It's not hard to predict the outcome of this saga but getting there is a wonderful journey. Hiller, more famous for playing less pretty elders in later life in the likes of Murder on the Orient Express, is splendid as the softening pragmatist, while Livesey, frequently used by Powell/Pressburger, again embodies a combination of British no-nonsense decency and romanticism. The strongest, most magical presence in the movie, even in black and white, is that of the Scottish scenery, beautiful and volatile and somehow serving to aid and abet the happy ending. --David Stubbs
But stone the crows!!!! the moment Joan arrived on the island and I heard the Gaelic language spoken, as well as the eerie cry of the seals and the first meeting between Joan, Torquil and islanders, I started to drift into the mystical, magical mist of the island.
The movie is funny (eg shouting match between Torquil and Joan on stairs, the colonel and his 'camp' gear and obsession with eagle).
The island landscape, and scenes of the elements WoW!!! (whirlpool scenes, were awsome and gives a fantastic thrill). Its so, so romantic, and I don't just mean Joan and Torquils romance (but how cool can a guy get when he tells you, without telling you directly, that your the one for him, by making his English translation of a Gaelic song the way of getting his feelings across).You end up falling in love with the people and place.
It felt like a fairy tale, yet everyone were your every day people, trying to keep body and soul together,except the wierd, over the top colonel. Its a real down to earth place but it includes belief in 'things'dismissed by óutsiders'as superstition or simply not true. These two elements combined to create the magic for me. I didn't want the movie to end.
I aint ever going to speak ill of black and white movies and óld actors again after seeing this movie.
The story will at first, seem rather quaint and old fashioned to the modern viewer, as will the character's mannerisms and speech, but the film captures a wonderful mythic, fairytale atmosphere, which is both nostalgic and enchanting. It's also a metaphorical love story, a scathing critique of materialism, just as relevant to us today as it was back in the 1940s.
Much of the film is shot on location, using local people as extras - though, incredibly the scenes with Livesey were all done in the studio. Powell's sensitive feel for myth and landscape yields some extraordinarily haunting and beautiful scenes, and the dream sequence is ingenious and delightful - it's a technical masterpiece, admired by all the great directors of today, including Scorcese. A film that will appeal to aspiring movie-makers and those who still have romance in their souls!
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