One of the most puzzling and offbeat movies to come out of World War II was Powell and Pressburgers's A Canterbury Tale, a bizarre but hugely entertaining adaptation of the famous long poem by 14th century English author Geoffrey Chaucer.
Made in 1944 and set in the Nazi-threatened Britain of those years, the film loosely uses Chaucer's theme of "eccentric characters on a religious pilgrimage' by centring on a British soldier, an American soldier, and a female shopkeeper in wartime Britain who journey to the Canterbury Cathedral and find their lives changed by the trip.
Extremely unusual cinematic techniques and plotting were the magnificent mark of Powell and Pressburger and they are here in spades in A Canterbury Tale eschewed plot for a more lyrical, emotive form of storytelling that focused on reaffirming the spiritual values and traditions binding the British and American Allies together
It baffled British audiences on release but over time the film has become a much loved oddity.
Running Time: 2hr 4mins
BBFC Advice: U
Director(s): Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Country of Origin: UK
Year of release: 1944
This is part of the The Luminaries: Powell & Pressburger seasonSee all
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