In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s stunningly photographed comedy, romance flourishes in an unlikely place—the bleak and moody Scottish Hebrides. Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman who travels to these remote isles to marry a rich lord. Stranded by stormy weather, she meets a handsome naval officer (Roger Livesey) who threatens to thwart her carefully laid-out life plans. —The Criterion Collection
A one time studio gofer, still photographer, and comic actor, Michael Powell became one of the most celebrated and controversial directors ever to come out of England. Born in Canterbury, Powell became enamored of films while still a teenager and, after a start in the mid-’20s and a stint shooting stills and serving as a co-scenarist with Alfred Hitchcock in the early sound era, Powell broke into directing in low-budget British thrillers and comedies. After directing and writing his first notable movie in 1937, The Edge of the World, he moved to London Films where he began working with Emeric Pressburger, a gifted young author and screenwriter. Their two-decade association began shortly after they left London Films (where they collaborated on The Spy in Black and Powell co-directed The Thief of Bagdad). The wartime thrillers Contraband and Forty-Ninth Parallel, the latter attracted much attention (including Oscar nominations for Best Picture and best original story), resulted in the… read more
The screenwriter half of the Powell/Pressburger team in association with Michael Powell, Hungarian-born Emeric Pressburger was a journalist before coming to films as a screenwriter in the late ‘20s. After working at Germany’s UFA studios for several years, he fled after Hitler’s rise to power and eventually came to England, where he joined London Films as a screenwriter and began his association with Michael Powell, a gifted young English filmmaker. The two worked together on The Spy in Black, and after leaving London Films, formed a filmmaking partnership, known corporately as The Archers, in which they shared joint screenwriter-producer-director credit. Their collaborations together included 49th Parallel, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going, Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death), Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, The Small Back Room, and The Tales of Hoffmann, most of which were extremely successful… read more
Beautiful at parts, but mostly because "Black Narcissus" is basically a remake of "I Know Where I'm Going!", it really tastes like little. "Black Narcissus" has probably the most erotically charged shots ever thought through cinema, even in an art form with such daring creators such as Sternberg or Buñuel. If we recall that that movie is about nuns, how the hell can we even compare "I Know Where I'm Going!"?
The Powell and Pressburger team deliver a magical film in which a determined young woman sets off for the western isles of Scotland to marry a rich older man. However, on the final leg of the journey fog descends and she is left stranded on the mainland where the mysterious ambience of the location begins to have an effect on her. Rather touchingly, Powell chose the music from this film to be played at his funeral...
Strident whimsy. A charming rejection of materialism and the modern world (“Are these people poor?”, “No, they just don’t have much money”, “Isn’t that the same thing?”…) in favour of a belief in… read review
It took me time to get the rhythm of this classic Archers tale. It’s about a woman(elegantly performed by Wendy Hiller) who is set and driven to rise out of her social standing. She goes to the right… read review
Michael Powell has a legitimate claim to be the greatest of the classic British directors. He certainly stands up alongside Hitchcock, Reed and Lean, and it’s because of great films like this. In many… read review