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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Submitted by Mark Fuller


By: Our Film Critic

From: Liverpool Daily Post
10 May 1944

London, Tuesday - Michael Powell's new film "A Canterbury Tale" (Odeon) has many merits; an exquisite opening with a voice reading Chaucer's Prologue while the pilgrims amble through the forest; a stirring close, soldiers marching to service in Canterbury Cathedral; and a great deal of loving photography of the English countryside and crafts.

     All the more irritating then that the tale itself on which all this is strung should be an excessively silly sort of detective-hunt. Somebody in a Kentish village has been throwing glue at girls after dark and a land-girl, a British sergeant and a visiting American constitute themselves sleuths and track him down. The denouement is more than silly, it is actively mischievous with its suggestion that someone who cares deeply for the countryside and its history is at the same time liable to prove a crack-brained nuisance.

     Eric Portman does his dignified best with an impossible part. Sheila Sim, Dennis Price and a real United States sergeant called John Sweet are fresh and likeable as the young things. But surely the war has brought Mr Powell enough valid human problems to choose from without having to manufacture this sort of stuff? - or, if he was really stuck for a story why not have gone to his much- quoted Chaucer whose idea of a plot, if not always proper, was invariably sensible and robust.

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