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Lured (Stromberg; United Artists), an agreeable, tongue-in-cheek murder mystery by Leo Rosten, enlists an American taxi-dancer (Lucille Ball) in the service of Scotland Yard (Charles Coburn). A maniacal killer of women, at large in London, lures his victims through want ads. It is Miss Ball's precarious business to follow up all ads that seem to promise danger. One of her narrow squeaks is Boris Karloff, a decaying impresario who turns out to be mad as a hatter. In the course of her researches she also tangles with some shady characters who ship girls to South America, with a highly suspect wolf (George Sanders) and with his mousy associate (Sir Cedric Hardwicke). The picture is too busy with laughs to worry much about chills, but no one ought to complain about that.
I Know Where I'm Going (Rank; Prestige) doesn't even try to be a great movie, but it is a very good one in its charming, unpretentious way. It was written, directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (out of J. Arthur Rank's pocket, of course), who made Colonel Blimp and Stairway to Heaven.
The story: an imperious English girl (Wendy Hiller), very sure of what she wants out of life, is sure that she wants to marry one of England's richest men. The wedding day is set; they are to marry on an island he has leasedKiloran, off the Scottish coast. She has only to get there; her itinerary, like everything else in her life, is planned to the minute. But neither Nature nor True Love sees it quite her way.
Nature sends a fog, and strands her on the nearby island of Mull. When she prays for a wind to lift the fog, she prays up a gale that frustrates her for several days more. True Love, meanwhile, takes every gentlemanly advantage. An impoverished laird (Roger Livesey), who owns Kiloran, squires her all over the beautiful island, and deep among the equally attractive natives. Their Scottish virtues, and his own, get implacably under her hide. Her struggle to keep her will and her pride on their course involve her and the laird in a thrilling piece of melodrama. She never does get to Kiloran. But she does find out where she is going.
The love story develops, deftly and gently, not between the customary movie paper dolls, but between two sympathetic, strongly individualized human beings, beautifully embodied by Miss Hiller and Mr. Livesey. It is no mere ripening towards a clinch. Before she is capable of love, the heroine has come of age by learning how much better a woman she is than she had ever realized. In the course of watching her grow up, Messrs. Powell & Pressburger achieve, unobtrusively, a remarkable study of a place and a people. This study is never quaint, traveloguish, educational or condescending.
The film is an achievement in civilized comedy; even in its grave and noble moments it preserves a graceful, tender gaiety.