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Tricia's retro film review: The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales


The Canterbury Tales is the 1972 adaptation of the book by Geoffrey Chaucer and directed by Pier Pablo Pasolini. Several pilgrims stay at an inn while on their way to St. Thomas Beckett’s shrine. They decide to pass the time by telling tales. They range from an incompetent man who cannot seem to keep a job, a newlywed woman who tricks her husband when he goes blind by saying that her affair was a hallucination and a greedy friar who gets his just desserts on both Earth and Hell. Framing these stories is the tale of Geoffrey Chaucer writing the book.

This entry of the Trilogy of Life series continues the tradition of cheerful vulgarity found in the Decameron. Although some viewers will be grossed out by the extended urination scene. Doctor Who fans will be amused by Tom Baker’s role, as he plays the Wife of Bath’s husband in a hilariously crazy story where he gets his nose bit. Pasolini clearly enjoys writing the story of the friar who goes to Hell, as it points out the church’s hypocrisy. Honolulu film fans should buy this film.

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