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A Canterbury Tale Reviews

A mighty strange movie, one that updates Chaucer's story to wartime Britain. Portman is a rural justice of the peace who takes it upon himself to look out for the GIs stationed near him. To protect his charges from the seductive wiles of the local girls, he takes to sneaking in to the girls' rooms during blackouts and pouring glue over their heads. He is found out by London shopgirl-turned-farmer Sim, British tank sergeant Price and GI Sweet (an Ohio schoolteacher discovered by Powell and Pressburger while he was stationed in England with the U.S. Army, who gives a wonderful performance reminiscent of Will Rogers). Together they travel down the road to Canterbury, where each experiences a minor miracle. Wonderfully and meticulously constructed by some of the best people in British films at the time, one memorable shot switches the action from the Dark Ages to the present by showing a falcon set aloft from a medieval pilgrim's wrist, receding into the sky until it is just a speck, then coming back. As it grows larger one realizes that it is not the falcon, but a Spitfire. British officials understandably confused about some elements of the film showed a great deal of reluctance before releasing the picture in the U.S. Not frequently revived, but well worth checking out.