House of Cards Trilogy [3 Discs] [DVD]

An adaptation of a popular 1989 novel of the same title by Michael Dobbs, the British drama serial House of Cards originally aired on the BBC in 1990 to universal acclaim. Set in the immediate aftermath of the Margaret Thatcher era, it follows the Machiavellian exploits of Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson), a Conservative whip in the UK parliament, who will stop at nothing - no matter how licentious, vile, underhanded, or greedy - to obtain the post of English Prime Minister. The follow-up, 1993's To Play the King - based on Dobbs's 1992 sequel - explores the conflict between newly-named Prime Minister Urquhart and a king who is disenchanted with him (Michael Kitchen). The final miniseries, 1995's The Final Cut, was based on Dobbs's third novel, published the same year, and dramatizes the end of Urquhart's reign and his ultimate downfall. All three miniseries appear in this sprawling box set.
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Overview

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Special Features

  • Audio commentary
  • Andrew Davies interview
  • Tour of parliament

Synopsis

The Final Cut
The trilogy begun with House of Cards and To Play the King comes to a close in this two-part miniseries produced for the BBC. Francis Urquarth (Ian Richardson) has used his guile and cunning to rise to the position of Britain's Prime Minister, and with the end of his political career appearing on the horizon, he's looking for a way to end his reign on an impressive note. With this in mind, Urquarth throws himself into a series of negotiations that would bring a peaceful end to the United Kingdom's conflicts with Cyprus. However, the Cypriote negotiators have discovered some information about Urquarth's youthful indiscretions that could bring his political career to an inglorious end. The Final Cut, like the two miniseries which preceeded it, was based on a novel by Michael Dobbs. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

To Play the King
This two-part British miniseries, a sequel to 1990's House of Cards, finds the shrewd but scheming conservative politician Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) has risen to the position of Prime Minister. Urquhart soon pits himself in a battle of wits with England's newly crowned King (Michael Kitchen) in a struggle for political control of the nation. The PM finds his Majesty to be a fierce adversary, but with the help of his top advisor and mistress, Sarah Harding (Kitty Aldridge), Urquhart discovers information about the Royal Family that could prove disastrous to the monarch's public image. But does he dare to reveal it, and run the risk of bringing the British Monarchy to a crashing halt? Ian Richardson's performance earned him a Best Actor nomination in the 1994 BAFTA Television Awards. This series was later followed by The Final Cut. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

House of Cards
Based on a novel by Michael Dobbs, the British miniseries House of Cards was the first entry in a darkly satirical trilogy about ruthless, unscrupulous Conservative MP Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson). Determined to advance himself politically, socially, and financially, Urquhart would stop at nothing to achieve his goal, and was eager and willing to sell out his friends and loved ones whenever the price was right. Although he managed to cover his tracks so far as the public was concerned, Urquhart was threatened with exposure by investigative reporter Mattie Storin (Susannah Harker). The battle of wits and wills between Urquhart and Storin provided the bulk of the drama and intrigue in this four-part saga, which originally aired over the BBC1 from November 18 to December 9, 1990. House of Cards was followed by two additional miniseries, To Play the King and The Final Cut, all starring Ian Richardson as the "hero." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ian Richardson
    Ian Richardson - Francis Urquhart

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