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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly engrossing BBC drama
A three-hour drama about the final days of negotiation between the countries of Europe in the lead up to the start of World War 1 doesn't sound like the most enthralling viewing experience available, but this production was completely gripping.

Informative, well written and acted with aplomb; this is the BBC at it's very best.

Thoroughly recommended.
Published 5 months ago by LoveMyMovies!

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrific drama but poor history
This production needs to be considered as a drama and also as a historical reconstruction. As a drama it works very well indeed with some superb acting (to be expected given the cast) and fine production. The story is gripping and carries the viewer along, never feeling laboured or anything but enthralling. Viewed as a drama it really does work extremely well, my only...
Published 1 month ago by J. J. Bradshaw


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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly engrossing BBC drama, 31 Mar 2014
This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
A three-hour drama about the final days of negotiation between the countries of Europe in the lead up to the start of World War 1 doesn't sound like the most enthralling viewing experience available, but this production was completely gripping.

Informative, well written and acted with aplomb; this is the BBC at it's very best.

Thoroughly recommended.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has to be an award winning drama, 14 April 2014
This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliant from the BBC. Both as a drama and it's historical content. I like most people had no idea of what happened in the lead up to the First World War. Well if you want to find out and watch an excellent drama at the same time then this is for you. All three episodes were gripping from start to finish. The cast was top drawer. From Ian McDiarmid as Edward Grey to Rainer Sellien who was brilliant as Kaiser Wilhelm II. Watched it twice on the BBC and just about to buy the DVD. Worth every penny.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC Drama Back To Its Best, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Gripping viewing from the first minute of this three part saga to the very last minute.

Beautifully acted by a collection of well known actors.

After watching each episode recently on BBC you were counting down the hours to see the next episode!!

This DVD is an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone interested in contemporary history or for anyone who simply likes well acted BBC costume drama.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the ego of the few can determine the lives of many, 11 May 2014
By 
Alan Jones (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
A brilliant study of power and ego. This is a chillingly absorbing examination of the political background to World War I. The script, acting and editing are of the highest standard. The programmes show how a relatively minor event (the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo) eventually led to war throughout Europe, and beyond.

Highlighted is the almost complacent attitude of Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, that diplomacy will enable peace to be maintained. This is contrasted with the belligerent and determined attitude of Wilhelm II and Field Marshall Count Moltke that Prussia and the German Empire will go to war, whether with Russia or France, or both. Wilhelm II is fully prepared to use the military might of the German Empire to intimidate the Austro-Hungarian Empire of Franz Joseph and confidently dismiss a treaty which guaranteed Belgium neutrality (and therefore possible peace in Europe).

Although this is a valuable account of the subject matter, there are parallels here with contemporary international politics. The resulting war led to the deaths of over 8 million people. Surely we must periodically remind ourselves of the mistakes of the past in order that we are not doomed to repeat them. This is a brilliant piece of work which serves as such a reminder.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but A Limited Perspective, 30 Jun 2014
By 
Adrian Collingwood (Durban South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
In this cetennial year of the outbreak of hostilities, book shops seem to be inundated with new histories of the period. Surprisingly, the same cannot be said about movies - this is the only one of which I am aware which has obviously been timed to come out when it has.

Let me begin by saying that it is really worth seeing- the acting is good and the script, in particular, is superb.

My misgiving about the film is that , if not biased, then it is at least too Anglo - centric.

Having read but three or four histories of that period, I make no claims to any expertise. But given that "war guilt and WW1" was to become such an important issue at Versailles and, of course, the events leading up to WW11, I am disappointed that the presentation of the times was done in less one sided terms.

Churchill comes out almost unscathed. The Kaiser and von Molkte (especially) are the villains of the piece.And as for the French? We arn't even shown so much as one scene involving the French government deliberating - come to think of it we see no French general or politician at all. The Austrian Emperor has no speaking part and Tsar Nicholas has very little air time too.

In the main we observe the events from the perspective of the Foreign Office.All well and good.

Surely an historical account should attempt a wider perspective?

