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  • The Long Day Closes [VHS]
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The Long Day Closes [VHS]

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Product details

  • Actors: Leigh McCormack, Marjorie Yates, Anthony Watson, Nicholas Lamont, Ayse Owens
  • Directors: Terence Davies
  • Writers: Terence Davies
  • Producers: Angela Topping, Ben Gibson, Colin MacCabe, Maureen McCue, Olivia Stewart
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Curzon
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Oct. 1999
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CMWN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,333 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A collection of moments in the childhood of Bud, a Liverpudlian schoolboy in 1955. Plucked from his cosy home when he is sent to his new Catholic school, the film looks at his loneliness as teachers and pupils pick on him and his increasing isolation at home as he hovers between childhood and adolescence. His beloved film idols and screen stories keep him company in his imagination but in the real world he feels increasingly like a misfit.


An informal sequel to his breakthrough feature Distant Voices, Still Lives, Terence Davies' film revisits the same vivid autobiographical sources as its predecessor. Set in working-class Liverpool in the mid-50s, it's less a linear story than an impressionistic tapestry of sights, sounds, colours and above all music woven together in the head of the 11-year-old protagonist (called Bud, but very clearly meant for Davies himself). Brought up in a mainly female household--widowed mother and four older sisters--Bud undergoes ordeals of bullying and stern punishment at his new Catholic school. But he spends most of his time lapped by the warm fringes of the adult world, of which he's a fascinated observer, often delighted, sometimes obscurely troubled. A nostalgic mix of film clips and popular songs--on the radio or in family sing-songs--contribute to Bud's rich inner life, but sentimentality is held at bay by the poignancy for the boy's situation, alienated from children of his own age and nervously aware of his emergent gay sexuality. Davies' stylised lighting heightens the sense of captured memory, while his stately, elegant camera traces patterns and connections, eliding the borders between reality and fantasy. --Philip Kemp

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By James Anscombe on 1 Aug. 2008
Format: DVD
With the release of Terence Davies's "The Long Day Closes", the BFI are continuing to ensure that the work of Britain's greatest living film-maker is finally made available on DVD.

The undoubted highpoint of this particular DVD is its beautiful transfer, which was overseen by the film's cinematographer Michael Coulter, and by Davies himself. And I do not think this visually ravishing film has ever looked better than it does on this DVD, which also contains a superb commentary by Davies and Coulter, some illuminating footage of Davies directing, and an interesting interview with the film's production designer Christopher Hobbs (who also designed the director's follow-up film "The Neon Bible"). These last two items are both taken from a South Bank Show about Davies that was shown in the early 1990s, and I hope it is not asking too much to say that it would be really great if the BFI could release this on DVD at some point; on the forthcoming DVD of Davies's new film "Of Time and the City", perhaps?

As for the film itself, it remains - in my very humble opinion - one of the best films ever made. It is surely one of the greatest films about childhood, up there with Charles Laughton's "The Night of the Hunter" in its evocation of the joy, terror, and plain confusion of being young. It is very similar to "Distant Voices, Still Lives" in a number of ways. It is about life in Davies's family in 1950s Liverpool after his father had died. It has a structure that is more circular than linear. It is full of lovely music, classical and popular.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Duffy on 4 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The director describes the inner life of a young boy with a series of poignant and moving images that often get lost as we grow older. The family is beautifully drawn, and yet it is as though we are watching ghosts filtered through the young boy's dream-like existence. There is a beautiful scene, very short, where the boy looks from the house window and sees his brother, stripped to the waist, building a wall. Through brilliant direction and acting we know that the boy is filled with love and admiration for his brother, admiration for him as a beautiful man and love for him as his brother, as well as an almost primitive knowledge that things pass, that this moment will be gone. In the heightened, emotional life of the child where everything is highly significant, there is a poignant gap between the strange adult world and this precious small moment.
In a way this film describes how the limited view of the child, confined by the street, school, his friend, makes a whole universe in itself that is larger than the world of the adults around him, despite their mystique, their perceived freedom. At the end of the film the boy and his friend see themselves as part of the mysteries of the universe. They can make the natural leap from the small tragedies of their childhood world and the warm confines of a bustling working class household to the stars and planets that an inspired teacher has introduced them to. They can make that link. A masterpiece.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dame Celia on 4 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Through the use of music,soundtracks of films,minimal dialogue,imaginative lighting and camerawork,the director Terence Davies recreates the lost world of his childhood in 1950s Liverpool. The film is nostalgic but never sentimental and Davies has the marvelous gift of making the mundane poetic.Quite simply a masterpiece and a film that deserves to be better known. It should be in anybodies 100 best films of all time: it's certainly in mine.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Chase Sf Film on 13 Mar. 2009
Format: DVD
Most people are unfamiliar with the films of Terence Davies-- the films are probably not for popular taste--but film lovers who have a taste for beauty are going to experience thrills and chills with this one. The film stands out as one of a kind by virtue of its concepts--a memory, but not in any sequential sense. It is without a linear plot--but the imagery of a young boy's growing pain is so vivid, the characters so memorable, and the visual power so compelling that plot seems beside the point. That said, it takes some adjustment. Be prepared for long takes, languid camera work and lots of visual concepts (which make the film so compelling). Its use of silence, music, mood and an uncanny attention to detail all evoke perfectly a time and place (post-war Liverpool)with brilliance. The isolation and loneliness of the protagonist is captured with skill and feeling and those memories--a carnival, a Christmas party, sitting in the cinema, Guy Hawkes Day, New Year's Night, school, church--all finally converge at the end of the film, and one discovers that through the eyes of a young boy we have learned what real community means. The working class world of Liverpool becomes a metaphor for the sense of belonging, love and community that has slowly passed from much of our lives in the modern world. Davies later work, when shackled with the constraints of commercial cinema loses the deeply personal take of life shown here. The Long Day Closes is a stunning achievement that deserves a much wider audience.
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