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Reilly - Ace Of Spies [DVD]
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All twelve episodes from the TV espionage series set in the early years of the 20th century. In 'An Affair With a Married Woman' international spy Sidney Reilly (Sam Neill) creates a scandal during a mission in the Caucasus. 'Prelude to War' sees Reilly leak vital information about the Russian military to the Japanese. 'The Visiting Fireman' has Reilly attempt to obtain some secret blueprints from a German armaments factory. 'Anna' finds the Ace of Spies taking on the wealthy Rothschilds in a bid for Persian oil concessions. In 'Dreadnoughts and Crosses' the Czar invites applications for the contract to replace the Russian fleet, a prospect which could be of great value to Reilly, currently living in St Petersburg, and his British paymasters. 'Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses' develops this story further. 'Gambit' sees Reilly make the journey into post-revolutionary Russia on a mission to prevent the Bolsheviks making peace with Germany. 'Endgame' has the Bolshevik secret police try to catch Reilly as he negotiates to remove Lenin from power. 'After Moscow' finds Reilly and his friend Lockhart sentenced to death by the Moscow Revolutionary Tribunal. 'The Trust' sees Reilly take up residence in New York, where he raises money for an anti-Bolshevik organisation. 'The Last Journey' has Reilly marry his third wife, Pepita, and disappear in Russia while seeking revenge for the death of his best friend. Finally, in 'Shut Down', Pepita tries to find her husband and discovers that Stalin has had him arrested.
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Top Customer Reviews
1) It made me fall in love with Sam Neill.
2) It made me fall in love with Shoshtakovich.
Probably due to not owning a VHS player in 1983, I only had one shot at soaking this all in at the time it was aired.
Imagine then, my immense chuffed-ness at discovering all 13 episodes were to be released in wondrous DVD box setted glory!
From its supremely evocative music - (persons of a certain age might remember Terry Wogan announcing Shoshtakovich on his radio show as the theme from 'Reilly - Ace of Mince Pies' tsk!) - through to the calibre of the cast, everything about 'Reilly' was and is, quality drama.
The costumes are works of art in themselves, and the London locations do a marvellous job doubling for pre-Perestroika Russia.
Even before 1985's much-praised 'Edge of Darkness' Troy Kennedy Martin showed flashes of brilliance in his adaption of Robin Bruce Lokhart's book for TV.
Kennedy Martin keeps his script taut and sharp and as such, we are not bogged down with the myriad convolutions of counter espionage.
In 'Anna'(episode 3) we even get to see a little of what drives Reilly. His explanation to his half-sister of a loveless relationship with his Father, and the disappointment of discovering his illigitemacy - fleshes the bones of this most elusive character.
Sam Neill's portrayal of Sidney Reilly is pretty near perfect. (Biased? Moi..) A soft spoken, consummate con-man - even the rare flash of rage is controlled, which makes his Reilly all the more memorable for being so minimalist.Read more ›
'Ace of Spies' tells the story of master spy Sidney Reilly, British agent at the beginning of the last century, based on the biography of the same name by Robin Bruce Lockhart. Reilly, a cunning trickster and cold-blooded operator, is credited with changing the British secret service from a club of amateur gentleman spies into a ruthless professional espionage agency. Reilly was apparently the true-life model of James Bond. Besides a brave and clever agent also a murderer, cheat, and adulterer, he is a far more ambiguous figure than knight-in-shining armour 007. But this tension also makes the series far more appealing than Ian Fleming's ripping yarns.
The pilot episode finds Reilly (Sam Neill) on a mission in Baku, playing the great game for Central Asian oil. Arrested by the Russians, he escapes with Margaret, wife of the reverend Thomas. The death of Thomas under suspicious circumstances soon gives Reilly access to Margeret's inherited wealth. In 'Prelude to War', Reilly enriches himself by speculating on war between Russia and Japan, a conflict he helps bringing about by selling the Japanese a map of defenses of Port Arthur. In the next episode 'the visiting fireman', Reilly disguises himself as a worker in order to peruse designs for German weaponry from the Krupp arms factory.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Though I bought this DVD set quite a long time ago, viewing one of the episodes last night has prompted me to finally write this review. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Sussex Bear
Bruce Lockharth was perhaps shortchanged in this movie. I would like to see movie about Trotsky his view on Bolshevick cabaretPublished 1 month ago by Zdenek Hanzlik
I REMEMBER MY MOTHER WATCHING THIS WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY ON TV. ONLY WISH SHE WERE HERE TO WATCH IT WITH ME NOW. WE BOTH ADORED SAM NEILL IN THE ROLEPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I remember seeing this series on tv when it was first broadcast and it still seems just as absorbing as it was thenPublished 5 months ago by R.Gale
I grew up watching this series. Because of this, I may have a biased view that this is some of the best TV ever to come out of the UK. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Philip Brook-Woodcock
Despite it's age, I really enjoyed this series. Sam Neill was perfect as Sidney Reilly and the usual governmental bureaucrats were just the same as ever. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bun