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The Political Godfather,
This review is from: The House of Cards Trilogy  [DVD] (DVD)
I have recently borrowed the House of Cards DVD set from my local library and felt compelled to leave a review as well as buy a copy of my own. This series is worthy of comparison to the much famed and acclaimed Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo's "The Godfather Trilogy".
This series is a much darker tale of political intrigue and scandal than its nearest contemporary of the Yes, Minister/ Yes, Prime Minister comedy series. Centred around Francis Urquhart (sublimely acted by Ian Richardson), this Party Chief Whip schemes to frame, blackmail, murder and generally scandalise his way up the greasy pole to Downing Street, all in the first installment! Urquhart proceeds to endure the trilogy as a thoroughly compelling but entirely ruthless individual, not even letting moral qualms about his mistresses stop him from attaining and retaining glory and power.
Michael Corleone in Godfather follows a similar arc in his rise to the leadership of the Corleone Family, but throughout the series, particularly the first, there is evident reluctance for this path. Urquhart, by contrast, embraces the opportunities that lie before him without compunction or concern about bloodshed. Similarly, the duplicity and manipulation of both his senior and junior colleagues, and near perverted embarrassment of his rivals would make Sir Humphrey from Yes Minister quail in terror and outrage!
Naturally, Richardson justifiably absorbs his audience in fascination and shock in equal measure, but he is ably supported by a rich cast who aid in making his character so real and convincing, including such names as Michael Kitchen, Susannah Harker, David Lyons, Nicholas Selby, James Villiers, Kitty Aldridge, Colin Jeavons, Tom Beasley, Paul Freeman, Diane Fletcher, Isla Blair, even John Bird as a very apt cameo!
This drama is a superb example of the kind of quality the BBC is capable of producing, so much so that over 10 years after its broadcast, a lot of the issues in it are strongly resonant in todays political climate, mainly in the blackmail that is used to compel characters to behave.
Is this a worthy addition to a DVD collection? You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment!