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 Steve Crook

A Canterbury Tale Walk
By: Steve Crook

Nicky <> wrote:

> Just a brief note (I'll leave Steve to give a proper account) to say that
> Steve, Neal (and his dog Jess) and I have been to Chilham

And don't forget Wendy who's been trying to join this group for some time & finally managed it on Saturday.

I'd met her at the first walk at Fordwich.

> and are now owners
> of the Canterbury Tale book and very nice it is too (and yes, Roger and
> Malcolm - your names are in it

As are Neal, Nicky & myself.

As are "friends of the list" Andrew Moor from Bangor (ex-student of Ian Christie) & Mark Fuller from Bristol.

> The main locations were the Old Mill where
> the boys have to look through their paper salvage for glue receipts, the
> river where the 'battle' takes place, the square where Alison meets the
> bus, and the hill where and Colpeper have their little tete a tete in
> the grass (though Paul Tritton hasn't been able to pinpoint the
> exact place it happened).

Well he's got it to within a few hundred yards :)

The problem is that when Bob & Peter turn round and see the river winding through the valley & the "noble prospect" that's actually from another hill about 5 miles away - which we DIDN'T climb.

> There were about 50 people there including some old-timers who
> remembered the filming - one chap said he can be spotted as a boy sitting
> on a low wall in the scene at the forge.

The "boy on the wall" was John Clark. He was chatting to us in the mill about quite a few things he remembered at the end (Nicky, you may have gone outside by then)

There were nearer 100 for the walk around Chilham - then some dropped out for the longer (5-10 mile) walk up hill & down dale. There were about 70-80 people there.

David ("Commander") Todd was there for the first part as was Bill Paton's widow Myrtle but they both thought the long walk would be too much for them.

Other locations we saw included the street they used as the basis for the studio construction of Charing Street - where they chase the glueman at the beginning. Typical Archers trickery, they made the furthest houses smaller to give the impression of perspective & the shadowy figure running away was really a small boy

Remember when Bob & Peter play "catch" after meeting the salvage gang? That's School Hill in Chilham. Paul & I played "catch" to act out the parts.

We went to the bridge (now replaced by a concrete bridge) where Bob asked if he could join the boys in the boat.

We went past the mill where the battle ended which is seen from "pow wow hill".

We went to the hill where Bob, Terry & Leslie had their pow wow. Although the river & the mill weren't visible because of the trees (more than in 1943).

We went to the lane where Alison gets ambushed by Peter's carriers. Some of us even went up to the top of the field to get the same view as is seen in the film as the carriers converge on Alison in her cart.

We went to the hill where Alison & Colpeper rolled in the grass.
  Alison says "I heard a lute - or something very much like a lute"
(If it sounded like a lute what else could it be?)

As I said the view with the "noble prospect" was actually from another hill about 5 miles away (Paul pointed it out).

Then we went back down & into the mill where Bob & Peter met the salvage gang.

Some of the few locations that we DIDN'T go to (because they were some distance away) but are all listed in the book include :-

The road where Alison dropped Bob off & then the horse took her off to the left when she wanted to go straight on.

The wood where Alison walked (Sheila looking her prettiest) before she rolled in the grass with Colpeper.

The wheelwrights. It's still there but quite small & would have been awkward with that many people.

Then all the other locations on the other side of Canterbury such a Colpeper's house, the town hall etc that I went to on previous visits. See /Trips/Canterbury

All in all a great day out (well I thought so) and a good crowd. This time Paul enlisted me to do some of the readings as well as his wife Pat. For instance, for the one on "pow wow hill" Paul played Bob & I played Leslie so I got on my knees to look up at him:)

As Nicky said it's fascinating to meet so many people with their different reasons for liking the film.

A few other comments about the book.

It details how there was to have been a MUCH longer section with Chaucer's pilgrims at the beginning. That was all filmed on St Martha's hill near Guildford. A long way from Canterbury - but still on the Pilgrim's Way.

There are interviews with not only the cast & crew but also other local people who remember going to see it being filmed.

There are lots of notes & extracts from John Sweet's journal that he kept during the time they filmed it & Powell's papers

There are even photos from our visit to Fordwich last year (& the previous meetings that Paul organised before I met him) and the Powell building dedication at Canterbury Christ Church College (if you look carefully at the picture of the audience you can see me in my whistle)

There are LOADS of names of the minor members of the cast & crew that I'll be adding to the IMDb.

So all you people who didn't pre-order rush out & buy one instantly !! :) It'll be available through all good bookshops fairly soon - but you can still order them directly from Paul at /Reviews/44_ACT/TheBook.html


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