Saturday, 3 July 2010

Hagioscope 4

I have been banging on about the Powell and Pressburger film, 'A Canterbury Tale' for ages now, and here it is again. It was made during WW2, partly to encourage the USA to enter the war and fight against Axis forces. The other part was made just for the fun of it. It was also another excuse for Michael Powell to film women on their hands and knees, scrubbing the floor - a theme which occurs with unhealthy regularity in all his films...

If ever a film encapsulated the eccentricity of 'typical' English life whilst set in a 'typical' English landscape setting, then this is it. I must have seen it over 50 times, and I never get tired of it. It's a bit of an obsession to be honest, but a harmless form of escapism when compared to modern war films or games.

If you can get hold of a copy on DVD, please do, and see if you can understand what I am on about. If you do like it, then I can guarantee that you will watch it more than once. It is one of the most surreal films I have ever seen. If you want it but cannot find it on eBay etc, then I will find a copy for you.


  1. Gosh, must be years since I last saw it. I always thought it was a bit odd-ball. Didn't they have actual soldiers playing some parts?

  2. Yes, the American Sergeant was played (extremely badly) by Sergeant John Smith (I always thought he was called Sweet - maybe my copy is wrong) of the US Army. He's the one on the right in the middle photo. Those little dots they are looking at in the sky are real barrage balloons over Canterbury.