The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

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From: Belinda Price of Beckenham

I thought you might to have a brief glance at the speech I gave to my local speakers' group - only 7 mins required - so a lot to cut out. It went down very well - so much so that I have now been asked to tell them more - especially about the glue man!

The P & P Appreciation Society

Do you ever watch old black and white films on television? I'm not usually a great fan but one particular film really caught my imagination. It is called A Canterbury Tale and was filmed in 1943 by what was at the time the very well known film partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

So tonight I want to tell you how a mild interest in this film led me to appreciate their many other films, such as The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and A Matter of Life and Death - all films which regularly appear in the 100 best films lists.

Like most of the Powell and Pressburger films - A Canterbury Tale is often considered a rather weird film - although I would prefer to call it mystical.

The story is about three latter day pilgrims who are making their way from London to Canterbury by train in the wartime blackout. One is an American soldier, one a British soldier, and the other a landgirl - played by Sheila Sim (now Lady Attenborough). After getting off the train at Chillingbourne to spend the night before going on to Canterbury, the landgirl has glue thrown into her hair - this is the weird bit. But when they get to Canterbury like all true pilgrims they receive blessings - all get things that they had wished for - the mystical bit.

What initially attracted me to A Canterbury Tale was its location. It was filmed in a number of villages around Canterbury - quite close to where I had later lived for a number of years. So on gloomy winter afternoons when the film turned up on television I used to peer at the various grainy locations and think - Is that Chilham? Wingham? Not names that many people know.

One day in 1999 when I was still living in a Kent Village near Canterbury, I was astounded to see a small item in a local paper. "Do you want to find the locations of A Canterbury Tale"

So on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon, I drove to a little village called "Fordwich" and walked into the beautiful church with its family box pews. I was expecting that perhaps a maximum of 20 "anoraks/film buffs" would turn up. So I was amazed to see that about a hundred people had gathered - nearly filling this tiny church. Even more amazed so many of the audience were in their thirties and forties- so this was not a nostalgia trip for them.
(Details of Fordwich, 1999)

The surprises didn't stop there. This was the second event organised by an enthusiast, Paul Tritton, who had written a book about the making of A Canterbury Tale. His was a truly magnificent obsession. Even more amazing, Paul had traced some of the people who had taken part in the film and still lived locally. They were all there to tell us about the filming. Much later he traced the actor who had played the American soldier (now in his eighties) and had him flown over to a showing of the film.

P & P Appreciation Society
Entering that church opened up a world completely unknown to me - The Powell and Pressburger Appreciation Society.. It has its own website and chat group.

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