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House of Cards [DVD]

Ian Richardson , David Lyon    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
Price: 8.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

House of Cards [DVD] + State Of Play: Complete BBC Series [2003] [DVD] + The State Within : Complete BBC Series [2006] [DVD]
Price For All Three: 17.25

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Product details

  • Actors: Ian Richardson, David Lyon, Diane Fletcher
  • Writers: Andrew Davies
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 8 April 2013
  • Run Time: 642 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BM8STW0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


From Amazon.co.uk

Political drama doesn't get more near the knuckle than Michael Dobbs' House of Cards trilogy, adapted for the screen by Andrew Davies and originally broadcast in the post-Thatcher years of the early 1990s. A splendid dissection of naked ambition, greed and rampant hypocrisy in the corridors of power, the original four-part series House of Cards documents in thrilling detail the rise of Tory Chief Whip Francis Urquhart (magnificent Ian Richardson), a man who likes to "put the stick about a bit" and has unwavering contempt for those with "no background, no bottom". With the downfall of Margaret Thatcher, a bitter internecine power struggle ensues within the Conservative Party. Urquhart schemes more devilishly than Iago to depose Thatcher's colourless John Major-style successor. And even Machiavelli would baulk at Urquhart's methods: any and every act--including murder--are legitimate as the end very much justifies the means. Idealistic journalist Matti Storin (Susannah Harker) becomes embroiled in Urquhart's nefarious plans (and ends up in his bed) as she attempts to question him about what's really going on: "You might think so, I couldn't possibly comment," is Urquhart's mantra of hypocrisy.

In To Play the King, the second part of the trilogy, we find our anti-hero comfortably installed as PM at No. 10 but facing a fresh challenge in the person of the newly crowned King (Michael Kitchen in a pitch-perfect Prince Charles impersonation), who wears his social conscience on his sleeve and publicly opposes Urquhart's hardline policies. With the help of political analyst and new mistress Sarah Harding (Kitty Aldridge), as well as that of his ambitious wife Elizabeth (Diane Fletcher), Urquhart is forced to resort to still more underhand plots. Then, in The Final Cut, we find Urquhart determined to last as long in office as Mrs Thatcher (whose statue, much to his chagrin, is about to be unveiled in front of his window). But ambitions to make a mark on the world stage, as well as his wife's desire to provide themselves a comfortable retirement nest egg, lead him into the choppy international waters of the Cyprus situation. The temptations of corrupt businessmen and his wife's goading might just have pushed Urquhart's luck too far this time.

Throughout, Richardson is a delight as the hypocritical, arrogant patrician who loathes the hoi polloi whose favour he must court at election time, and manipulates all his minions with a ruthless singlemindedness of purpose. However much a monster he seems, though, the viewer might just find themselves secretly admiring his determination and his lion-like strength of will: in contrast to many drab modern politicians, at least he knows what he wants, and makes sure he gets it. If it's strong leadership you want, Urquhart's your man.

On the DVD: The House of Cards trilogy has the three four-part series on three double-sided discs, with two hour-long episodes on each side of each disc. The first episodes come with a commentary from Andrew Davies and Ian Richardson, who share their memories and anecdotes. --Mark Walker

Product Description

Box set containing the Urquhart trilogy: three series based on the bestselling novels by Michael Dobbs, starring Ian Richardson as corrupt politician Francis Urquhart. In 'House of Cards', Urquhart is a long-serving MP who has his eye on the top job, and will stop at nothing to fulfil his ambition. As the trusted Chief Whip, he has insider knowledge that could bring down the already precarious Prime Minister, and in order to unleash his power he draws innocent young journalist Mattie Storin (Susannah Harker) into his schemes. 'To Play the King' continues to follow Urquhart's career. Having been made Prime Minister at the end of the last series after murdering an investigative reporter, he now crosses swords with the newly crowned monarch (Michael Kitchen) - a passionate man with firm liberal beliefs on the future of the country. In the final part of the trilogy, 'The Final Cut', Urquhart is well on his way to becoming Britain's longest-serving Prime Minister, and is starting to plan his retirement. He still has the Cyprus peace treaty to tie up, however, and the dark secrets from his past are beginning to come back to haunt him.

