7.7/10
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A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 21 January 1949 (USA)
Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Peter Gibbs
...
Bob Johnson (as Sergt. John Sweet U.S. Army)
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Narrator (non-US versions) / Seven-Sisters Soldier / Village Idiot
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Thomas Duckett
Hay Petrie ...
Woodcock
...
Ned Horton
Edward Rigby ...
Jim Horton
...
Prudence Honeywood
Betty Jardine ...
Fee Baker
...
Organist
Harvey Golden ...
Sergt. Roczinsky
Leonard Smith ...
Leslie
James Tamsitt ...
Terry
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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 »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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 Starbucks. See more »

Quotes

[Lost in a heavily bombed Canterbury]
Passer-by: It is an awful mess, I don't blame you for not knowing where you are. But you get a very good view of the Cathedral now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Days of Heaven (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Commando Patrol
(uncredited)
Written by Allan Gray, Stan Bowsher, and Walter Ridley
Heard in the background during Johnson and Gibbs's scene in the lobby of the Hand of Glory
See more »

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User Reviews

A deep & entertaining study
14 October 1999 | by (New Delhi, India) – See all my reviews

This is a multilayered, erudite, passionate exploration of England's national character. The route Powell and Pressburger take for this rather difficult task is to follow John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'. During the second war a group of disparate people are thrown together one night at a deserted railway platform in Kent. Using a plot device of a mysterious, though harmless, assailant who preys upon women, P & P examines English country life, the Englishman's love for nature, the idisyncracies, the distrust of foreigners, the 'pubbing', the resilience, the faith in institutions (the church, the gentry), etc.

The scope of the movie is amazing, and in 2 hours it covers enormous ground. The entire thing is so skillfully and assuredly done that in spite of the absence of any stars and (almost) of a story, and the fact that John Bull is never my companion of choice in any desert island, I was riveted to this movie. Besides the acting, this effect was achieved also by Alfred Junge's brilliant art direction (I couldn't believe the Canterbury church was just a set) and William Hillier's black and white photography. Two scenes stand out - a bird 'turning into' an airplane signifying time going on ahead by a few centuries, and an armoured car breaking through bushes and undergrowth (a very 'Predator'-ish shot).

This is a must see.


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