The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Time Out review

A Canterbury Tale
(1944, GB, 124 min b/w)
director / producer / screenplay Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
director of photography Erwin Hillier
editor John Seabourne
production design Alfred Junge
music Allan Gray

Cast: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, John Sweet, Dennis Price, Esmond Knight, Charles Hawtrey, George Merritt, Edward Rigby

Michael Powell's extraordinary film proceeds from the faintly bizarre story of three characters (a land girl, a British sergeant and a US sergeant) who, arriving by the same train in a small Kent village, make friends and set out to unmask the mysterious 'glue man' who pours glue on to the hair of girls out late at night with servicemen. But the film shows a sharp awareness of the tensions underlying a country community in wartime - from ruralresentment of the influx of outsiders to more long-term fears of the decay of a traditional social order. An assertion of stability to counterbalance these is provided by Powell's almost mystical sense of historical continuity, epitomised by Canterbury Cathedral and the Pilgrims' way as captured by Erwin Hillier's lyrical photography. Though infuriatingly difficult to categorise, the film is bold, inventive, stimulating and extremely entertaining.

Allan T Sutherland

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