Brassed Off (UK)
The most enjoyable feel-good British movie since Four Weddings and a Funeral
Running Time: 103 mins
Retail Price: £19.99
Content Type: Movie
It`s 1992, and the miners of Grimley Colliery are facing uncertainty. Not only is their pit under threat, but the Grimley Colliery Band is on the verge of breaking up - that is, until Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald) arrives.
As the only female member of the band, she somehow manages to rekindle their enthusiasm for the forthcoming National Championships, as well as rekindling a childhood romance with Andy (Ewan McGregor).
Lead by the passionate Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) the band play on. Danny has his pride and his trombonist son, Phil (Stephen Tompkinson), has his problems. Problems which even Mr. Chuckles, the clown, can`t seem to help him solve.
With the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall looming, can they all hold it together and secure a famous victory for Grimley?
Full Motion Menus
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 English
Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Director of Photography:
Channel Four Films
Your Opinions and Comments
Brassed off - a film about the brass band world and a bit of a political statement on the miners cause.
For better or worse - I was involved in the brass banding world at the time this film came out. Not as a player, but with spousal connections I was dragged along.
I`ve attended many brass band competition finals, been up and down motorways on coaches filled with hard drinking cornet players. I`ve spent more than one wet wintery weekend in blackpools guest houses and wintergarden, listening to the same piece of music being played by 20-30 different bands.
The bands are like football teams, arrange into sections. 4 being the lowest, 3, 2, 1 and championship. If you get enough points from competitions in a year, you may go up a section, not enough and down you go.
The rules are strict and its fascinating to watch (for brief periods!).
The judge (or judges) are escorted into a curtained off "box" before proceedings begin. The bands are drawn out of a hat, and assemble on stage, identified audibly only by number. They wait for a whistle from the "box" and then play, then leave the stage. Once all is over, the judge(s) are released.
They tot up the marks, and the results are checked over by more officials.
Tension? you couldn`t even insert a scalpel into the air let alone a knife!
Usually the judge then gives his overall impressions, what he liked and disliked in general, before eventually getting around to announcing whose won.
Then there is then a dash to get the remarks sheet, where the judge gives a bar by bar destruction of the bands performance.
Followed by an extremely hasty retreat to the bar where they will stay for the rest of that day - and some sections are all over by midday!
Its an interesting (as in the "may you live in intresting times" curse) world to put it mildly. The stories I could tell...
On a good day it can put the plot of eastenders to shame, actually probably on an average day!
The band I got sucked into even appeared in a 30 minute TV documentary, amd won the midlands regional final that year. They also played in the London finals.
Grimley town band (a possible play on the more famous Grimethorpe, who play the real sound track? Surely not), a band composed of mainly coal miners, and are one of the top brass bands in the country.
All members of the band have to come from the town, and most work at the local mine. (In real life, a top band would not be so picky I can tell you, having no quarms about getting a top player from any other band in a minute by fair means or foul!)
Enter a woman flugal player, who has taken an administrative position at the mine. It turns out she was also born in Grimley and so can play in the band. Welcome news to the all male band, given her looks!
She wows them with her playing (and possibly her looks), joins the band, and they begin their shot at the all England brass band championships.
You just know its not going to be a smooth ride, and when it turns out the extra admin is to help close down the pit, there is quite a lot on the players minds. Strikes, scabs, the band starts to come second in their loyalties. Hardships, health problems, money problems all conspire against them. However, there is a fierce sense of community that binds them together, just a question of whether it will be enough.
It portrays the world pretty well for the most part. The choice of music to play in the various contests is rather suspect. At championship level, I have yet to hear a piece with a recongiseable tune played! The pieces are all set pieces normally, and are technically extremely difficult, but certainly nothing you could hum. If you ever go to one of these events, listen to the lower sections - they are usually very good but have much nicer music to listen too!
Pete Postlethwaite (Danny) plays an excellent musical director/conductor. I can tell you many conductors would not be as polite as he was, but he lives and breathes brass banding like they all do. Its not a question of life and death to them you understand, its much more important than that (apologies to B.S.).
Phil: I love the band - we all do - but there`s other things in life, you know, that`s more important.
Danny: Not in mine there isn`t.
Tara Fitzgearld is certainly an attractive package. There are plenty of female members of most brass bands these days. I warn you, do not try and drink such a member under the table without considerable practice! Anyway, thanks to Tara and this film, my wife once had to play Rodriguez`s Concerto de Aranjuez with the band outside a video rental store one freezing winters day - thanks Tara. :/ :p
Stephen Tompkinson (Phil) plays a good role here, as the miner with divided loyalties. A family on the poverty line due to strike action, his father the conductor, his union colleagues wanting him to back the strike.
Ewan McGregor (Andy) another one with divided loyalites, between Tara and the coal mine.
The rest all come through well.
Good visuals, and the band music comes out pretty well despite the stereo only track.
A few extras, some photos, some interviews and an option to just play the musical sections from the film. Not as packed as you might like, but a reasonable collection. It`s actually quite an old disk in DVD terms.
I`ve been out of this world for a while now. I don`t think the scars will ever leave me though. This film is a pretty good portrayal of the genre. Attempts to score some political points, and has some jolly good brass band music too.