A Canterbury Tale (1944)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

United Kingdom, 1944.  The Archers.  Screenplay by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by

A young American G.I. on furlough (, who was in reality an American G.I. with no acting experience) travelling through England accidentally gets off at the wrong station on his way to visit the tourist attractions at Canterbury. Disembarking in a tiny town in the middle of the night, he happens across a young woman, herself just arrived to be a land girl, who is attacked in the dark by a man dumping hot glue in her hair. Upon speaking to the police they find out that this has happened a few times to villagers in the area and so far no one has been able to figure out who the culprit really is.

The film centres on the relationships that develop between the three protagonists and the residents of the town they’re visiting, and in the end they all travel to Canterbury together to see if miracles really will happen for them the way they did in Chaucer’s famous tale. Beautifully shot and excellently written, this isn’t a crown jewel in the Powell-Pressburger team’s oeuvre, but it is a worthy installment.

The Criterion Collection:  #341

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