The House of Cards is probably the best black comedy ever made. I hesitated about Comedy, but Ian Richardson's off the cuff remarks to the camera provide the piece with a Brechtian distancing as if to make sure the viewer is emphasized in his role as observer, not part of the play.
The story is well known; the rise of Francis Urquhart to power in 10 Downing Street. He is all we dont want our politicians to be but of we suspect them quite often nevertheless; ruthless, ambitious and completely amoral.
Dobbs and Director seeds take this image to the bitter end. Francis and his wife manipulate, scheme, murder and to no other good then their own. Francis is casually asked by his wife whether he should not start an affair with the journalist protagonist. Nothing seem to indicate that this would put any strain on the marriage; it is a simple manner of progresing to their common goals as are the murders which are committed.
Richardson is more than superb as Francis U. He is hard, he is soothing and, above all,he is the ultimate salesmen of his schemes to his fellow men and women, a manipulator pur sang. His side commenst to the camera are absolutely brilliant.
Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne would always put a smile on my face when ridiculing politics. This grim tale leaves nothing to smile about but forces a deep reflection on politics, ambition and greed.
For me, one of the best BBC series I ever saw.
As the story opens, Thatcher has just resigned. There is a brief glimpse of an inner-party election for a new leader, and the moderate, middle candidate Henry Collingridge wins the post, and proceeds to barely win the next General Election. Almost immediately following this event, tempers begin to flare as Urqhart is denied the promotion he had sought, and is disgusted with Collingridge's 'politics as usual' stance.
Francis Urqhart, Conservative Party whip and functionary, with the unwitting assistance of a junior political reporter Mattie Storin, and the manipulated support of party functionary Roger O'Neill, sets out to undo the Prime Minister, involving the PM in scandals that rock is fragile majority and ever-loosening grip on power. Ultimately, Urqhart's schemes against Collingridge bring the PM down, and the stage is set for another leadership election.
Urqhart, at the urging of his wife Elizabeth, works toward the leadership and works toward solidifying the loyalties of his minions, who include the ruffian Tim Stamper, an associate whip in the Commons, and Benjamin Landless, a newspaper prioprietor. However, it is in making Storin his bedroom partner and virtual worshipper that Urqhart has his strongest support; this support is not absolute, something he recognises. This relationship is done with the blessing, nay, with the urging, of his wife Elizabeth.Read more ›