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A Canterbury Tale (1944)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,859 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 32 critic

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours... See full summary »

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Title: A Canterbury Tale (1944)

A Canterbury Tale (1944) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Portman ...
Thomas Colpeper, JP
Sheila Sim ...
Alison Smith
...
Peter Gibbs
John Sweet ...
Bob Johnson (as Sergt. John Sweet U.S. Army)
...
Narrator (non-US versions) / Seven-Sisters Soldier / Village Idiot
Charles Hawtrey ...
Thomas Duckett
Hay Petrie ...
Woodcock
George Merritt ...
Ned Horton
Edward Rigby ...
Jim Horton
Freda Jackson ...
Prudence Honeywood
Betty Jardine ...
Fee Baker
Eliot Makeham ...
Organist
Harvey Golden ...
Sergt. Roczinsky
Leonard Smith ...
Leslie
James Tamsitt ...
Terry
Edit

Storyline

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours glue on the hair of girls dating soldiers after dark. The three attempt to track him down, and begin to have suspicions of the local magistrate, an eccentric figure with a strange, mystical vision of the history of England in general and Canterbury in particular. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

glue | village | magistrate | england | soldier | See more »

Taglines:

Four modern pilgrims in a story of today - yet away from war.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Canterbury Tale  »

Box Office

Budget:

$650,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

By 2004, the shop window overlooking the street from which John Sweet watches the parade in the film's final scene (adjacent to the Cathedral) belonged to a Starbuck's. See more »

Goofs

Sgt Bob Johnson says that his father states that a crib made out of Lebonon Cedar, which is good enough for Soloman, is good enough for someone from Johnson County. Earlier Sgt. Johnson stated he was from Oregon. There is no Johnson County in Oregon. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Colpeper, JP: Pity.
Bob Johnson: Pity?
Thomas Colpeper, JP: Pity when you get home and people ask what you've seen in England and you say "Well I saw a movie in Salisbury. And I made a pilgrimage to Canterbury and I saw another one."
Bob Johnson: [laughs] You've got me all wrong. I know that in Canterbury I have to look out for a cathedral.
Thomas Colpeper, JP: Yes do look out for it. It's just behind the movie theatre. You can't miss it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of an Englishman (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Angelus ad Virginem
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard as a peal of bells in the opening titles
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very good!
12 October 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

A wonderful film, as you might expect, from the cinema's greatest directorial duo. It's unique in mood and pace amongst the many Archers films that I've seen. The others move at a brisk pace, going from one plot element to the next. No harm in that, of course. It works very well for films like One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, I Know Where I'm Going!, A Matter of Life and Death and the others. A Canterbury Tale, on the other hand, stops and smells the roses as it leisurely - and semi-plotlessly - strolls through the English countryside on the trail to Canterbury Cathedral. Three young people, an American G.I. named Bob Johnson (Seargant John Sweet), a British soldier, Peter Gibbs (Dennis Price), and a young woman from London, Alison Smith (Sheila Sim), moving to the countryside for work. The all arrive in the small town of Kent on the same train, and they walk together trying to find the hotel. An assailant pops out of nowhere in the impenetrable dark and throws glue all over Alison's hair. Over the next few days they look for "the Glueman." The film doesn't always work, especially concerning the Glueman subplot, which almost seems like it is the plot for most of the movie. The investigation and solution are the weakest scenes in the film. But there are dozens of gorgeous sequences within the film. I especially love the sequence with the children playing war. The film gets especially good during its extended finale, where the three (actually four) main characters go to Canterbury, and their pilgrimages pay off. The three leads are excellent. The fourth main character, the magistrate of Kent, Thomas Colpeper (Eric Portman), is the weakest and I'd just rather forget his role in the film myself. Perhaps he will work better in subsequent viewings. The best aspect of the film is its top shelf cinematography, maybe the best black and white that I've seen from the Archers. A lot of the scenes take place, ingeniously, in total darkness. These work so much better than imaginable! 9/10.


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