*1945 romance film by the British-based filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
“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.” —Raymond Chandler, Letters.
“…Pressburger suggested that (instead) they make a film that was part of the “crusade against materialism”, a theme they had tackled in A Canterbury Tale, only in a more accessible romantic comedy format.
The story was originally called The Misty Island. Pressburger wanted to make a film about a girl who wants to get to an island, but by the end of the film no longer wants to. Powell suggested an island on Scotland’s west coast. He and Pressburger spent several weeks researching locations and decided on the Isle of Mull.
Pressburger wrote the screenplay in four days. “It just burst out, you couldn’t hold back,” he said.
One of the most complex scenes shows the small boat battling the Corryvreckan whirlpool (see image above). This was a combination of footage shot at Corryvreckan between the Hebridean islands of Scarba and Jura, and the Gray Dogs (Bealach a’Choin Ghlais) between Scarba and Lunga.
Susanna Rustin wrote in August 2011 about reading for the first time, twenty years earlier in her life, Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse (1927):
“…So this was modernism…
Famously, To the Lighthouse is (also) a book about Woolf’s parents – about the huge hole that opened in her world when her mother died, and about the way her father imposed himself and his grief upon his daughters. Mrs Ramsay is at the heart of Woolf’s novel. Then she is gone, and the survivors must bear her absence. This is the plot of To the Lighthouse.
This became fascinating to me as I learned more about Woolf’s life, reading her diaries, and biographies that explored the relationship between her mental illness and her history of bereavement.
None of which makes To the Lighthouse sound like a book anyone but an eager undergraduate would want to pack in their suitcase. The Hebridean island setting, the company of old family friends, the rhythms and routines the characters adopt to pass the days, can all seem like so much incidental detail in a grand literary experiment.
But they are not. To the Lighthouse really is a book about holidays – a book about family holidays and the particular intensity of getting away from it all with the people who mean most to you, especially when you are in the middle of growing up. If you, like the two youngest Ramsay children in the novel’s final section (and like me – both the first time I read the novel and again next week) are going on holiday with your parents, take it with you.”