Sunday 21 January 2018

On Blu-ray - David Hare finds a new French edition of the Powell & Pressburger classic I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (UK, 1945)

Elephant's new Blu-ray from France of Powell and Pressburger's fabulous I Know Where I'm Going released as Je sais où je vais. Click on the images to enlarge them.
First screen (above) is la Hiller on the train about to sink into one of Powell's craziest fantasy dream montages as she hurtles on to what she believes will be her redemption and her true destiny. Little does she know. What an adventure, not least discovering the comely Roger Livesey in a kilt, the sublimely liberated Pamela Brown with her wolfhounds and the Corryvreckan whirlpool. This is my all-time fave black and white P&P. It also contains one of my all time favorite music scores by Allan Gray who also scored Sans Lendemain, as well as a number of other 40s P&P's.
Second screen (above) shows a big fat cigarette burn reel marker, which is a fairly typical indicator of the ongoing minor but persistent print damage in this new source. Elephant appears to have used a UK 35mm fine grain (at a guess) which is certainly far ahead of the older Criterion from ten odd years ago for black levels, detail and contrast. It is indeed a lovely thing to watch.
But this is in no way or form a restoration, given the sheer volume of fine tramline scratches, dirt, debris, and the above noted cigarette burns. The film still needs a major full scale photo-chemical restoration like the one done several years ago for A Canterbury Tale

So think twice before ordering and paying for those hefty French Amazon postage fees. If you can get it across the pond for a couple of quid and you're a fan like me it's a no brainer. I sort of didn't even really mind all that much forking out 53 NZ bucks for a better version of something I love so much.

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