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Guest Post on Chronically Vintage

Guest Post on Chronically Vintage

Dear Reader, I am so thrilled to be writing a guest post on Chronically Vintage. When Jessica invited me I said “yes” straight away. 

My first thought was to write about another aspect of my vintage life which is my love of classic film. So welcome today to this post.


An Appreciation of the Classic Film

“I Know Where I’m Going”


Do you watch “old” or “classic” films? Do you collect DVD’s of great films?  I have so enjoyed blogs which feature wonderful films from the 1930’s- 1960’s.  My own taste spans from 1930’s to modern days.  I like silent films to but love to hear the stars talking!  The Hollywood musicals are also firm favourites.


I like nothing more than settling down with a hot drink and a great film.  It is a marvellous way to relax and step out of the busy life and be taken up by the story.


Films from the 1940’s are interesting too because of the authentic fashions, social conventions and as a window into a time when life was extremely challenging because of world events.

Dear Reader, I found this film a few years ago and it is now a firm favourite. At home we take the “Radio Times”, every week.  This long running publication records the weeks TV and Radio programmes.  Selected films that will be shown that week are also reviewed.  There is a film critic called Barry Norman who is very knowledgeable about all genres and writes well.


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He reviewed this film in the RT and wrote about it in such glowing terms that I wanted to see it.  It was given 5 white stars, the highest accolade and Barry Norman has ranked this film in his top 100 films of all time.  Once I had watched it, I wanted my own copy so I could watch it again (and repeat the experience!).



It is Written, Produced and Directed by Michael Powell (1905 – 1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902 -1988) they also made The Red Shoes (1948) and A matter of Life and Death (1946) and it is their fourth collaboration.  They called themselves The Archers and referred to the film as IKWIG.  It was made in 1945 in black and white because all the colour film had been requisitioned by the Air Force for training films.  The screenplay was written in six days, developed from an idea that Powell and Pressburger had been thinking about for some time.



This film is a romantic love story with most of the film set in the Western Isles of Scotland.  There is a legend, a curse and a number of romantic castles and a phone box next to a waterfall (that makes hearing the phonecall impossible!)

The thrust of the story is that the 25 year old heroine Joan Webster is travelling from Manchester to the Isle of Kiloran to marry a rich industrialist, Sir Robert Bellinger, who is old enough to be her father and is the Laird.  She will become Lady Bellinger, having the materially rich life she has chosen for herself.  She is sure having money is the key to her future happiness.  Joan is so single minded in her pursuit of this goal that when she is forced to wait on the Isle of Mull because of a storm she risks her life and the lives of others too trying to reach Kiloran in a small boat.

Joan meets a young naval officer Torquil MacNeil who is also trying to reach Kiloran on 8 days shore leave. They are compelled to wait on Mull.  She learns that Torquil is in fact the true Laird of Kiloran and her fiancé is renting the title, from him.  They start to fall in love with each other as MacNeil of Kiloran is a gentle and patient man who is at ease in his environment, and is wise and calm.  Joan is a city girl desperate to get to Kiloran but she is challenged by her time with MacNeil and struggles to see that the life she thinks she wants could be so limited and empty without true love.




An eye-catching vintage movie poster for I know Where I’m Going starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey. {Image source.}


My favourite quotation from the film, is where MacNeil points out a big difference to Joan.  It struck me on first viewing and catches me every time I see the film.


The two leading characters are played by Wendy Hiller (1912 -2003) and Roger Livesey (1906 -1976).   Their performances are strong and so engaging.  I found Joan rather unlikeable but Wendy Hiller showed her struggles so powerfully that I warmed to her as the story unfolded.  Roger Livesey as MacNeil of Kiloran was handsome, charming and wise – I think I fell a little in love with him too!  He looked dashing in his naval uniform and so at home in his kilt!



{MacNeil looking elegantly dapper in his classic Scottish kilt. Image source.}

At the start of her journey Joan appears in the most wonderful suit. It has a slightly A-line skirt that reaches to just below the knee and a hip length jacket and is beautifully tailored to fit perfectly.


She is wearing the most glamorous tilt hat in leopard print and has a matching large envelope clutch bag. On her left lapel she is sporting a big brooch as her only jewellery apart from the enormous diamond ring that shows she is engaged to “one of the richest men in Britain”.  Over her suit and simple top Joan has a wool overcoat that is waisted with a fuller skirt.  The coat and skirt lengths are just right together and of course the hat and matching bag look wonderful too.



{MacNeil looking elegantly dapper in his classic Scottish kilt. Image source.}


During the film she has super pyjamas and a very 1940’s housecoat waisted , of course with a tie belt and wide stripped lapels.  Her travelling clothes are understated and so elegant.

She has with her two leather suitcases. One of the cases holds her silk wedding dress which she takes out and hangs up as she is heading towards Scotland overnight by train.  It is lovely and is probably made from parachute silk!

Joan is excited and so assured that she has her life mapped out. Her clothes are expensive – probably all paid for by Sir Robert Bellinger who had contacts to get round clothing coupons and rationing.


This film has inspired me dear Reader to try a matching hat and muff and a leopard print collar and matching muff to wear with A/W suits. I am looking forward to bringing them out later at the end of September.


I hope you will enjoy this film as much as I have. When I watch it again I am going to keep my eye on Roger Livesey.  This is because he was in a stage play in London at the time of filming and never went to Scotland!  A double was used of all the shots of him there and with careful editing his close up scenes were all filmed in a studio in London. “I’m not sure, but I think it was one of the cleverest things I did in movies,” Michael Powell recalled.  I have only just discovered this researching for this post!  I will be watching very carefully…


It has been such a pleasure to write this post about “I Know Where I’m Going”, a favourite film of mine. I am hoping to share with you more wonderful classic films on Gloriously Vintage in the future!  Thank you again to Jessica,  for this guest post opportunity.

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