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A Morbid Taste for Bones

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

75 minute feature film DVD.

A medieval Benedictine monk with a penchant for solving mysteries using deductive reasoning, Brother Cadfael, as expertly portrayed by actor Derek Jacobi in a series of programs produced for British television, tackles a murder case that grows out of a search for the bones of a martyred saint. Traveling from the Abbey of Shrewsbury to Wales after a young monk claims to have had a vision of the martyred St. Winifred, Cadfael and his fellow monks locate the holy relics, which they hope to return to their own abbey. The locals, however, insist that their beloved saint's bones shall remain in Wales, and the monks find themselves being thwarted by a proud Welsh lord who is soon found murdered. The suspicious locals point fingers at the English monks and at a young man in love with the lord's daughter. Cadfael, with the help of a beautiful and plucky heroine (played by Anna Friel), finally figures it all out and justice is ultimately done. The plot has some intelligent and unexpected twists, and fine acting from the supporting cast provides a solid complement to Jacobi's understated performance as the detective monk. Also worth noting is the artfully rendered historical ambience that makes this film, like others featuring Brother Cadfael, worthwhile even for those who don't generally watch mysteries. --Robert J. McNamara

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Special Features

  • Ellis Peters Biography and Bibliography

Product Details

  • Actors: Derek Jacobi, Michael Culver, Julian Firth, Terrence Hardiman, Mark Charnock
  • Directors: Sebastian Graham Jones
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2000
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1569384266
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,160 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Morbid Taste for Bones" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love the Brother Cadfael mysteries - I watched them on TV quite a few times and when the DVDs became available I ordered them immediately. Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk living during the war-torn years of the middle ages. Stationed in England but of Welsh descent, he was a crusader during his middle years and therefore has knowledge of both the outer world as well as the church life.
This particular episode, coming in the 3rd year of production, is one of the more intriguing stories. The sets and costumes are all well broken in, the actors are very deep into their roles. We now have Cadfael sent against his will to bring back the bones of a young Welsh martyr. He feels for the community, he understands the monks needs, and he tries to find a balance between them. He does not what is expected but what he truly feels is right.
It's interesting because this was actually the first book written in the series, but since it was filmed late on in the TV cycle, the characters are quite familiar with each other and to the audience.
Derek Jacobi is excellent, and you get an interview with him on the DVD. If you're a fan of the actor or the series, definitely a great DVD to get!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Xeneri on August 12, 2000
Format: DVD
"Have a care with visionaries, they are not always bidable," Brother Cadfael in the beginning of A MORBID TASTE FOR BONES. In this installement, the Abbot instructs former soldier turned Monk, Cadfael to journey to Wales and bring back thr bones of St Winifred, so that she may rest in the care of Shrewsberry's Abbey.
Reluctantly Cadfael does as he is told and leads some of his brethren to rescue Winifred. By difficulties arise when Lord Rhysart and the good people of Gwytherin do not wish to give up the saint. Rhysart vows to protect her and her burial place to the death. Prophetic, since he is found murdered the next morning.
Cadfael must solve the mystery else he and his Benedictine brothers die themselves. After separating facts from lies, Cadfael sees to it that St. Winifred and Columbarnus both rest peacefully. Those fascinated by Medieval pagan rituals and customs will enjoy this mystery.
If you've never read any of the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters you are in for a treat.  This series originaly broadcast on the BBC are faithful adaptions about a master sleuth in Monk's clothing. Brother Cadfael is a monk with a difference and never what he seems. Given a choice, he would rather work in his garden or practice his herbal remedies. But too often, events force him to use his detective skills in response to mysterious crimes happening in his community, often finding himself at odds with the medievil times in which he lives.
This DVD release includes an audio commentary by Derek Jacobi and a Ellis Peters Biography, complemented by full frame, 2.0 stereo sound. A nice little package for Cadfael fans.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Atheen on July 20, 2002
Format: DVD
I enjoy a good murder mystery of the classical type, and the Brother Cadfael series is particularly good. The author Ellis Peters (Edith Pargiter, 1913-1995), like Agatha Christie, Nagio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers, was popular during the mid-20th Century and wrote prolifically during that time. There are some 20 Cadfael books. The film A Morbid Taste for Bones, based upon the book of the same name is incredibly authentic and colorful. The different orders of society: nobleman, servant, military man, tradesman, artisan, abbott, monk, and priest are carefully wrought to produce a period piece with more detail and clearer dialogue than a Shakespearean play. It would be a wonderful way of introducing young people to history.
The setting of the story is 12th Century England, a period of particular turmoil. Henry I had died without a legitimate male heir, and he had designated his daughter Matilda as his successor, binding his nobles by oath to support her. Although many of them did, including her very able half brother, an illegitimate son of Henry made an Earl by his father, many of them threw their support behind her cousin, Steven. Matilda, or Maud as she is referred to, was a granddaughter of William the Conqueror and no push over herself. She fought her cousin from a base in coastal France, where the family held land in fief of the King of France and where marriage alliances had placed her as wife of Geoffery, the Duke of Anjou. With her Norman support in France and her loyal factions in England, she made enough of a threat to Steven's rule to ultimately obtain a guarantee of succession to the English throne for her son Henry, ultimately Henry II. Until that time, warfare turned most of England into a battle ground and life for everyone a matter of ceaseless uncertainty.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on October 22, 2000
Format: DVD
Fans of Ellis Peters know she was born in Wales and her protagonist Brother Cadfael was also of Welsh birth. They also know that Peters wrote history under her real name, Edith Pargeter. One of her books describes a battle near Shrewsbury where the Welsh attempted with Sir Percy (Harry Hotspurs) to defeat Henry IV in the early 1400s. Fans of Shakespeare's Henry VI Part II know that Sir Percy died on Shrewsbury battlefield, and that the Welsh were defeated and Henry V became the Prince of Wales and a "national" hero. Pargeter, writing in the 20th Century had not forgotten the humiliating defeat, and in her own way she contributed to the Welsh independence movement underway in the U.K. at this time.
I mention all this, even though these events occured after Cadfael's exploits take place in the mid-1100s, because it is important to understand the long history of tension between the people of Wales who are primarily descended from the Celts and the people of Norman descent who served as priests in the monasteries of Cadfael's era and beyond (the brothers were normally Anglo-Saxon). And, of course the aristocracy including Henry IV and V was Norman.
In "A Morbid Taste for Bones" (the first of Peter's 20 volumes on the life of Brother Cadfael the Benedictine monk), Cadfael is fairly new at his vocation, although he is in his fifties. At one point in the series a rather nasty priest says to Cadfael, "You came late to the church" to which he replies, "I came when God called."
Brother Cadfael is constantly challenged by the Norman monks who are "fathers" (can hear confessions and grant absolution) partly because of his age and his past career as a soldier who killed other men, but mostly because of his Welsh background.
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