that is clear as day. You see, we are not so perceptive, by and large, so Joan's insistence to leave and get away to Kiloran was seen by Torquil as the result of a blindly stubborn person utterly unwilling to see things as they are, and moreover utterly rejecting the life and love he was hoping she would find intriguing. To realize that it was exactly her desire for him that was causing her to act so unreasonably made things very simple. Of course he would go, to look to protect her, and young Kenny as well. What else could he do?

    Torquil sees Joan as an attractive, spirited young woman, and he is well aware that he will not be reigning her in, as we saw in his ready resignation when he was speaking with the Colonel about hawks, eagles and such early on.

    "What luck might you have in taming a woman?"

    "It can't be done, old boy, can't be done."

    True enough, and a good thing too.

  6. When Bridie confronted Joan in her room, trying to talk her out of putting her fiance's life at risk, and Joan brushed it all aside in a most patronizing way, which Bridie rebuffed haltingly but directly, ah yes, that was a very good moment as well.

    We don't often get dialogue this good these days, nor the character actors on the periphery with depth to them. Even the men waiting for Joan at the train station in Glasgow seemed well done. Yes, it was very fine.

  7. Yes, I liked that, seeing Bridie holding to her ground, speaking to Joan woman to woman, no class distinction silencing her. And then turning for comfort and support to Catrina, who didn't need to say anything to Joan, who was learning some hard truths about herself. (Also, though lighter, the earlier scene when she's writing to her father, acknowledging she's not so independent --although that's not the right word -- as she had believed.)

    Even in the boat, in the middle of that hellacious storm, Joan was still distracted from STAYING ALIVE when her wedding dress went overboard. So hard to break from the habits of a lifetime.

    I think I'll watch it again, to see what else I've nearly forgotten. (But tonight I'll get caught up on LOST. You know, April's new pad would be perfect for that LOST party Wakefield was being wistful about.)

  8. Yeah, take a chair or just sit down on the orange shag carpet and enjoy a Pabst.

    And you were so right about Catrina in the earlier scene - she said so much just standing there watching.

    Once they got out on the water and into the straight, the real danger of a Southwester gale was well apparent. They were really taking their chances trying to get across, and there was Torquil steady and calm, enjoying a tad the difficulty the crossing entailed for Joan, ducking under cover when a wave broke, pipe upside down, while Joan took a deluge over her head. But when the engine flooded they were done for. With the rip coming up what did Torquil say:

    "If we can get the engine restarted we'll stand a dog's chance."

    A dog's chance! And then at the wharf, both Bridie and her father anxiously waiting, and the travelers return at last, with Joan greatly reduced, yet Catrina takes her in and warms her up, and has some very helpful things to say...not judging her, but framing things as an islander would.

    And Cathy, the phone booth along the road with the waterfall in the back ground- perfect. It really exists that way, and is still there today.

    This was good fun!

  9. ... Joan greatly reduced... -- What perfect wording!

    I truly loved Catrina. There is an ancient -wisdom quality to her centered calm. (I want to be like that when I grow up.)

    And I feel badly that I left out the Colonel, and his mission to clear his eagle's good name! He was so funny, without being ridiculous. Neat trick, that.

    In some ways, this movie reminds me of Notting Hill -- the central theme is the love story, but the beautiful richness of the supporting characters is what made it memorable for me.

    And I can't believe that phone booth is real! How did you find out about that?

  10. The Colonel was played by a man who Michael Powell had used as a falconer the year before in his movie A Canterbury Tale, and he had been a Captain in the military, so he was familiar with his role. One of the funniest scenes was Torquil retiring to the living room following their escape from Corybrecken, and who is there but the Colonel, beaming over his bird and bursting to tell Torquil of the great doings he had missed. It killed me when he broke out with the wailing and screeching! Too funny!

    The phone booth and some other information on the Archers and their films I picked up from some documentaries on Michael Powell and the Archers available on the DVD I have. Michael Powell used to love to hike the Scottish Highlands, and he and a couple of friends and a guide would go off for a week at a time and tramp the highlands of Scotland. Fine stuff.

  11. Still up for The Quiet Man? Netflix shows "mine" in Shipping Today status, so I guess it will show up within the next couple of days.