Important product note: The DVDs in this box set play on both sides, and therefore no printed information or artwork appears on the discs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
133 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence in television 15 April 2006
The House of Cards saga is a tremendous achievement in television: expert direction including the use of 'piece to camera' monologues, beautifully constructed tension and an acting triumph by the main player, Ian Richardson. If shows like the West Wing capture our ideal politics, then House of Cards drenches it all in filthy water.

It is the story of naked, ruthless ambition in British politics that shows a staggering realism whilst at the same time allowing for dramatic flights of story. Richardson's Urquart is beautifully played, and the character makes me uneasy in the same way that the Shield's Vic Mackey does: you absolutely know he's a villain, he has done despicable things but damn.

My only wish for television these days is that they invest in drama like this: it is a thoroughly watchable drama, and gets the full five stars for being so.
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107 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 22 July 2004
The House of Cards Trilogy must surely be rated as one of the best contemporary dramas ever made. Ian Richardson's performance is simply breathtaking, and Andrew Davies' scripts the work of a true genius. As well as the stunning central performance by Richardson, the cast and crew as a whole deserve great praise.
And there's a bonus in the shape of commentaries over the first episode of each of the three series by Richardson, Davies and Producer Ken Riddington, which are both enlightening and at times amusing.
Would I recommend the purchase of this DVD set? You might very well think that...
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc 25 Oct 2008
Sorry about the title but it seems so apt - "After it, therefore because of it". I first saw this series when first broadcast way back when and I remember it being brilliant. However I have, in similar fashion, bought other series and programs from my dim and distant past released on DVD and been bitterly disappointed when I watched them (testament to a fading memory or a desperate attempt to cling on to my childhood). One or two exceptions (Edge of Darkness and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy being most notable) kept my faith. So, I bought it, unwrapped it, placed it in my DVD player and instantly lost the next 4 hours of my life! It is quite simply the best British TV drama the BBC has ever produced! Forget period time pieces (yes, ladies, even Mr. Darcy climbing out of a lake) this is the most engaging TV I have ever seen. Ian Richardson inexorably draws you in to his spider's web of intrigue, you become complicit when he confides in your directly through the camera and you end each episode feeling vaguely guilty and you're not sure why! If you remember HoC first time around, buy it! If you didn't see it first time around, buy it! If you simply appreciate first class, gripping drama and first rate acting, buy it! Otherwise, buy it anyway!
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best 20 July 2004
Everything has been said about the artistic merits of this series. Yes, the acting is fantastic, yes the dialogue is sharp, sarcastic and very eloquent and the characters are just wonderfully entertaining to watch. But there are three main reasons why this series is legendary. First, the actual events overtaking the original broadcast with the resignation of Margaret Thatcher, second, the fantastic Ian Richardson, and third, the direct-to-camera acting of the main character, dragging the audience into his evil deeds. I taped the series when it was broadcast over here in Germany, I bought the tapes from the BBC and finally I own the whole thing on DVD. I know it by heart anyway, because I must have seen it a thousand times, and I'm still not tired of it, because Richardson alone makes this so entertaining.
Although the first installment is widely regarded to be the best, i agree with the first two episodes. They are the best of the whole series, and the finale on the rooftop is just shocking, but the overall best series for me always has been "To play the king" because Michael Kitchen is just fabulous as the monarch and strong opponent to Urquhart. The last series "The final cut" has this air of sadness all through it, and is basically a farewell to Urquharts character. He gets what he deserves for sure, but the viewer is left oddly unsatisfied with the end. It's just sad in my view. Overall it is almost eleven hours of high quality political satire with shocking moments, unforgettable bonmots and the best British acting has to offer.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get much better than this! 28 Oct 2007
By Sophie Masson VINE VOICE
We watched this astonishing series over three white-knuckle days, drawn immediately into the corrupt, cynical, ambitious, frightening, murderous, elegant world of Francis Urqhuart as easily as flies drawn into a spider's web! This is so beautifully plotted, magnificently performed and brilliantly scripted that you run out of superlatives. It also has a marvellously intriguing ''alternative history'' feel that works really well because it evokes both the distant past--the trilogy is stuffed full of Jacobean allusions and atmosphere--but also the less distant past, like the post-Thatcher era, and the present. Political thrillers don't get much better than this!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 6 July 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Gripping! I will not repeat what others have said here, some of the best television I have seen in a long time.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Bottom of the Deck! 17 July 2007
What if Shakespeare's Lord and Lady Macbeth had been temporally transported into twenty-first century Britain? They would certainly be reincarnated into the insidious Francis Urquhart and his formidable spouse Elizabeth. In their new personae, 'MacUrquhart' would still be haunted by guilty visions but would shed any qualms about committing murder in the interests of power, and 'Lady MacUrquhart' would waste no more time sleepwalking but sustain her role as the actual but invisible control over the man with titular authority.

