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Morris: A Life With Bells On [DVD] [2009]


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Product details

  • Actors: Derek Jacobi, Naomie Harris, Ian Hart, Greg Wise, Charles Thomas Oldham
  • Directors: Lucy Akhurst, Producer: Charles Thomas Oldham - Twist Films
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Safecracker Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 26 July 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003JMBDDY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,726 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

MORRIS: A LIFE WITH BELLS ON

A film that will have even the most cynical viewer reaching for their white handkerchiefs, MORRIS: A LIFE WITH BELLS ON stars Charles Thomas Oldham as Derecq Twist, along with Sir Derek Jacobi (The Golden Compass), Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World s End), Ian Hart (A Cock and Bull Story), Dominique Pinon (Delicatessen), Sophie Thompson (Eastenders) Harriet Walter (The Young Victoria), Aidan McArdle (The Duchess), and Greg Wise (Sense and Sensibility).

Described as This is Spinal Tap meets Calendar Girls, the film follows the fortunes of an avant-garde Morris team in their struggle to push the boundaries of the venerable, ancient dance. Set around the country pub The Travellers Staff, the docu-style comedy proves that Morris is not just an innocent pub pastime involving hanky-waving and bearded men with staffs, but also that it has its politics-laden, ultra-competitive side too.

The Millsham Morris men and their leader Derecq Twist are determined to achieve Morris perfection. But Derecq is also preparing to set the Morris world alight by performing the ultimate dance within the Morris firmament, the legendary Threeple Hammer Damson. As if this is not enough, he is in addition pioneering an innovative, daringly freeform brand of the dance dubbed Extreme Morris, drawing the anger of traditionalist elements within the Morris community. When Millsham unveil their creation in competition, the Morris Circle the governing body of Morris in the UK - bans Derecq from future competition. Totally devastated by the decision, Derecq embarks on a global odyssey through tragedy and triumph, which gravely tests his passion for Morris.

www.morrismovie.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Beerbadger on 20 Aug 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My husband and I went to see this at our local Picture House purely because the premise of a comedy all about Morris dancing was too silly to overlook, plus I was intrigued by press reports on the struggles which the makers had to get this to distribution. The cinema experience was fairly surreal as the rest of the theatre was taken up by numerous Morris dancing groups complete with jangling bells and staves, but judging by the reaction everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

'Morris: A Life With Bells On' is is a beautifully-made small independent British film, enhancing the pedigree of bigger-budget British comedies of yore - an observational comedy with pathos that is clearly rooted in an affection for all things Morris-related, whilst appreciating that there is something unavoidably funny about Morris dancing. I am no Morris dancer and certainly not 'alternative' but I enjoyed this film more than I ever imagined, and have been boring others about it ever since. A particularly large coconut or cigar should go to Richard Lumsden for his music, which stands on its own merits as a beautiful collection as well as being an excellent and complementary film score.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By P. G. Lort on 4 May 2010
Format: DVD
I admit it. I'm a Morris Dancer. So I'm probably biased. I saw it with my partner (a non-dancer). And both of us never stopped laughing. Admittedly I was laughing for different reasons sometimes, but what the heck. We had an audience that were predominantly Morris, and it was like being at a folk eqivalent of Rocky Horror....interactive.

This is the sort of film that could have only come from Britain. It's funny, moving, sad...in fact runs the gamut of emotions. Well scripted, directed, filmed and acted.....and more to the point, well danced!!!

This film deserves to be seen by many more people....

And yes, I (and a couple of friends) want to join Orange County Morris.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Bennett's daughter on 7 Mar 2012
Format: DVD
This is great movie about a fictional character who loves morris. It's not a documentary about the dances or the history of morris, but a great tongue-in-cheek look at a dedicated morris dancer and a close knit community who love their world. Too many best bits to mention, but the halucinagenic cider scene and the guys from America have to be at the top of the list. Loads of stereo-typed characters and a certain dry sense of humour...Brilliant. On a par with Nuts In May! Can't wait for the Morris sequel!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. J. B. Philips on 19 Oct 2011
Format: DVD
I haven't laughed as much for a long time. Tears were streaming down my face at times as these dedicated fringe eccentrics took them and their dance form as seriously as if they were protecting the planet from global warming. The characters only lived in the dance context, no other aspect of their lives was important, but neither did it seem to matter, though the characterisation was as wide as it was bizarre.
The middle section would have benefitted from being cut quite dramatically without losing the message it was trying to convey and the ending rescued it to a large extent. The first bit is golden, though. I couldn't recommend it highly enough to any person with pretensions towards truly British eccentricity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By woolly-minded on 24 Sep 2010
Format: DVD
I first saw this film at one of the local Moviola venues. The village hall was packed - which is a bit of a rare event!

I enjoyed the film but worried how it would be perceived by Morris Dancers and aficionados of Morris. Reading the reviews here confirms that Morris Dancers approve and I know an aficionado who enjoyed it: he has watched it a couple of times in a short space of time.

It simply gets better and better with each viewing. The views of the English countryside are wonderful, the characters are so quintessentially English with all the added eccentricities, the music is excellent. I've even started introducing some of the language into everyday use: 'Tubs of Lard for my Old Lady, anyone?'.

This film will go down as a cult movie in the vein of 'Withnail and I'. I will judge future friends on the merits of whether they enjoyed it or not. Highly recommended to all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bellringer on 1 Sep 2010
Format: DVD
This is a mockumentary about the life of a Morris dancing nut, with subtly funny English humour by the bucket full. It helps that it was filmed over the hill from me, so I recognise that the training area is the car park of The Compasses or that the Professor of folk history is named after a village. However, anyone who likes anything English - pubs, landrovers, cider making, small lanes, green fields and of course Morris - will enjoy this for a celebration of our modest and passionate nature that simply does not appear in any American film.

Derek Jacobi, Greg Wise, Harriet Walters and Sophie Thompson were persuaded to appear, and the film was finally dragged to publication after being turned down at every door. More fools the distributors - you've missed the chance of the decade.

Charles Thomas Oldham, who imagined this film and carried it through to DVD, should be knighted for service to the nation.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bunbury on 6 May 2010
Format: DVD
I confess I'm not a Morris dancer, nor a particular follower of anyone waiving hankies, crashing sticks (no doubt they have a technical name) or dancing with bells on, BUT this was an absolute first-rate, must-see British-made film with a quintessentially English plot, and some first-rate actors and acting. I was lucky enough to see it in its rare first-round screening and hope that reaching a wider audience it may be screened further in cinemas across the globe.

For a great evening with a DVD, a pork pie and pint of beer it is a must (works well too with smoked salmon and champagne - or chocolate and a mug of coffee - or...).

Support British rural arts (and film-making) and buy a copy (then support your local Morris Troupe)!
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