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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.

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A great 8 days in Canterbury
By: Steve Crook

Wednesday 13th:

c.f. Scan from the film

c.f. Scan from the film
On Wednesday, Michael & I went for a drive around some of the villages. We headed out on the Sandwich Road so that we could visit the places to the East of Canterbury. First stop was Wickhambreaux where we saw the weather-boarded mill that Alison & Bob ride past in the cart. That old mill is now on the market - only £400,000! Then the old Georgian house on the green (still occupied by Mrs Montgomery who was living there when they filmed it), and the old stone house which was the village post-office and was where Alison spoke to Dorothy Bird (Judith Furse). Just as we were looking at the garden at the back of the Georgian house a man walked down the road and stopped for a chat. It turned out that he had been born in the village, had then moved away for most of his working life and was now living back there. He remembers the film being made there although he wasn't seen in it.

c.f. Scan from the film

We gave him a lift into Littlebourne and he pointed out a few more sights along the way. We dropped him off and headed eastwards to Wingham where The Red Lion sits on a corner in the main road to Sandwich. We stopped off there for a cup of coffee and had a look at the curved metal awning over what was Dick Lucy's butcher's shop. The landlord kindly let us have a quick look around upstairs so that we could wave out of the window that John Sweet waved from :)

Then we carried on to the coast to have a look around Ramsgate, where they filmed the harbour scenes in Contraband (they called in Eastgate-on-sea). There's a 1930s building on one arm of the harbour wall that was seen in the film although only in a long shot where it's partially hidden behind two freighters in the harbour. But the harbour light on the other harbour wall is seen, as is the view looking back into Ramsgate itself.

The building at the end of the harbour wall is an interesting one. It's one of those 1930s buildings designed to look like an ocean liner. I'm still not sure if the close ups of the building we see in the film are studio re-creations or if the building has changed over the last 65 years.

Back towards Canterbury we diverted down through Fordwich to check that all was well there, then on to the Hoath Farm where the young Michael Powell grew up. It's a lovely looking place and I can imagine that in many ways it must have been an idyllic childhood.

Then it was back up to the University campus and the Gulbenkian in the early evening to see Gone to Earth. Nick Burton joined us for that and told us that the last time it was shown there was 20 years ago and that was when Micky & Thelma were there! A lovely print and the film was much enjoyed.

We're settling down to be a nice bunch of regulars at these screenings, some students and the rest are the dedicated admirers. Canterbury isn't a very big place so as I wander round during the day I often bump into some of them - very nice.

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