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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 8:18 am

Questions arose whether or not Stanley Kubrick had seen A Canterbury Tale prior to making his "2001 - A Space Odyssey." A medieval Chaucer character releases a falcon at the start of ACT. The bird flies high into the air and then turns into a World War Two Spitfire as the modern sequences that take up the rest of the movie begin. The idea is similar to a scene in "Odyssey" where a bone, thrown into the air by a prehistoric ape called Moon-Watcher at the end of the movie's first section, is transformed into a futuristic orbital weapon platform travelling through space, to usher in the second section, set about four million years later. Neither Kubrick or Powell ever confirmed the "coincidence."



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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 8:20 am

Compare these two scenes from the Kubrick & Powell movies.





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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 8:21 am

Roger Livesey was considered to play the role of the Glue Man.



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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 8:25 am

Young Roger Livesey would not have been a convincing Glue Man. Portman had those penetrating eyes which was necessary to play the role of the villain.



Portman died in 1969.


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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 8:27 am

The Hand of Glory was a right hand of a murderer that was severed while the corpse was still hanging from the gallows. Afterwards it was wrapped in a shroud and squeezed of blood then pickled for two weeks in an earthenware jar. It was either dried in an oven or laid out to dry in the sun during the hot days of August. When the hand was ready, candles were fitted between the fingers. They were called the "dead man's candles" and were made from another murderer's fat, with the wick being made from his hair. Thieves would often used the hand when breaking into buildings and homes.



The "Chillingbourne Arms" was first considered as the name for the Hand of Glory.
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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 4:09 am

Burgess Meredith was the first choice to play Sergeant Bob Johnson, but John Sweet got the part. Meredith instead acted as a script editor for Johnson's character.



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 4:12 am

The original script mentioned that Bob Johnson was on his way to Canterbury as his ancestors had come from there. Michael Powell first spotted Sweet in a stage production called "The Eve of Saint Mark" at the Scala in Kings Cross. Also worth noting is that Sweet's entire movie earnings of £500 was donated to a charity with the approval of the American soldier himself. After the war, Sweet returned to the USA and continued his career as a school teacher. It's interesting to note that Sweet has the same birth date (8th of February) as James Dean and the administrator of this website. Sweet was one of the best natural actors the Archers ever employed. He passed away on the 5th of July, 2011.



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 4:18 am

A real engine driver helped with the opening railway scene in A Canterbury Tale when he was requested to purposely release more steam so his train could be easily spotted from a distance.

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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 4:20 am

Michael Powell's first choice to play the role of Alison Smith was the well known actress Deborah Kerr.



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 4:22 am

The role of Alison Smith was best suited for an actress with "down-to-earth" looks. Deborah Kerr was a little too sophisticated and glamourous to be a convincing Land Girl. Kerr reminds me of Eva Gabor who played the farm wife of Eddie Albert in Green Acres. Sheila Sim drew on her own experience for the role of the land girl, having volunteered in 1940 to work for the Women's Land Army in Herefordshire. She first met Michael Powell at a party in London which resulted in her movie debut in A Canterbury Tale. Powell was very impressed with Sim's acting saying, "She made it her own, delivering a performance of depth and sincerity." Sim passed away in 2016.



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 4:24 am

The draft script called for a knife to be used by Colpeper to slash the dresses of the girls who were dating the soldiers, but it was changed to pouring glue on their hair. One of the themes of A Canterbury Tale is comparing life in a country village with life in a big city (Chillingbourne verses Chicago). A big city is the place where criminals commit acts of violence, so it would make no sense to depict an assailant in Chillingbourne using a knife which could cause terrible injuries including death.



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:22 am

Michael Powell described seeing Dennis Price on stage for the first time: "A tall slim young man. He had charm and elegance and a long, good looking oval face with a long, sensitive upper lip. He was impudently well mannered." Price would often forget his lines during the filming of A Canterbury Tale.



Price died in 1973. He is buried on Sark (Channel Islands).


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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:24 am

When the trio chase the Glue Man up "Charing Street" it was actually in a studio. The allusion of a longer street was made possible with the use of a boy wearing a coat running away in the dark.

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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:27 am

When Peter Gibbs (Dennis Price) visits Colpeper's House he looks around for evidence. He opens a bookcase and chooses a volume at random. When he opens the book it clearly shows a photo of an island called Foula which is the location of Michael Powell's movie, "The Edge of the World."



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:32 am

At the end of A Canterbury Tale, the plan was to have the Royal East Kent Regiment play their regimental march. However, due to some questionable lyrics it was changed to "Sons of the Brave."



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:35 am

The Warriors Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral has a strong historical links with the Royal East Kent Regiment with ancient military flags adorning the walls. Work on the chapel first began in 1437 and it was consecrated just 12 days before the death of Lady Margaret Holland in December 1439. Lady Margaret had commissioned the work to make space for her tomb and that of her two late husbands.



