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Fall Of Eagles [DVD]
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THE CLASSIC BBC HISTORICAL DRAMA SERIES. A stunning dramatisation of the decline and fall of the Hapsburgs, Romanovs and Hohenzollerns. In the latter half of the 19th Century, three ruling houses dominated Europe: the Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary, the Romanovs of Russia and Hohenzollerns of Germany. Centuries of despotism, a continued lack of social reform and the advent of the devastating First World War caused the vultures of revolution to start circling. This 13-part epic drama features a who's who of Britain's finest actors, bringing the historical figures richly to life. SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: cast and director interviews, photo gallery.
'Impressive' --The Daily Telegraph
'Strong Performances' --The Times
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Top Customer Reviews
As with so many of these resurrected programmes much of the joy derives from seeing the numerous fine actors (most of whom are now long dead) bringing their characters to life. There are so many but special mention must be made of Barry Foster who captures Kaiser Wilhelm II beautifully. Of all those who have played the doomed last Romanovs none portray the weaknesses of Nicholas and Alexandra better than Charles Kay and Gayle Hunnicutt.
Money was clearly thrown at this series for there is much location filming rather than studios sets. The colours are gorgeous. The quality of the DVD is generally very good indeed with some very minor blurring on occasions. Certainly not bad enough to spoil your viewing.
Patrick Stewart is a splendid Lenin but - sadly - the episode that is almost entirely given over to him and his politics was (for me ) a bore but many will disagree.
This DVD shows with almost cruel clarity what the BBC was once capable of. Compare its qualities with those missing from the recent 'The White Queen' and you may weep with frustration. This DVD is highly recommended.
the authentic costumes, the acting are all superb. My favorite
performances are those by Patrick Stewart who plays Lenin (the make-up men even gave Stewart the slighty Oriental eyelids that Lenin had, inherited from his Kalmyk grandmother), Barry Foster as Kaiser Wilhelm II, Curt Jurgens as Bismarck and Charles Kaye
as Tsar Nicholas II. Stewart's performance as Lenin is stupendous, displaying his cold fanaticism.
It should be pointed out, however, that the episodes are of
uneven quality. The episodes focusing on the Hapsburgs, i.e. the first where Emperor Franz Josef marries the Empress Elizabeth (his beloved "Sisi") and the later episode about the
suicide pact involving his son Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress are not as well done as the others. On the other hand,
the episode showing Lenin's bringing about the historic split in the Russian Social Democratic Party into his Bolshevik (Majority) faction and the opposing Menshevik (Minority) in 1903 can stand alone as a dramatic program on its own. Here clearly shown are the roots of the tyranny the fanatic, amoral Lenin created and his split with Trotsky that, in spite of a reconciliation in 1917, would end up help bringing about his (Trotsky's) ultimate downfall at the hands of Stalin.
One scene in another episode that particularly impressed me showed that death of Tsar Alexander III and the conveying of the crown to his son Nicholas II. Nicholas is kneeling in front of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch who is proclaiming him
Tsar of all the Russias and Nicholas looks extremely vulnerable, child-like and really almost pathetic, incapable of bearing the burden of autocracy that he received.Read more ›
In a sequence of plays, not strictly inter-connected, it looks at the closing years of the German Hohenzollerns, the Austrian Habsburgs, and the Russian Romanovs. The acting is first-rate, and the attention to historical detail is very accurate on the whole.
Barry Foster makes an amazingly lifelike Kaiser Wilhelm, Laurence Naismith (the elder Emperor Franz Josef), Charles Kay (Tsar Nicholas II) are just as good, and there are equally fine performances from Diane Keen as the young Empress Elisabeth, and Gemma Jones as 'Vicky', the ill-fated Empress Frederick.
Michael Hordern's narrative introductions set the scene nicely for each without being intrusive, there are various bonus interviews on the last disc, and a booklet full of useful background information as well as notes on each episode and on the major cast.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This has not dated well. It was shot on video, not film - and it shows. There is virtually no action, all of the budget was spent on the cast - which is impressive. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Gwyn
Very good acting, especially Gayle Hunnicutt. Patrick Stewart tended to rant on as Lenin. Why the epitaph (1870-1824) to the maker
of a dictatorial regime that lasted the best... Read more
What a pleasure to see this again. British drama at its best.Published 9 months ago by A. M. Kennedy