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.

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Submitted by Mark Fuller

Letters Page

From: Time and Tide
January 1945


SIR: Critics and writers about the films are for ever exhorting the film companies to make films which will put on the screen the English landscape and "document" the English countryside. In A Canterbury Tale this is surely just what one of them did, yet your film critic lists it among the bad films of the year and goes on to stigmatise it as "nebulous and nursery". Opinions differ about films as much as about anything, and I am aware that Helen Fletcher is being deliberately provocative, yet for me this film, despite the doolally plot,happens to be the most memorable produced in 1944. May I briefly give my reasons, and in so doing perhaps recall pleasure to those that saw it?

     First, technically the photography and sound recording were superlative. Never did human voice or sunlit village green seem so real on the screen. Second, the sudden distant Cortez-view, unheralded and a perfectly cinematic as dramatic surprise, of the Cathedral towers from neighbouring heights was as memorable, masterly and breath-taking a moment as I remember on the screen. Thirdly, the way the sound-camera caught the swelling diapason of organ tone as it filled, like soul in a body, nave, chancel and aisles of the great cathedral, thereby brought to life, was an effect of unsurpassable grandeur and majesty. Lastly, there were some shots inside a dusty dilapidated laid-up caravan trailer inside a garage which, had they occurred in a film directed by Potemkin [sic] or Eisenstein, would have driven our Bloomsbury boys lyrical. This incident in the film was beautifully built up into a climax by the hand of a master and, incidentally, made inspired use of the dynamic camera personality of H.F.Maltby.

     I am, etc.
          George Richards
Mount Pleasant Road, Poole.

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