A Canterbury Tale Film Still

A Canterbury Tale

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

 
A Canterbury Tale (Criterion DVD)

DVD

2 Discs

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

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  • United Kingdom
  • 1944
  • 124 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #341

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s beloved classic A Canterbury Tale is a profoundly personal journey to Powell’s bucolic birthplace of Kent, England. Set amid the tumult of the Second World War, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, the film follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims—a melancholy “landgirl,” a plainspoken American GI, and a resourceful British sergeant—who are waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town and forced to solve a bizarre village crime. Building to a majestic climax that ranks as one of the filmmaking duo’s finest achievements, the dazzling A Canterbury Tale has acquired a following of devotees passionate enough to qualify as pilgrims themselves.

Cast

Thomas Colpeper Eric Portman
Alison Smith Sheila Sim
Sgt. Peter Gibb Dennis Price
Sgt. Bob Johnson Sgt. John Sweet
Seven Sisters Soldier/Narrator/Village Idiot Esmond Knight

Credits

DirectorMichael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Written, produced, and directed byMichael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
CinematographyErwin Hillier
SoundJohn Seabourne Sr.
MusicAllan Gray
Conducted byWalter Goehr
Production designAlfred Junge

Disc Features

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film historian Ian Christie
  • Excerpts from the American Version, with Kim Hunter
  • New video interview with actress Sheila Sim
  • A Pilgrim’s Return, a documentary about John Sweet, by Nick Burton and Eddie McMillan
  • A Canterbury Trail, a new documentary visiting the film locations, by David Thompson
  • Listen to Britain, 2001 video installation piece inspired by A Canterbury Tale, by artist Victor Burgin
  • Listen to Britain, a 1942 documentary by Humphrey Jennings
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Graham Fuller, Peter von Bagh, and actor John Sweet

    New cover by Cameron Thorp

Film Essays

A Tribute: A Canterbury Tale

By Peter von Bagh July 24, 2006

If the most important subjects of film are light and time, I can’t think of a more poignant work than A Canterbury Tale. As seen by the Archers—the writing-directing-production team of Michael . . . Read more »

Film Essays

A Tribute: A Canterbury Tale

By Peter von Bagh July 24, 2006

If the most important subjects of film are light and time, I can’t think of a more poignant work than A Canterbury Tale. As seen by the Archers—the writing-directing-production team of Michael . . . Read more »