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4.3 out of 5 stars42
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 27 October 2007
"Disraeli - Portrait of a romantic" is the full title of this series. It is a good title as the drama centres around disraeli's character as he climbs the greasy pole to become prime minister against all odds.

Ian Mcshane is perfectly cast and dominates every scene. Seen purely as a drama, it compares well with your average Catherine Cookson. Beyond that we are treated to a rare view of this important historical character.

The writer has done an excellent job of condensing so much into six hours. Hopefully someday someone will commission a couple of lengthy series with a decent budget to really do this important period justice.

If you have an interest in history, politics or romance then I think you will enjoy this.
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on 30 November 2010
I have to confess to having some misgivings about purchasing this mini-series. I wondered if Ian McShane would be right for the lead role. I needn't have concerned myself, as I thought he was excellent throughout. This was a good story, well told, about a part of our history which is largely overlooked. Out of necessity, the story leapt forward years at a time on a regular basis, but I suppose we were only concerning ourselves with the important actions in an amazing life. He married a widow (years older than him) for social advantage, but they formed a good partnership from a loveless beginning, and his rise to the top of the political tree began in earnest. Queen Victoria (and Albert) were both apprehensive initially about his appointment, but a genuine mutual respect soon grew. The supporting cast all played their parts, and I can honestly say that this was a mini-series that I enjoyed immensely.
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on 27 February 2011
this is truly an entertaining mini series, with a run time of nearly 6 hours spread over two dvds, its in 6 episodes as orginally screened on tv and stars ian mcshane, i must admit he was the reason i hesitated to buy this series as i couldnt stand him in lovejoy but i needent have worried he was disraeli to a t in this series

mcshane stars as disreali, a flawed man with an overwhelming sense of public duty who truly seemed to want to do what was best for the british people and bring in reform to make life fairer for the poorest people in the country as well as for the working man

the first two epsiodes show his early life as a young man, an author of books which scandalised high society in briton and shows his exile from the country for two years after one novel he published in particular made his life a misery all though it was well recived in america, it shows his debts and him hiding from his creditors, it shows the friends he made, his wonderful father, a man of books slowly going blind and his determined couragous sister who gave up on marriage to care for her ailing father and of both of their unswerving belief in disraeli, and it shows his first three failed attempts to win a seat in parmliment

from epsiode 3 it shows his friendship with mary anne and wyndham the man who eventually funded his election campaign for a rival seat to his and his joy at finally winning, it shows the distain and hatred of some of his tory collegues who looked down on him for his flamboyant ways and his desire to reform politics and bring the vote to every man of briton

it shows wyndhams death and disreali's decision to marry his widow a woman 13 years older than him, for money and position, and then his growing love for the amazing woman who believed in him and gave him advice of how he should manage himself and his policies, it shows his achievments as well as his failures, warts and all, it dosnt try and paint only the good about him which so many of these biographys do, this series shows the whole man, the complete man

this is a truly great mini series which leads right up to his death and i fould i learnt a lot not just about disrreali, but about discrimination against the jewish faith, and about politics and attitudes of the century as well as the reforms that gradually changed so we can catch glimpses of the parliment we see today
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on 10 December 2012
A complete and very realistic portrait of Benjamin Disraeli - the Victorian era romantic and wit who became one of England's greatest political leaders. McShane is at his very best as he portrays a man "climbing to the top of a very greasy pole" as Disraeli described his rise in politics. An excellent supporting cast rounds this detailed portrait. Well worth watching.
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on 18 May 2011
This is the type of series that will whet the appetite for more information. You will want to know more about "the buying of the Sues shares" and about Disraeli himself. We bought this DVD at his house, Hughenden Manor, which you can visit. Ian McShane as Disraeli was brilliant. I wish that you could split the star rating between performance and quality of the video. The performances were good and believeable. The quality of the filming was very 1970's, a bit shakey, a bit grainy and a bit too fast for the eye (only in some parts - mainly outside shots). However, do not be put off by this. My only wish is that it could have been longer.
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on 2 June 2016
I was not expecting to like this but it came over very well and got stronger as the series progressed. The script is intelligent and factually accurate, the performances are excellent and the wit of the protagonist sparkles and his humanity shines through. It is to Britain's credit that an exotic Jewish fop could become Conservative Prime Minister and make an excellent job of it. He originated one nation conservatism and excelled in debate and witty repartee, and succeeded beyond all expectation. His devotion to his ailing wife - and hers to him- was exemplary. This is an excellent way to engage with this Victorian titan. And was he not much more fun than Gladstone
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This 1978 television series deserves greater recognition. Relish its mesmerising central performance - Ian McShane increasingly impressive as the cash-strapped novelist who becomes Prime Minister.

Although billed as "Portrait of a Romantic", this is not where main interest lies. Political aspects make greatest impact. The gaudily bedecked "flashy upstart", initially shouted down by MPs, steadily ensures his presence is felt - wisdom and wit making enemies wary.

Early television costume drama can suffer from verbosity and performances more suited for the stage. Here at first the heart may sink just a little, but misgivings soon pass and there is much to please. Rosemary Leach delights as Victoria, her disapproval of Disraeli movingly evolving into genuine warmth. (En route savour the moment when she IS greatly amused by his chatterbox wife.)

Four episodes, each about an hour. No bonuses except a picture gallery. Visually fine (money has been spent). The sound suffers from being very slightly out of synch, this not as distracting as one might expect.)

Discovered by chance, this production has proved a most pleasant surprise with sequences to treasure. How about the one in Episode 3? House of Commons packed to capacity. Emotions high. Leader of the Opposition Gladstone thunderously attacking. Disraeli stands to speak.... Cherish what follows. Quite perfect.

Although not in Television Drama's Top League, this production offers much of quality. Recommended.
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on 22 November 2009
This DVD really brought Disraeli to life for me. I have read much about him and feel that the 2nd part absolutely captured him at the peak of his power. Throughly recommended
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on 27 June 2013
Very enjoyable retelling of the life of this exceptional man. Ian Mcshane was perfectly cast as was Mary Peach as his adoring wife. Don't expect a balanced view, the more negative aspects of the man are well hidden, but still a very satisfying drama.
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on 9 August 2011
It was good and worth the money though not perhaps the best the BBC has ever produced. Nevertheless, with hindsight, I'd buy it again given a second chance.
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