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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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Submitted by Mark Fuller

A Canterbury Tale

Thursday's World Premiere

Archer Film Corporation's Generosity


From: Unknown Canterbury paper
May 1944


The much looked forward to world première of the new film "A Canterbury Tale" took place at the Friars Theatre, Canterbury, on Thursday before a crowded audience.

     The story of the film is thin but the photography is good and the scenes of the countryside around Canterbury are indeed beautiful. The presence of an American in the cast will make the film for the American market, while the pictures of the interior of Canterbury Cathedral and of the blitzed portions of the city will make a world wide appeal. While the general opinion expressed was surprise, the film being entirely different to what one expected from the title, it will undoubtedly have a long and successful run and especially in the United States and throughout the British dominions and in the British Colonies. Everyone abroad who sees the picture will have a greater desire than ever before to visit the Cathedral and see its glories and from this point of view alone "A Canterbury Tale" should do much to advertise Canterbury if advertisement be needed.

     At Thursday's premiere the Mayor (Alderman C. Lefevre) announced that he had received from the producers, Mr. Michael Powell and Mr. Pressburger, a cheque for 1000 for the furtherance of education for children in the rural areas around Canterbury.

     Mr. Michael Powell (co-producer) pointed out that Odeon Cinemas Ltd. had donated 502 - resultant from the sale of the seats - and the Archer Film Corporation were making up the amount to 1000.

     At the conclusion of the showing of the picture, which takes two hours, Mr R.C.I. Overs (manager of the Friars) introduced Mr Michael Powell, co-producer of the film, to the audience, and he in his turn introduced three of the star artistes, Eric Portman, Sheila Sim and Dennis Price.

     Each received a great ovation. Mr. Powell regretfully announced that owing to military duties Sgt. John Sweet, U.S. Army, would be unable to appear. A murmur of disappointment rose from the audience and Mr. Powell answered; "I agree with you".

     One scene of the film dealt with a combined operations battle between some village boys - and a realistic show they made of it too. The two "Generals" of the armies and the "Commander" of the naval forces, Jimmy Tamsett, Leonard Smith and David Todd, were introduced on stage and received loud applause.

     Miss Sheila Sim was presented with a bouquet of pink carnations from an unknown donor.

     Alderman Lefevre spoke and said it was his very great privilege to be associated with a picture that portrayed the city and its countryside in such a reverent way. On behalf of the city of Canterbury, he thanked Mr Arthur Rank, Mr Overs and all who had helped to make that splendid film such a success.


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