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.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

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Submitted by Mark Fuller

A Canterbury Tale (Odeon)

By Richard Winnington

From: News Chronicle
13 May 1944

Because they represent the only consistent unification of script, production and direction in British films, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger arouse expectancy and generally arrive at something different and individual.

     Their besetting weakness - lack of coherent purpose in their stories - is more pronounced than ever in this their latest product, which is also the first offering to the world of J.A. Rank's Eagle-Lion Distributors Company.

     Through the fog of a confused and at times vaguely unpleasant story can be seen a steady though dim flicker of what I think was the main idea of Powell and Pressburger - to endow an accidental war-time excursion to Canterbury with the hushed, bated magic of the Pilgrims' Way, to link in mystic suggestion the past and the present.

     And in an odd untidy sort of way they infuse a lyric feeling into the pastoral progression of their film.

     This quality of poetry is not entirely due to first-rate and refreshing photographic compositions of the Kentish landscape, or the "village pageant" sequences of Chaucer's pilgrims, or the reading of part of his prologue with a modern bit added, or as I have suggested, to the story.

     This mostly concerns Eric Portman as a J.P. in the questionable practice of throwing glue in girls' hair. Why? To keep them away from soldiers on general moral grounds and specifically and privately to reserve the troops as the undistracted audience of his lantern lectures.

     This murky, unexciting mystery is unravelled by the three pilgrims, a British soldier (Dennis Price), a land-girl (Sheila Sim) and most emphatically Sergeant John Sweet of the U.S. Army. He is an untrained actor, discovered by Michael Powell, and he is vividly alive and solid in a world that slips by hazily like a dream.

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