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'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Ever since she was a child, Joan Webster has known where she was going. Single-minded, ambitious and determined, she tells her father that she is engaged to be married to her employer, Sir Robert Bellinger, the head of Consolidated Chemical Industries.

Joan takes the train to Glasgow, from where she is to travel on by car, boat through the Western Isles, another car and finally a ferry from Port Erreig to the remote island of Kiloran, of which her future husband is the Laird. However as she arrives at Port Erreig, the weather turns and she is told the ferry will not be crossing. She meets Naval officer Torquil MacNeil who is visiting on shore leave. Stubbornly waiting for the ferry, she initially rejects to Torquil's suggestion that she stay the night with his friend Catriona Potts. After some time however, she reconsiders, and makes her way to the house, where Torquil introduces her to the Colonel, a falconry enthusiast, and Catriona herself. She learns that Torquil and the Colonel also plan to visit the island.

That night, Torquil, in an adjacent room, talks to Joan through her open window, tells her to count the beams in her room and wish. Joan wishes for a wind to blow the fog away. The next day, Joan wakes to find the fog has indeed gone, but a gale is rising up, making a crossing impossible. Joan agrees to Torquil's suggestion that they move to the Tobermory Hotel. Later, they pass Castle Moy. Torquil explains to her the curse upon the Lairds of Kiloran, who may not enter the castle. Rejecting her offer to enter, Torquil confesses that he is MacNeil, the true Laird of of Kiloran, and that Bellinger has only leased the title. On the bus to Tobermory, she learns that the islanders don't think too highly of Bellinger.

Joan and Torquil make their way to the Coastguard post, where they can contact Kiloran by radio. There she sees a painting depicting the Legend of Corryvreken, which, Torquil explains, concerns the tragic death of a danish prince who was killed in a vast whirlpool which still appears off the coast of Kiloran.

The next day, both Joan and Torquil find themselves separately invited to dinner with the Robinsons, friends of Bellinger. Diplomatically, Torquil pretends not to know Joan. Later, the two visit a ceilidh, celebrating the wedding anniversary of an elderly couple. The atmosphere at the ceilidh is greatly assisted by the presence of three pipers who had been booked by Bellinger for the wedding, but who, like Joan, were stranded. That night, Torquil confesses his love for Joan, who becomes anxious.

The next day, Joan, who is becoming increasingly uncertain of her feelings and desparate to reach Kiloran, bribes the young Kenny - who needs the money to marry his sweetheart Bridie - to ferry her, despite the still unsafe weather. As Torquil accompanies the Colonel in pursuit of a golden eagle, he spies Kenny preparing the boat. Meanwhile, a distraught Bridie pleads with Joan not to make Kenny risk his life. Torquil remonstrates with Joan, but she is unbending. When Catriona suggests to Torquil that Joan is desparate to get away from him because she is in love with him, he decides to go with her and Kenny to Kiloran.

At sea, the boat sails perilously close to the whirlpool of Corryvrekan. Finally, thanks to Torquil's command, they escape the waters and make their way back to Port Erreig. Next day, the weather finally clears, and a cowed and calmer Joan prepares to finally reach Kiloran. As Torquil sees Joan off, they kiss for the first time, after which Torquil makes his way to Castle Moy, and heedless of the curse, decides to enter. As he makes his tour, he remembers the story told to him as a child, of the two lovers killed at the hands of his ancestor, and of the curse placed upon him and all his heirs . As Torquil reads the curse written in stone - that any MacNeil of Kiloran who enters the castle shall not leave a free man but be chained to a woman to the end of his days - Joan returns, fulfilling the curse.