The Watchcast: You Should Know "I Know Where I'm Going!"

Meredith Goldstein returns for the second of our four chats about great movie romances -- this one a windswept classic.

The Watchcast: You Should Know "I Know Where I'm Going!"
Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey in “I Know where I’m Going!”
The Watchcast: You Should Know "I Know Where I'm Going!"

I’m always a little surprised when someone says they haven’t heard of “I Know Where I’m Going!,” the 1945 Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger romance set in the rugged, mystical Scottish Hebrides. It was my mother’s all-time favorite movie, so, for me, it’s always been around — she would have been 22 when it came out, and for her generation I think it held some of the same eldritch appeal as a show like “Outlander” does today (albeit with rather less bodice-ripping). More to the point, “I Know Where I’m Going!” has within it the genetic material of so many romantic comedies and dramas that have followed, then and now and the day after tomorrow: The Proud Heroine, all set to marry the wrong man; the Right Man right there by her side, annoying her while she annoys him until they just say the hell with it and kiss; a Forest of Arden setting whose magic bends the laws of attraction; a wry best friend or two and a gallery of eccentrics to remind the Proud Heroine she’s part of the human race. Plenty of movies before “I Know Where I’m Going!” had some or all of those ingredients, but few filmmakers have been able to suggest the wildness of life bursting through repressed British decorum like Powell, here and in films like ”The Red Shoes,” “Black Narcissus,” and many others.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to do so before listening to the podcast: It’s streaming on the Criterion Channel and available for rent on Amazon. Meredith Goldstein, my former colleague at the Boston Globe and author of the paper’s popular “Love Letters” advice column, watched “I Know Where I’m Going!” for the first time just before we sat down to talk about it, so what you hear is someone in the happy glow of having found a new classic. (And then comparing it, somehow, to the Robert Pattinson-Willem Dafoe movie “The Lighthouse.”) This is the second of our four conversations about movie romances; the first was about the JLo-Ralph Fiennes Cinderella story “Maid in Manhattan,” and the next will be on “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and others in the sub-genre of “magic romances.” The last will be about a foreign language romance, and we’re still dickering about which one. (Suggestions welcome.) We hope you enjoy the discussion.

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