Their re-working of Chaucer's epic fourteenth century tale, largely set in wartime Kent, centres on American army sergeant John Smith, British soldier Dennis Price and landgirl Shiela Sim who, before making a modern-day pilgrimage to Canterbury, solve the bizarre mystery of a man who pours glue over the hair of village girls at night.
If you love Powell/Pressburger...
- A Canterbury Tale review by Steve Mason
Powell/Pressburger's stirring WWII propaganda looks at the essence of national identity through a shared history, in this story of three displaced characters, travelling to Canterbury, who find emotional comfort there.
This being Powell/Pressburger, there is no flag waving in this literary and clever film. The story, of a person who pours glue onto the hair of women out after blackout, might feel a bit inane to some, and some of the acting is obviously by non professionals. But its lovely setting in the Kent countryside, it's warm humour, and its quiet and wry portrayal of this nation living under the anxiety of war, and its utterly joyous intuition and intelligence make this a very special experience.