The "House of Cards Trilogy," which includes "To Play the King" and "Final Cut," not only portrays such a ghastly scenario, but also demonstrates the disastrous consequences for a post-modern Britain when such a pair first insinuates itself into a position of power and then seizes and maintains an unrelenting grip on that power, even if, in the final analysis, it has to provoke a bloody war to do so. Thanks to Andrew Davies' darkly comedic script, Ian Richardson's brilliant portrayal of Francis, and a splendid supporting cast, the viewer is locked in suspense and held in a state somewhere between laughing and cringing at the political shenanigans, too many of which resound with an uncomfortable ring of contemporary probability.

The humor derives from Richardson as Francis, who ruptures the invisible barrier between illusion and reality by taking the audience into his confidence. In "House of Cards" he does this with such wry wit that viewers are drawn easily into his thrall, so much so that despite their better natures and common sense, they find themselves liking and identifying with this charming unapologetic scoundrel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu ray review.
Any body who has binged on Spacey, then turned to the original on Netflix,will be very pleased with this blu ray. Read more
Published 7 days ago by whiteside
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
The version you sent to me is aimed to the Dutch market (subtitles for dutch only). I expected at least English subtitles for deaf and handicapped people. I am disappointed.
Published 10 days ago by Manuel Correia
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy original version..
Ian Richardson is just faultless in this rather dated version of House of Cards, It would be pointless to compare the US version as they really are so different... Read more
Published 14 days ago by mal
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Can't recommend this enough. The transfer to blu ray has been done impeccably, the picture is stunning, so if you can, get the blu ray version. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Changed Daily
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow Wow Wow
I can't describe it. It is a one off and was really hooked from the start. Ian Richardson was absolutely amazing....I couldn't believe anyone be be that evil. Read more
Published 20 days ago by J. M. Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb drama but Dutch subtitles on mine
This original version of HoC, now being reproduced in American form, is superior by far, with mesmeric acting by Ian Richardson, bettering even Kevin Spacey's excellent turn. Read more
Published 25 days ago by John Donne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Drama
You might think that a series about the British political scene post-Margaret Thatcher would be a yawn-fest but not so. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Fleur
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as Good as I Remember...
The story, the performances... all superb. A little bit more surreal (or perhaps "hyper" real) than the recent American remake, yet somehow the larger than life characters... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Jolyon Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Menu Language
Didn't realise that the menu options and CD cover would be in Dutch and that only way to turn off subtitles is with the remote - appears to be no such option in the menu. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CHRIS OLDHAM
5.0 out of 5 stars What I expected
I remember this series very well. I considered it to be one of the best British TV productions of recent years, and, it is still "up there", as far as I am concerned.
Published 1 month ago by Robert R.
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