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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:38 am

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (Beaney Institute) was the inspiration for the Colpeper Institute and was briefly seen in the closing stages of A Canterbury Tale during the Buff's military parade.



In the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge there was a Buffs Gallery until it closed in 2009 for refurbishment. It contained the archives of the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment). Around 1960 the collection was in the West Gate Towers Museum, then was moved to the Royal Museum in 1978. Prior to the refurbishment, the Beaney included a room on the regiment's history from the 16th century to 1961, when the regiment was amalgamated with the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. Ownership of the Buffs collection and archives was transferred to the National Army Museum in London in 2000. The collection is now stored by that Museum, with some objects on display at its base in Chelsea and some in the new displays at the Beaney itself. The collection includes pictures, trophies, mess silver, uniforms, weapons, and medals including Victoria Crosses telling stories of campaigns from North Africa and Burma to France and Germany. It also includes some material on East Kent's Volunteers and Militia.

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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:41 am

James Tamsitt (General Terry) had a haircut to make him look tidy before he went to London with Leonard Smith and David Todd to do some scenes at Denham Studios. Upon his arrival in London, Powell & Pressburger told James he had to wear a wig (see photo) because his new haircut didn't match the longer hair he had in scenes filmed on location.



The boys who appeared in ACT were paid £9.00 each for two weeks work.
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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:48 am

After the river battle a mystery man is seen backing away from behind Bob Johnson (John Sweet).



CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO SEE THE MYSTERY MAN AT THE ONE HOUR TWO MINUTES MARK.
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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:50 am

In 1949 Margaret Mitchell died in hospital after she was hit by a drunk driver when she was crossing the road on her way to see A Canterbury Tale.

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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:53 am

As a boy, Michael Powell and his mother went on a journey on the Pilgrims Way from Canterbury to Southwark. Upon their arrival in Guildford and the Wey River passing by Merrow Down, they made a detour to see the beautiful church called Saint Martha-on-the-Hill which became Powell's inspiration for the opening scene of A Canterbury Tale. On the day of the actual shooting of the scene in 1943, Reverend Philip Grey commented on the excellent teamwork of the Archer's film crew.



CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO SEE THE AREA OF THE OPENING SCENE OF A CANTERBURY TALE.
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Post  Pilgrim on Mon 28 Aug 2017, 5:57 am

Canterbury Mayor Frederick Charles Lefevre and Canterbury Police Superintendent George Hall travelled to Denham Studios for the filming of the final scene of ACT.

Photo of Canterbury Mayor Frederick Charles Lefevre (1879-1945):



CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE THE MAYOR AND SUPERINTENDENT IN THE ACT MOVIE.

SEE THE SUPERINTENDENT AT THE ONE HOUR FIFTY FIVE MINUTES EIGHT SECONDS MARK.

SEE THE MAYOR AT THE ONE HOUR FIFTY FIVE MINUTES TWENTY SIX SECONDS MARK.
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Post  Pilgrim on Fri 08 Sep 2017, 11:57 pm

In the Hand of Glory Albert Woodcock tells Alison Smith that the stone on the wall was found on the Pilgrims Road. The stone is actually an epitaph of a Roman soldier Marcus Herennius Tolemaeus who was in the army for 25 years.



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Post  Pilgrim on Fri 08 Sep 2017, 11:59 pm

If you look closely at the scene when Alison Smith (Sheila Sim) is inside her caravan at Rose Lane Garage, you will notice that the "moths" are actually little bits of torn white paper flying with the help of an off camera fan.



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Post  Pilgrim on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 12:05 am

In 1943 this building in Saint Peter's Street in Canterbury was used as the office for the Archers.



Michael Powel placed a poster in the window (see arrow) advertising the final filming of ACT.

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Post  Pilgrim on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 12:08 am

These spectators on the High Street were unpaid extras filmed during the parade in A Canterbury Tale:



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Post  Pilgrim on Sat 09 Sep 2017, 12:10 am

British Boxing champion Billy Wells played the role of the Knight in A Canterbury Tale.



Wells was one of the men hired to strike the gong before the start of a RANK movie.

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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 5:05 am

Kathleen Sybil (Reid) Lucas (1889-1989) was the uniformed woman who was approached by Alison Smith (Sheila Sim) for help with street directions. Kathleen, who was awarded a MBE in World War One for her services to Civil Defence, was a true British patriot who also joined the Women's Voluntary Services and became County Borough Organiser for Canterbury.



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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 5:42 am

Emeric Pressburger was refused a Temporary Residence Permit by Kent Chief Constable Percy Sillitoe (insert) on the grounds that he was a Hungarian who had once worked in Berlin.



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Post  Pilgrim on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 5:43 am

The bell ringing in the opening and closing shots of the movie were a miniature replica of Canterbury Cathedral's tower. The bells were "rung" by local bell ringers who pulled the strings with finger and thumb to a playback of the real bells.

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