Previously at the ICA - Films

Still: Dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, UK 1950

The White Review: Brian Dillon introduces Gone to Earth

25 Oct 2012

Gone to Earth is based on Mary Webb's melodramatic novel of 1917: the tale of a wild-natured young woman (played by Jennifer Jones) torn between the love of a meek Baptist minister (Cyril Cusack) and the local squire (David Farrar). Several of Powell and Pressburger's better known films — especially A Canterbury Tale and I Know Where I'm Going — are in thrall to a mystical view of British landscape. In Gone to Earth, that magic and Romanticism are weirdly lurid and over-stated; the film imputes an absurd degree of eroticism and energy to the Shropshire countryside where it was shot. It's an oddity, even an embarrassment, among Powell and Pressburger's films - compromised by co-producer David O. Selznick's obsessive relationship with Jones. But at a time when so many British artists and writers — from Tacita Dean to Robert Macfarlane — are revisiting Romantic conceptions of landscape, it's also a fascinating instance of a postwar picturesque.

Dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, UK 1950, 110 mins, Cert PG.

Cast: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack. 

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