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37 Days: The Countdown To World War 1 (BBC) [DVD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ian McDiarmid, Tim Piggott-Smith, Nicholas Farrell, Kenneth Cranham, Sinead Cusack
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Spirit Entertainment Limited
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Jun. 2014
  • Run Time: 177 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00JDATWUW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,028 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

A stellar cast, led by Ian McDiarmid and Tim Piggott-Smith, reveal the complex behind-closed-doors story of the countdown to World War One. In this political thriller, we follow the catastrophic chain of events that led from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June 1914, to the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on 4th August. Written by Mark Hayhurst, this tense and gripping serial, set within the corridors of power in both Whitehall and Berlin, tracks the crisis through the eyes of leading politicians struggling to prevent the world's first global war. With scripts crafted from primary source research, 37 Days also stars Sinead Cusack, Bill Paterson, Nicholas Farrell and James McArdle, plus leading actors from Germany and France.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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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 Both as a drama and it's historical content.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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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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Format: DVD
I've finally got around to watching this fine three part series. At just under 3 hours it is watchable in a single sitting which will give you an overview of the greatest conundrum in modern history.

There is an answer of sorts here. Actually there are 2 answers: there's the usual guff about the perfect storm of events, personalities and ideas. And then there is the compelling fact that most of the individual countries of Europe were run, in effect, by a single royal family whose intertwined member's lives were too far removed from reality for them to be able to adequately distinguish between truth and falsehood, right and wrong. On top of that, of course, they were also all losing their grip on their respective monarchies and were manipulating events in an attempt to shore up their grasp on power and wealth. There is a telling scene between the British monarch, Sir Edward Grey and the Prime Minister, Henry Asquith, in which the King bullies and blames his ministers just as his cousin, the Keiser, was doing to his lot in Berlin.

This is brilliantly written with stand-out performances from Kenneth Cranham, Sinead Cusack, Tim Piggott-Smith, Nicholas Farrell and above all, Ian McDiarmid as Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary. One little niggly problem is the Northern Ireland shooting locations which might double at a pinch for the poorer sections of Scotland, but are unconvincing as London, Berlin and Vienna; as are the appalling stills of those grand cities used in place of proper establishing shots. Nevertheless, a giant 5 stars from me.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film dramatises the diplomatic crisis that engulfed Europe in the summer of 1914. The catastrophe began, as is well known, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian throne, on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist. Thereafter it entered a new catastrophic phase when war broke out across the Continent during the first week of August. How could this appalling event — from peace to war in only 37 days — have happened? Various and complex answers have preoccupied historians ever since. Admirably produced by the BBC, this film also does its level best to answer the question. It takes place in three episodes lasting one hour each.

Of the major belligerents — Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and Britain — the film focuses mainly on diplomatic relations between Britain and Germany. Therefore, only a thin (but important) slice of what happened that summer is presented. Key individuals (among several others on both sides) follow here.

Britain:

Sir Edward Grey — Foreign Secretary

Herbert Henry Asquith — Prime Minister

David Lloyd George — Chancellor of the Exchequer

Winston Churchill — Minister of Munitions

Germany:

Kaiser Wilhelm II — Emperor

Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg — Chancellor

Helmuth Moltke — General and Chief of Military Staff

Prince Karl Max Lichnowsky — Ambassador to Britain

~ Episode One: One Month in Summer ~

Warmth has come early this year. June is bright and beautiful. If a storm is massing somewhere, it must be far away on some distant horizon. Here in Britain it’s unfelt by the people, including the politicians, diplomats and statesmen.
Read more ›
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Format: 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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