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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 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:

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:

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

Gone with the Wind (1939) author Margaret Mitchell was on her way to see a showing of this film with her husband when she was hit by a speeding car. She was knocked out, and died five days later, having never recovered consciousness. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Colpeper, JP: [hidden in the tall grass] Glorious, isn't it?
Alison Smith: [startled] Is anybody there?
Thomas Colpeper, JP: [standing] It's a real voice you heard. You're not dreaming.
Alison Smith: You know, just now I - I heard sounds.
Thomas Colpeper, JP: What sounds did you hear?
Alison Smith: Horses' hooves, voices, and a lute. Or an instrument like a lute. Did you hear anything?
Thomas Colpeper, JP: Those sounds come from inside, not outside. Then only when you're concentrating, when you believe strongly in something. Just now I was concentrating on who was coming up the hill to disturb me.
Alison Smith: Disturb you? At ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Days of Heaven (1978) 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

 
"Happy The Man ..." is me after watching this
30 May 2004 | by SpondonmanSee all my reviews

After a dozen viewings or so I still rate this as one of my Top 20 favourites, the passing of time doesn't seem to lessen its brilliance, if anything it improves with age. The Carlton budget DVD out at the moment makes the black and white photography gleam even more now, so I wonder why the BBC have always shown such an inferior copy.

ACT is a pleasant inconsequential masterpiece, with no heavy points to labour, no axes to grind and for wartime not too many flags to wave. But it leaves you wishing that Olde England could've been better preserved from the elected savages in charge of us since, and that perhaps it wasn't so surprising that people were ready to defend such a country and its lifestyles to the death. The only thing Chaucer inspired in me in all of his tales was the desire to reach the end of the journey.

The story? Mysterious fetishist keeps pouring glue onto unsuspecting girls heads at night - 3 intrepid souls determine to find and unmask the weirdo, but vacillate when their moment comes. The four main characters weave in and out of the tale, moving it forward gently to the rather grand climax. But what about the Glueman himself - did he go back home to his reprehensible pastime or did he meet a sticky end? Did Bob get his marijuana? Did they manage to get the moths out of Allison's caravan? Did Peter ever stop playing on his organ?

Refreshing: 1/ A platonic relationship between three handsome men and one beautiful woman. 2/ The most violent scene is where the troops burst out clapping the Sgt. who repaired the slide projector. 3/ A basic plot premise so flimsy and yet so captivating.

A most profitable way of spending two hours.


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