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  1. #41
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (Clinton Morgan @ Sep 24 2005, 09:56 PM)

    Acknowledged. I should have written that 'A Canterbury Tale' is not meant to be an out and out adaptation of 'The Canterbury Tales'. Or am I wrong about that?
    No, you're quite right. It was just loosely based on the idea behind Chaucer's Tales in that it was about people who were going to Canterbury who could be considered to be pilgrims. It was also, to a large extent, a chance for Micky Powell to make a film about the area where he grew up.



    Steve

  2. #42
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    Reminded of A Canterbury Tale by this interesting story in today's papers. (The Times and The Telegraph anyway)



    GIs in West End were led astray by ‘young sluts and vicious debauchery’

    By Lewis Smith

    Good-time girls threatened morals, morale and international relations, the National Archive reveals

    THE “moral laxity” of women during the Second World War was perceived to be so degenerate that it strained relations between Britain and America.



    Ministers and their officials were so worried about the impact of promiscuity on public opinion in the United States that a series of high-level Whitehall meetings was held to devise ways of cracking down on immorality.
    Oddly pouring glue onto the women's heads to scare them off and organising healthy spiritual alternatives to chasing skirt for the men was not one of their ideas.

  3. #43
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (Holland @ Nov 1 2005, 11:27 AM)

    Reminded of A Canterbury Tale by this interesting story in today's papers. (The Times and The Telegraph anyway)

    Oddly pouring glue onto the women's heads to scare them off and organising healthy spiritual alternatives to chasing skirt for the men was not one of their ideas.
    Interesting articles, thanks for the pointer to them.



    But after 4 years of near starvation rations (OK, they were healthy, but they were hungry) and no frills, is it any wonder that the girls went chasing after the GIs? They must have been like people from another planet. They were fit and healthy, well paid and had a seemingly endless supply of lots of things that hadn't been seen here for years. The articles imply that it was only prostitutes and "wild girls" that went chasing GIs. I'm sure it wasn't. Just ask your Mum or Grandma.



    Of course that very real antagonism towards the Americans was what led to A Matter of Life and Death.



    Steve

  4. #44
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    (Steve Crook @ Nov 1 2005, 08:39 PM)

    Interesting articles, thanks for the pointer to them.



    But after 4 years of near starvation rations (OK, they were healthy, but they were hungry) and no frills, is it any wonder that the girls went chasing after the GIs? They must have been like people from another planet. They were fit and healthy, well paid and had a seemingly endless supply of lots of things that hadn't been seen here for years. The articles imply that it was only prostitutes and "wild girls" that went chasing GIs. I'm sure it wasn't. Just ask your Mum or Grandma.



    Of course that very real antagonism towards the Americans was what led to A Matter of Life and Death.



    Steve
    It seemed very much like an attempted whitewash by the US authorities - their boys wouldn't dream of doing anything untoward and must have been led astray by those harlots!



    My late mum was in the wraf - a radio operator - and I always wondered, but never asked, why everyone called her Sue even though her name was Edith Emily. It was suggested to me a couple of years ago that it was a wraf "name" used to protect her from such entanglements as in AMOLAD.



    FELL

  5. #45
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    'A Canterbury Tale' is not a straightforward film (not many P&P films are) and many were confused that the identity of the glueman was given away so early and the detective work therefore of secondary importance. As wartime propaganda it is a lovely piece of British country life - one that was rapidly disappearing even before the war - and the message so apt, learn about your surroundings, the history and development your area. But people expecting straightforward entertainment were perplexed - especially as Eric Portman gets away with being a strange man who pours glue into girls' hair.



    I understand that Michael Powell wanted Roger Livesey to play Culpepper, but he turned it down as he found the glue pouring aspects distasteful. I guess many viewers found the glueman abhorrent when portrayed by Portman - who is wonderful in the role, but lets face it, he is not a warm and likeable human being like Livesey! Perhaps if a more sympathetic actor had played it, it would have better received at the time?

  6. #46
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    (Rob Compton @ Sep 21 2005, 09:41 PM)

    Let me guess Steve - you watched it purely in the name of P & P research!



    rgds

    Rob
    As far as I remember, the Robin Askwith bit should have been quite good for P&P research!

  7. #47
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (Johnjackgilbert @ Nov 28 2005, 01:36 PM)

    'A Canterbury Tale' is not a straightforward film (not many P&P films are) and many were confused that the identity of the glueman was given away so early and the detective work therefore of secondary importance. As wartime propaganda it is a lovely piece of British country life - one that was rapidly disappearing even before the war - and the message so apt, learn about your surroundings, the history and development your area. But people expecting straightforward entertainment were perplexed - especially as Eric Portman gets away with being a strange man who pours glue into girls' hair.



