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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:
Eric Portman ... Thomas Colpeper, JP
Sheila Sim ... Alison Smith
Dennis Price ... Peter Gibbs
John Sweet ... Bob Johnson (as Sergt. John Sweet U.S. Army)
Esmond Knight ... 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 Betty Jardine ... Fee Baker
Eliot Makeham ... Organist
Harvey Golden Harvey Golden ... Sergt. Roczinsky
Leonard Smith Leonard Smith ... Leslie
James Tamsitt 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:

From the Powell-Pressburger team that gave you "Red Shoes" and "Stairway to Heaven" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 January 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Canterbury mesék See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$650,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Alternate Versions

The original UK version runs 124 minutes. For the USA release, the film was re-edited to 95-minutes and new footage starring Kim Hunter inserted:
  • A scene between Bob (John Sweet) and his new bride Kim Hunter on the Rockefeller Center introduces the story which he then tells in flashback.
  • The idyllic scenes with the boys' river battle and much of the hunt for the glue-man is cut with addition scenes or commentary by Bob added to cover the gaps.
  • There is an additional epilogue with Bob and his girl at the tea-rooms in Canterbury.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Days of Heaven (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Bond of Friendship
(uncredited)
Written by John MacKenzie Rogan
March played by the military band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Delightful Gem
2 April 1999 | by Rich-99See all my reviews

Whatever the subject of their films one always knows that the results will be special when Powell and Pressburger are involved. Set in war time England the story follows 4 characters (2 soldiers, a woman and a local magistrate) as they eventually make a modern day pilgrimage to Canterbury. Each has their own personal problem and worry mostly brought on by the war. Their stories intertwine with each other as they become acquainted on their journey. The end results are quite special. The end results were probably dictated by the need for an uplifting movie during the War but the results are neither maudlin or contrived and hold up very well after 50 years. One is tempted to single out individual cast members but this is really an ensemble effort and all, from major to minor roles, are quite simply superb. A real gem.


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