A Canterbury Tale (1944)

January 31st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Cast: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Denis Price, John Sweet | UK Drama 124’

Described by Basil Wright as “the kinkiest film of the war” and recalled with distaste by the reviewers of Peeping Tom,  Michael Powell’s taste for the fanciful (the dialogue actually mentions marijuana) was already manifesting itself in the antics of the glueman and the use of Edmond Knight in three quite distinct roles.

The extraordinary resemblance of the early cut from the kestrel to the spitfire to the much-vaunted equivalent in ‘2001’ is almost certainly attributable purely to coincidence since until the late seventies the film had long languished in obscurity and it’s highly unlikely Kubrick had seen when he embarked on his own film in 1964.

Powell was born in Canterbury himself so the choice of the locale was evidently a deeply personal one. His eye for talent is well demonstrated by his casting the hitherto unknown Denis Price and the engaging American non-professional John Sweet. @RichardChatten

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