Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.
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Canterbury 1935: Murder in the Cathedral
T S Eliot stars in this remarkable film from Sydney Bligh - attending a performance of his famous play 'Murder in the Cathedral' in the story's actual location
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The film begins with a procession to the Christ Church Gateway in Canterbury Cathedral's precinct. With the Lord Mayor and other dignitaries in attendance, Archbishop Cosmo Lang unveils the restored structure. After an open-air tea, we see T S Eliot attending a performance of his historical play, 'Murder in the Cathedral' - enacted in the very location where the play is set. With him is the producer, E Martin Browne, dressed as a monk and the lead actor, Robert Speaight.
Sydney Bligh's remarkable film captures T S Eliot and other members of the production of 'Murder in the Cathedral' a week after the play's first performance on the 15th June 1935, where the play was staged in Canterbury Cathedral's Chapter House. Written for the 1935 Canterbury Festival, Eliot's play was the result of a request to the author and poet by George Bell, at that time the Bishop of Chichester. Bishop Bell had himself been the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral from 1924 to 1929.