Distant Voices, Still Lives

Synopsis: The second film in Terence Davies's autobiographical series ('Trilogy', 'The Long Day Closes') is an impressionistic view of a working-class family in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool, based on Davies's own family. The first part, 'Distant Voices', opens with grown siblings Eileen (Angela Walsh), Maisie (Lorraine Ashbourne) and Tony (Dean Williams), and their mother (Freda Dowie) arranged in mourning clothes before the photograph of their smiling father (Pete Postlethwaite). Soon after, the family poses in a similar tableau, but for a happier occasion - Eileen's wedding. While relatives sing at her reception, Eileen hysterically grieves for her dad, and recalls happy times of her youth. Tony and Maisie's memories, however, are more troubled. Davies intermingles and contrasts scenes like the family peacefully lighting candles in church with the brutal man beating his wife and terrorizing his young children. In 'Still Lives', set (and filmed) two years later, the siblings are settled in life, b
Genre: Drama, Music
Director(s): Terence Davies
Production: Film Four International
  10 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
85 min

The shipping forecast for today and tonight.

Iceland, Bailey, Faroes.

Fresh or strong southwest winds,

with gales in North Iceland, at first.

Occasional showers with snow in the north.

Visibility otherwise good.

Fair Isle, Cromarty, Forties...

South-southwest gales

spreading from the west with rain

and moderate or poor visibility.

Shannon, Irish Sea, Fastnet, Lundy, Sole...

- Fresh or strong

- It's seven o'clock, you three.

Occasional rain or drizzle

Visibility becoming moderate or poor

with some fog banks.

Plymouth, Portland, Wight, Dover, Thames,

Humber, Heligoland, East Dogger...

- Light or moderate

- Eileen? Tony? Maisie?

You'd better get your skates on.

...apart from coastal fog or mist patches

morning and night...

- Morning, Mom.

- Tony are those two sisters of yours up yet?

Yeah, they're just coming down.

- Oh, hi Mom.

- Morning, Maisie.

- Morning Mom

- Morning honey

- Nervous love?

- A bit

Have a cuppa and a ciggie

I get the blues when it's raining

The blues I can't lose when it rains

Now each little raindrop

Falls on my window pane

Reminds me of the tears I shed

The tears were all in vain

So I sit and wait for the sun to shine

To shine all my blues away

It rained when I met you

And it rained when I lost you

So I get the blues when it rains

There's a man

Going round

Taking names

There's a man

Going round

Taking names

He has taken my father's name

And he's left my heart in pain

There's a man

Going round

Taking names

Death is that man taking names

Death is that man taking names

He has taken my brother's name

And he's left my heart in pain

There's a man going round

Taking names

There's a man

Going round

Taking names

I wish my dad was here.

I don't

He was a bastard and I bleedin' hated him

- Can I have the money to go to the dance?

- Get that cellar done. Never mind dances.

But dad there's rats down there.

I'm terrified of rats.

No cellar, no dance.

Can I go to the dance, Dad?


You're just like your Auntie May!

And she was no bleedin' good!

I don't half wish me dad was here.

Come out and fight me, you bastard!

Come out and fight!

Come out and fight me, you bastard!

You bastard!

Come out and fight!

Will you have a drink with me, Dad?


Have a drink with him, Tommy.


I said...


Two pence,

that's all I've got.

But I wouldn't give you daylight

Come on, you little bastard!

- Come on! Get in that van.

- Get in that van!

Are you ready, Ei? (Eileen)

Here goes.

Ah, he was all right your dad

You were the only one

who could get round him

What'll you give us for them Mr. D?

Micky, there your dad's working boots

I know, but we've just got to have five bob.

- What for?

- Oh, Dad, we've just got to go to the dance.

I don't know.

You two are bleedin' dance mad.

Oh, go on, Mr. D.

Just five bob.

Don't be snidey.

All right.

I'll lend you the money.

But take the boots back home. OK?

Oh, thanks, Mr. D, you're a pal.

Thanks, Dad.

And be back here by 11.

Bleedin' dance mad.

How are we fixed for a few ciggies, Mr. D?


