A Canterbury Tale

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Michael Powell's extraordinary film proceeds from the faintly bizarre story of three characters (a land girl, a British sergeant and a US sergeant) who, arriving by the same train in a small Kent village, make friends and set out to unmask the mysterious 'glue man' who pours glue on to the hair of girls out late at night with servicemen. But the film shows a sharp awareness of the tensions underlying a country community in wartime - from rural resentment of the influx of outsiders to more long-term fears of the decay of a traditional social order. An assertion of stability to counterbalance these is provided by Powell's almost mystical sense of historical continuity, epitomised by Canterbury Cathedral and the Pilgrims' Way as captured in Erwin Hillier's lyrical photography. Though infuriatingly difficult to categorise, the film is bold, inventive, stimulating and extremely entertaining.

Release details

Duration: 124 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Screenwriter: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Cast: Eric Portman
Sheila Sim
John Sweet
Dennis Price
Esmond Knight
Charles Hawtrey
George Merritt
Edward Rigby

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:0
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John

A great film, impossible to categorize. There is something mystical about the ending. Today Spielberg might try this kind of thing but wouldn't come close to this authenticity.

John

A great film, impossible to categorize. There is something mystical about the ending. Today Spielberg might try this kind of thing but wouldn't come close to this authenticity.

Frank

First rate. Watched it twice this year. Powell and Hillier: two brilliant moviemakers at work.

Frank

First rate. Watched it twice this year. Powell and Hillier: two brilliant moviemakers at work.