An ambitious middle-class woman (Wendy Hiller) from Manchester travels to the Hebrides, where she is planning to marry a significantly older, wealthy industrialist man. However, a storm prevents her from reaching her fiancé’s island, and she gets stuck in a nearby village, where she familiarises herself with the local life and meets a young Naval officer (Roger Livesey), after which she starts weighing out her original plan.
The plot may not sound like anything special, but everything else in the hands of Powell and Pressburg is pure magic, because their brilliance lies in the overtones of their original and oddball execution. Their hectic and punchy style steers clear of that stale and dried up Britishness, in which each and every cut appears to be lethargically leaning towards the next teatime. Therefore, it is no surprise that Martin Scorcese considers I Know Where I’m Going a masterpiece to the highest degree and has perhaps stolen (with the help of his editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who married Powell in 1984) much for his own films’ nervously energetic whirlpools of montage from these sources. Raymond Chandler also understood the essence of the film, as he once elegantly put it:
”I’ve never seen a picture which smelled of the wind and rain in quite this way nor one which so beautifully exploited the kind of scenery people actually live with, rather than the kind which is commercialised as a show place.”