.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 Days - an essential watch if you want to understand the history of the start of WW1, 7 Sep 2014
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This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
I saw 37 Days when it was on TV but there was SO much to take in I couldn't wait for it to come out on DVD. It is brilliantly acted, especially Ian McDiamid who I hope gets nominated in the Best Actor category. He manages to convey the terrible weight of his office as Foreign Secretary - the decision whether to involve Britain in this terrible war rests on his shoulders - the Prime Minister seems a far lesser figure in this take on events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TV docu-drama at its best. Should be required viewing at schools, 27 Aug 2014
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This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Actually watched it when broadcast but felt I should have a copy to show Grandchildren in the future, or indeed anyone else who wants a fascinating insight into how WW1 got started. TV docu-drama at its best. Should be required viewing at schools, followed by a dissertation on the Paris 'Peace' Confrence. Not a perfect historical document but the delivery makes up ofr any short cuts/editing that had to take place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lights going out across Europe, 21 Sep 2014
By 
A. Barnes - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent TV drama, late nights locked in tense dialogue, the volatile atmosphere, lights going out across Europe.

I found this series riveting from start to finish, don't expect loads of action, there are a references to action but this mostly a tense political story unfolding in the corridors of Whitehall and Berlin in the lead up to the first world war.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BBC at it's best!!, 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Absolutely first class!! Showed all the diplomatic complexities in a simplified way. Educational, interesting, superb acting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrific drama but poor history, 9 Aug 2014
This review is from: 37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
This production needs to be considered as a drama and also as a historical reconstruction. As a drama it works very well indeed with some superb acting (to be expected given the cast) and fine production. The story is gripping and carries the viewer along, never feeling laboured or anything but enthralling. Viewed as a drama it really does work extremely well, my only criticism would be that the voice overs are over done and can become a bit distracting. I apreciate that in a story this complex some form of filling in the back story is important to avoid confusion and to make the story comprehensible but I thought this could have been done better. If this review was only considering the drama I'd give it 4 or 5*. The problem is that it is also a historical reconstruction and it will influence beliefs of those watching the program. On a positive it does dispel the myth that Europe just drifted into war and that the war just happened, a view promoted by people like David Lloyd George and others after the war and which became an accepted truism in popular history. There was nothing accidental about the war and it is entirely explicable. The problem here is that after this positive begining there are inaccuracies and poor characterisations which mean that this is another TV drama purporting to be historically accurate yet which is found wanting. The Sarajevo assassination is completely misrepresented, and in a way which significantly alters the way in which many viewers will think about this act. The story almost ignores Austria-Hungary and where it does include these most essential players in the events it is to show a moribund emperor and dandyish ambassadors. The Austro-Hungarian drivers for war are glossed over and remarkably the bellicose Conrad von Hotzendorf (who was far more enthusiastic for war than Moltke) is ignored completely, an appalling omission. The characterisation of Kaiser Wilhelm whilst entertaining does not ring true and portrays him as some sort of cartoon charicature when in reality he was a rather complex character. Moltke is portrayed as a machiavellian thug who almost single handedly forced Europe into war, despite some bellicose statements this is a grossly unfair representation. Falkenhayn is just portrayed as an accessory to give context to the sequences involving Moltke. The impression of a German chief of general staff almost bullying the Kaiser and forcing Europe into war is not consistent with reality and the omission of Austria-Hungary is almost inexplicable given their critical contribution to the events of those days. The program also gives a very British-centric version of events in which things revolved around London with Paris and St. Petersburg all but ignored when it was very much a continental affair. Although rivetting drama the program is dangerously misleading and I fear it will just replace old myths and misconceptions with new ones for many who view it. The show also has a feeling of applying 21st Century sensibilities to relationships between those in authority with those lower down the social hierarchy which feels a bit contrived and false. So, whilst I'd rate this very highly as a drama I feel the historical inaccuracies and misrepresentation mean it falls down, I'd give 1 or 2* for it as a reconstruction, so 3* is a compromise between very good drama and very poor history.
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37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD]
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