Eileen! It's nearly 11 oclock

- OK, Dad.

- Just one last ciggie, Mr. D.

I'll be in in a minute, Dad.

You'll get me hung, you will.

Isn't it terrible the way we've got to be in

by 11 o'clock.

I know. It's worse than Alcatraz, isn't it?

Eileen! I won't tell you twice.

Just a few more minutes, Mr. D,

and she'll be in, honest.

Make sure it is only a few

more minutes an' all.

I'm sure I'm getting a brain tumour.

Oh, Micky, behave,

you're healthier than I am.

No, honest, kid.

My head's been banging for days.

- Eileen! What bleedin' time do you call this?

- Blimey.

I'm coming, Dad, I'm coming.

See you, kid.

Look what he's bought me.

It's Chanel No.5.

I know

Isn't that dead romantic?

Before you are joined in matrimony,

I have to remind both of you

of the solemn and binding character

of the vows you are about to make.

This marriage is the union of one man

with one woman

freely entered into, for life,

to the exclusion of all others.

In you come, Maisie.


Oh, oh

Oh, what a gal

There's none so classy

As my fair lassie

Oh, oh

Oh, holy Moses, what a chassis

She went riding

She didn't fall

From the country

I was the one who had to walk

If you knew Susie like I know Susie

Oh, oh what a gal!

My Yiddisher momma...

I, eh! No. Order now.

...I miss her more than ever now...

- Order... Go on, Maisie. Go on.

My Yiddisher momma

I long to kiss her wrinkled brow

I long to hold her hand

As I did in days gone by

And say I'm sorry

For everything that made you cry

How few were her pleasures

She never cared...

I want me dad.

I want me dad!

In the bleak midwinter

Frosty wind made moan

Earth stood hard as iron

Water like a stone

Snow had fallen, snow on snow

Snow on snow

In the bleak midwinter



Our God, heaven cannot hold Him

Nor earth sustain

Heaven and earth shall flee away

When He comes to reign

In the bleak midwinter

A stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty

Jesus Christ...

Say good night to your dad, kids.

Good night, dad.

Good night, kids.

What can I give him

Woeful as I am?

If I were a shepherd

I would bring a lamb

If I were a wise man

God bless, kids.

I would do my part

Yet what can I give him?


My heart


My heart


Clean it up!

Play Limelight, Scouse

That's it, Scouse. Give us a tune.

- It was Schmeling, Scouse.

- You're wrong. Schmeling never won the title.

The heavyweight champions were...

Jack Sharkey, Primo Carnera,



No, I tell a lie, Baer then Braddock.

And then Joe Louis,

who held that title till...

1948 from 1937.

Come on, Scouse.

It takes a worried man

To sing a worried song

It takes a worried man

To sing a worried song

It takes a worried man

to sing a worried song

I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long

Thanks for coming home, son.

I got compassionate leave, Mom.




OK, Dad.


So wherever she may be

Go bring her back to me

Roll along

Roll along



More band!


I like pickled onions

I like pickled cabbage

Piccalilli is all right with a bit of

cold meat on a Sunday night

I like Tommy-a-toes

But the best thing...

- Your gran's in fine fettle.

- Just come back from the Isle of Man.

She should have stayed there.

She's just like me dad and I bleedin' hate her.

- Whoopie!

- More bleeding punch!

Don't fall Mom

Please don't fall

Why did you marry him, Mom?

He was nice.

He was a good dancer

Here I go again

I hear those trumpets blow again

All a glow again

Taking a chance on love

Here I slide again

About to take that ride again

Starry-eyed again...

- No! Never be like that!

- No! Tommy, no!

Tommy, no! Please, Tommy!

Oh, Tommy, no!

Shut up. Shut up!

- Aaah!

- Shut up, shut up!

Shut up!

I never would try

But now I'm taking the game up

And the ace of hearts is high

Things are mending now

I see a rainbow blending now

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Terence Davies

Terence Davies (born 10 November 1945) is an English screenwriter, film director, novelist and actor. He is best known as the writer and director of Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992) as well the collage film Of Time and the City (2008). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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