    I understand that Michael Powell wanted Roger Livesey to play Culpepper, but he turned it down as he found the glue pouring aspects distasteful. I guess many viewers found the glueman abhorrent when portrayed by Portman - who is wonderful in the role, but lets face it, he is not a warm and likeable human being like Livesey! Perhaps if a more sympathetic actor had played it, it would have better received at the time?
    But would it have still been as fascinating to people 60 years after it was made?

    The giving away of the identity of the glueman makes it into a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit.



    The depositing of sticky stuff into girls' hair isn't too subtle, but might be considered better than the first suggestion which was to have Colpeper slash their dresses!



    Roger Livesey was much better playing nice characters (like Clive Candy in Blimp or Torquil in IKWIG!). He was too nice to play very menacing or mysterious characters. Eric Portman works really well in the part.



    It's hard to say why it didn't do too well at the time, but as it didn't, most people didn't get as far as the glueman. Many reviews were like the one on the PaPAS site where the reviewer just admits to being puzzled by it.



    But at the time (it was released here after D-Day), people had other concerns like how to finish off the war quickly and what to do in the immediate aftermath. It's only in the more recent decades that we have the luxury of being able to wonder about many of the ideas addressed in the film, which is probably one reason why it gets such big audiences now.



    Steve

  8. #48
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    I am going to sound rather pathetic but having just seen A CANTERBURY TALE I have to ask the question, "What is it all about?".



    It flowed like a dream but I don't think I grasped it, especially the motivation of putting glue on girls' hair.



    Can someone please decode it all for me?

  9. #49
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (Graemets @ Jan 15 2006, 04:14 AM)

    I am going to sound rather pathetic but having just seen A CANTERBURY TALE I have to ask the question, "What is it all about?".



    It flowed like a dream but I don't think I grasped it, especially the motivation of putting glue on girls' hair.



    Can someone please decode it all for me?
    Hello Graeme in the tropics,

    Colpeper was a bit of a strange character in many ways but he wanted to share his love of and knowledge about the English countryside and its history. When there was an Army camp set up near his village he offered to give lectures to the soldiers. But they were more interested in going out with the local girls.



    He didn't approve of this in two ways: Firstly, the girls should have remained faithful to their boyfriends serving overseas and secondly, he felt that the soldiers should have been more interested in what he had to tell them. Remember that he still lived with his mother. It was a not too subtle way of saying that he was gay, as Eric Portman himself was.



    But the method that Colpeper chose to get the soldiers to come to his lectures rather than going out with the girls was to make the girls afraid to go out at night by pouring glue into their hair. An earlier version of the script had him slashing their dresses but that was thought to be too weird so they settled on the still quite weird but slightly less so method that you see in the film. Of course there are various other things that can be read into the desire to squirt sticky substances over the girls!



    It wasn't until our three pilgrims arrive in the village that he is finally unmasked. It's really Alison that leads the hunt. She goes to Bob's room and suggests he stays in the village another few days rather than going straight into Canterbury. But Bob & Peter actually uncover most of the clues.



    We find out that Colpeper was the glue-man even before the pilgrims do, with the scene in the courtroom. So it soon becomes a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit.



    Then it's interspersed with the idyllic countryside scenes like the wheelwright's, Bob & Alison in the cart and of course the boys river battle. None of which really move the main plot on much, they're just there to let you appreciate those things.



    Of course it all comes good in the end with the pilgrims confronting Colpeper on the train into Canterbury where the most telling exchange is when Alison asks if he'd ever thought of inviting the girls to his lecture as well. When he says he hadn't she just says "Pity" and that's what he finishes up doing. You see the couples going to the lecture under the final credits.





    Powell & Pressburger made it to remind people "What we are fighting for". The country and the history, not necessarily the oddballs like Colpeper although he falls into the category of Great British Eccentrics and is generally fairly good for the village (magistrate, excavating the old road etc.)



    But it was a bit of an obscure tale and Micky Powell said that he didn't really do justice to Emeric's story. He was too busy showing off the landscape where he grew up.



    It wasn't too well received at the time. People were too busy trying to finish off the war, they didn't have much time for the historical and environmental messages in the film. It wasn't a failure by any means, but it wasn't a huge success.



