“When Joan was only one year old, she already knew where she was going.”
When heavy storms prevent a headstrong young woman (Wendy Hiller) from reaching her wealthy fiance on a remote Scottish isle, she gets to know the nearby locals — including naval officer Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesey).
Directorial partners Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made many highly regarded films together, including Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and Peeping Tom (1960). However, this fable-like romance — co-starring Wendy Hiller (Pygmalion, 1938) and strange-voiced Roger Livesey (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, 1943) — remains the most charming of them all, telling the simple yet effective tale of a willful woman who gradually learns to trust her heart rather than her head, all while being seduced by the magic of the Scottish isles. The b&w cinematography is truly stunning, making this romantic gem both a visual and narrative delight.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Wendy Hiller as the headstrong heroine
- Roger Livesey as Hiller’s would-be love interest
- Haunting, high-contrast cinematography
- Creative opening titles
- Many whimsical visuals, as when Hiller dreams of the Scottish hills covered in tartan plaid
Yes. This romantic fable is one of Powell and Pressburger’s most enjoyable movies, and should be seen by all film fanatics.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)