Film: 5612

Feature Drama | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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Dramatisation of Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale 1950's

Water running beneath blossom. Rain on leafy vegetation. Voice over quotes lines of Chaucer's Prologue to Canterbury Tales in middle English and then in translation. Pilgrims riding and walking through English countryside. All wearing medieval costume. Canterbury Cathedral. Pilgrims pass before it. Stained glass windows of Canterbury Cathedral. 14th century painting of Chaucer reading to crowd. 14th century paintings of rural life, battles, horsemen crossing bridge. Shots of the pages of Canterbury Tales. Interior of Inn. Inn keeper opens door and the pilgrims enter to warm themselves round fire. The group of Pilgrims on their pilgrimage in the countryside. The knight described in translation from the Prologue and accompanied by painting of knight, similarly Wife of Bath, Miller, Pardoner. Pilgrims enter room calling for Pardoner to tell a 'Merry Tale'. He begins after drinking and little preamble. His story is illustrated by moving images, a rat, lute, cob web, two men sleeping in a tavern, another three sitting around table. They hear bell ringing and connect it with death. One man calls the sleeping waiter over to find out who has died. The waiter tells him of the plague. The three men decide to kill death. They knock table over and leave. The three men laughing drunkenly in a stage set made to look like countryside. Old man in black cloak approaches them and tells them that he yearns for death. One man threatens old man with dagger in order to find out where death is. Old man shows them the way. At the tree where death is supposed to be they find pile of money. They laugh and congratulate themselves. They decide to draws straws as to who will perform certain tasks before they take money away. The youngest begins to walk away (he has drawn shortest straw) but decides to have all the money. Goes to visit apothecary to get poison. The other two fight. Youngest returns, all three fight. Youngest stabbed. The other two drink poison and they die. Back to the Pardoner. He attempts to collect money from his audience but is unsuccessful. The group leave the room.

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