Propaganda Pilgrims

What would our Canterbury pilgrims make of the world we have created since their departure?

Whitstable Views

by Christopher James Stone

A Canterbury Tale links us to more than one past

A Canterbury Tale is a weird old propaganda film of the 1940s.It was made by the filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who also made The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death and Black Narcissus, among others. It can be found on YouTube and is worth watching, especially for a Canterbury audience, as it includes contemporary shots of bomb sites along Canterbury High Street, where the film comes to an end. It’s a strange mix: part mystery, part history, part spiritual quest, and much of it was shot in and around the villages of Kent, which gives the film a romantic, nostalgic feel.

The plot is ludicrous, involving a mysterious “glue-man” who pours glue over women’s hair after dark. The three central characters meet on the…

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