wendy hiller


Favorite Film Couples:
Joan Webster and Torquil MacNeil 
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945) Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Separate Tables (1958). The stories of several people are told as they stay at a seaside hotel in Bournemouth which features dining at “Separate Tables.”

This is a sweetly made film, tender with it’s cast and it’s characters, and featuring a compelling, overlapping structure that really sets it apart from a lot of the films being made at the time. It helps that it’s wonderfully shot, acted and unravelled. It’s a really solid movie. 7.5/10.


Not-lead characters that I adore beyond reason: An Advent Calendar

Day 18: Catriona Potts (Pamela Brown) in I Know Where I’m Going! [1945]

From her first wild entrance to her last affectionate farewell, Catriona is just flipping awesome. Not only does she rock the chunky knit/tartan skirt/walking boots/wet dog look to perfection, but she’s fierce and clever, practical and romantic, independent and welcoming. Basically she’s all-round kickass.

She’s also a bit of grit in the oyster for the story: another person for Joan to spark off. She’s more frank than Torquil, and less concerned about upsetting Joan, and because of that she’s incredibly effective at showing Joan that there’s another way of living; because it’s not just Torquil that Joan fights against finding attractive, it’s the way the islanders live and view the world that draws her in against her will as well.

I don’t know whether it’s the script or the actors’ chemistry (both, I suspect, although I reckon Emeric’s script would have had the usual lovely details) but the other great joy of Catriona is the sense of the history she has with Torquil. There’s an ease but also a strong affection (which is another nudge to Joan), and it gives the characters real depth in a few broad strokes. I would love to sit in front of the fire and have a wee dram with Catriona.

Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle in the great confrontation scene at the climax of Pygmalion  (Anthony Asquith & Leslie Howard, 1938)

I’m having a Wendy Hiller moment tonight. She’s fantastic in this film. She’s fantastic in all of her films (there aren’t too many of them, though).


Pygmalion (1938)

The scene in which Eliza accidentally swallows a marble whilst having an elocution lesson does not appear in the original play. During rehearsals for this scene a pained expression came over Wendy Hiller’s face; when she spat out the marbles she had in her mouth she said: “Leslie, I’ve swallowed one!” to which Leslie Howard replied “Never mind there are plenty more”. This caused such amusement among the watching crew that it was added to the film.