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A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 21 January 1949 (USA)
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sheila Sim ...
...
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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Canterbury mesék  »

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

James Tamsitt had a haircut to make him look tidy before he went to London with Leonard Smith and David Todd to do some scenes at Denham Studio. Unfortunately, his new haircut didn't match the unruly mop he had in scenes filmed on location, so he had to wear a wig. See more »

Quotes

Alison Smith: Did you hear the news about last night Mr. Horton?
Jim Horton: There wasn't nothing on the wireless.
Alison Smith: No I didn't mean that sort of news. I meant what happened here last night.
Ned Horton: We get all our local news at 6 o'clock, Miss.
Bob Johnson: You got a local newspaper?
Ned Horton: No. That's when the pub opens.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Arena: A Pretty British Affair (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard as Agnes leaves Bob's bedroom
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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