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Dancing On The Edge 2013

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Set in a time of immense change, Dancing on the Edge tells the story of a black jazz group, the Louis Lester Band, as they rise to fame, entertaining guests at exclusive high society gatherings in 1930's London. While many recoil at the presence of black musicians in polite society, the capital's more progressive socialites, including younger members of the Royal Family, take the band under their wing. In this explosive five-part series, Stephen Poliakoff returns to television with his most ambitious work to date. Dancing on the Edge provides a new angle on an extraordinary time in history, giving us a piercingly original vision of Britain in the 1930s; a time of glamour, hardship, vibrant new music and financial meltdown.

Starring:
Austin Hardiman, Peter Brown
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 6 hours 0 minutes
Starring Austin Hardiman, Peter Brown, Martine Richards, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicholas Blatt, Jenna-Louise Coleman, John Goodman, Calvin Dean
Director Stephen Poliakoff
Genres Drama
Studio SPIRIT ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 11 March 2013
Main languages English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This has all the trademarks of a Poliakoff drama: immaculate, beautiful upper crust people in artistically posed scenes, long meaningful looks, and an obsession with photographs. Yet despite the often slow pace, the dialogues are much sharper than I expected and it also has quite a tight, intriguing and at times tense plot. This is what probably made me enjoy it more than any previous work by Poliakoff, together with its focus on an interesting and little-covered aspect of 1930s Britain, in which we see the mercurial rise and sad fall of a talented band of black musicians. After catching the eye of Stanley, an ambitious young music journalist, they gain bookings at the once grand now gradually decaying Imperial Hotel and even attract the attention of the Prince of Wales and his brother before tragedy and scandal destroy their budding popularity. The prejudice the players face is probably quite realistic for the period, and borne with great dignity by the suave and super-controlled pianist Louis. And of course, there is the alternating rhythm and pathos of the music played with such verve beneath the distinctive rainbow arch of The Imperial.
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This is a wonderful series, with an excellent cast, music and design. Set in the 1930s amidst the slightly seedy glamour of London hotels and night clubs, this is a tale of suspense and racism. Even if you don't like jazz (I don't) you will enjoy it.
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'Dancing on the Edge' is sublime. I remember watching this on-line, when it first came out in the hope that I would find it to be an enjoyable drama. What I got was one of the best thrillers I've ever watched on television.

The six episodes focus on a Jazz band in the 1930's and how their new found success propels them into the upper echelons of society and the sinister events that unfold as a consequence. The performances are incredible, but this is hardly surprising with such a seasoned and talented cast. I'd recommend this to anyone who simply loves a good story, period piece or thriller.
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...by which I mean that you have to have an attention span, an interest & knowledge of recent history (yes, I do mean BEFORE you were born!) & an appreciation of quality popular music.
Poliakof could be accused of pushing the bandwagon that some English people were as prejudiced & racist as the Germans were, a bit too far, but it's a reality that is worth pointing out, to audiences who know nothing of their own country's past. On the other hand, it should also be pointed out that persecuted persons in Hitler's Reich were extremely eager to escape to Britain.
The psycho, sexually perverted aristocrat is played well, as is the horrible reality of covering up murder & placing the 'rap' on the black man.
As usual, with Poliakof, there are slow scenes in near-empty rooms, much un-spoken tension & innuendo, an assumption of blase wealth, and parents from Hell!
I enjoyed the music, but as an aficionado of 1930s British dance band music, I suspect that Lester's style is more 1945+ than pre-war. However, no doubt the message is that British music was 'behind' USA jazz. That's not actually correct, but film makers love to trot out their bias.
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Loved this when it was on tv and as I didn't get to see the last 2 episodes I wanted to catch up with it. It's something a little different and the music is great. As someone born and brought up in Birmingham I was delighted to see the Grand Hotel featured. It's been very well made and I think the word 'sumptuous' might fairly be applied to it.
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This took a bit of time to get into but proved addictive. Wonderful cast and beautifully shot. Evocative of a time when white tie and even black tie was the norm for dressing up, oh for those days again.
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I watched this when it aired and couldn't wait for the DVD to arrive although I will admit that I wanted the CD even more as the music is just fantastic. Some people thought the end was a let down - yes you can pick holes if you want to but considering I normally think Poliakoff overrated I was very impressed with this indeed. He captured the essence of musicians mixing with and being patronised by the rich though they can never be fit into that world and the conflict this can create.
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Format: DVD
First of all, please completely ignore the short, sour review containing the words 'chronic', 'stomach-churning'. I have to say this is offensive, silly bilge: it's a pity this has to be almost the first review you read. It sounds like this reviewer was watching something else. There's enough on TV to qualify for these insults, but 'Dancing on the Edge' was emphatically not in that category. On the contrary it was something special, a riveting experience and classic Poliakoff. Profound, serious and thought-provoking with plenty to say about tolerance between communities and individuals, fabulously set in the early 1930s as Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. Spell-binding acting, great music, wonderfully shot with every frame carefully considered. Sure, you needed patience to see it through to the end, but that's the point: it was all the better for the time it took. The journey was consistently fascinating and ultimately devastating. Almost worth the licence fee on its own. Buy it!
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