    But nowadays, we do have more time to stand and stare and the film is usually very well appreciated whenever it's shown. We once showed it on a wet Tuesday morning and over 300 people turned up. Mind you, that was in Canterbury and we had not only Sheila Sim (Lady Attenborough) but also John Sweet as guests of honour.



    The Powell and Pressburger Appreciation Society holds an annual location walk every August Bank Holiday Sunday where we meet up and do a guided tour around some of the locations used in the film. We just advertise it on the web site and in the local papers. Sometimes it's just 20 or so people but at other times over 100 people have turned up. As well as the connections with the film, it's just an excuse to have a nice walk around some lovely English villages.



    There are reports and pictures from the various screenings, trips and events associated with this film at the Powell & Pressburger website



    Don't forget, "Plank it out at Christmas!"



    Steve

  10. #50
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    Steve I appreciate the time you took to explain the film to me. I think I am with it now. I plan to watch it again soon with your erudite explanation in mine.



    I enjoyed the film (it is one of my father's favourites) but I was a little confused.



    Thanks again!

  11. #51
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (Graemets @ Jan 15 2006, 03:41 PM)

    Steve I appreciate the time you took to explain the film to me. I think I am with it now. I plan to watch it again soon with your erudite explanation in mine.



    I enjoyed the film (it is one of my father's favourites) but I was a little confused.



    Thanks again!
    One of the (many) things I like about Powell & Pressburger films is that they can stand repeated viewings, even in fairly quick succession. There's always something else to see or to consider in them.



    Steve

  12. #52
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    Oh yes, I wonder what my first P&P film of 2006 will be?

  13. #53
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    Criterion are expected to release an extras packed DVD of the film later this year.

  14. #54
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (JamesM @ Jan 17 2006, 05:01 AM)

    Criterion are expected to release an extras packed DVD of the film later this year.
    At some time certainly. But after the time it took them to release The Tales of Hoffmann, don't hold your breath waiting for this one. It will happen at some time though, and this year would be good. But at the moment I think they're still gathering material for the extras. It's not even on their Coming Soon list yet.



    Steve

  15. #55
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    I've just noticed that on The Archers target board, just before the bullseye is hit with the arrow, the mark where the arrow has struck suddenly appears just before you see the arrow go in. So in other words it must have been in the target beforehand and they just pulled it out and the film reversed.

  16. #56
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (samkydd @ Jan 21 2006, 08:34 PM)

    I've just noticed that on The Archers target board, just before the bullseye is hit with the arrow, the mark where the arrow has struck suddenly appears just before you see the arrow go in. So in other words it must have been in the target beforehand and they just pulled it out and the film reversed.
    Very good, well spotted.

    Now try to explain how the shadows work on those arrows in the target, including the last arrow.

    They don't seem to obey any laws of optics that I was taught. The shadows are in lots of different directions.



    Where were the light sources?



    They were very tricky those Archers



    Steve

  17. #57
    Senior Member Country: United States rjd0309's Avatar
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    (Steve Crook @ Jan 21 2006, 02:25 PM)

    They don't seem to obey any laws of optics that I was taught. The shadows are in lots of different directions.
    The shadows WOULD be in the same direction if all of the arrows were stuck in the target at the SAME angle, but they're not.

  18. #58
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (rjd0309 @ Jan 22 2006, 04:18 PM)

    The shadows WOULD be in the same direction if all of the arrows were stuck in the target at the SAME angle, but they're not.
    Drat, I wasn't expecting someone else who actually knows about optics

    That question usually gets a lot of people chasing after a lot of wild geese.

    The main misleading thing was my saying that they don't seem to obey the laws of optics. People assume that the shadow must point back at the light source. But that's only true when the arrows are perpendicular to the target.



    It's actually quite easy to demonstrate by holding a pen or pencil perpendicular to a table with a single light source coming from above and to one side - and then varying the angle of the pen.



    Steve

  19. #59
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    At that time many soldiers and civilians must have been questioning this terrible war and what exactly they were fighting for. "A Canterbury Tale" seems to be saying that in war you are fighting for your past as much your future because that is where your way of life comes from, its customs and traditions you hold dear. It draws strong comparisons between Canterbury's soldiers and its pilgrims, and suggests that today's warfare are in many ways modern pilgrimages. Just as those Canterbury pilgrims make their pilgrimage to present their offerings to God for their life and its blessings, they are making theirs now. I think it is quite unique in how it looks at war because it attempts to put war into some kind of personal perspective, and it is clever in how it goes about it and mostly succeeds in my view.

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