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Cambridge Spies

Tom Hollander , Toby Stephens    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 30.98
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Product Description


This moody BBC 2003 dramatization of the most notorious debacle in the history of the British Secret Service raises the specter of the treachery of Philby, Burgess, MacLean, and Blunt for a generation of viewers who can only imagine the shockwaves generated by their duplicity. Inevitably the story suffers from the basically repellent quality of its raw material. Determinedly nonjudgmental, it frequently stumbles along a precarious path between romantic eulogy and fact-based fable of the perils of idealism. For all the handsome casting, the characters have little charm to compensate for their deeds. Their motivations are sketched only vaguely. Even in moments of personal vulnerability, however poignant the performances, sympathy is at a premium. But it has its high points as an atmospheric soap opera: the recreation of a period that stretches from the radical aspects of 1930s university life at Cambridge to cold war London, dipping into the Spanish Civil War and the Washington diplomatic circle en route, is vivid. The acting, too, is fine. Tom Hollander's rampantly dissolute Burgess verges constantly on parody. But Toby Stephens (Philby), Samuel West (a frosty Blunt), and Rupert Penry-Jones (an emotionally wrung-out MacLean) work wonders with Peter Moffat's insubstantial script. --Piers Ford

Product Description

In 1934, four brilliant young men at Cambridge University are recruited to spy for Russia. Fueled by youthful idealism, a passion for social justice, a talent for lying and a hatred for fascism, the four take huge personal risks to pass Britain's biggest secrets to Moscow. Starring four of Britain's most talented young actors, this epic yet intimate drama brings one of the twentieth century's most compelling true stories to exciting new life.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THOSE BRITISH FOLKS SURE CAN ACT May 27 2004
This BBC-PBS T.V presentation is superb. It is not something that you can look at while darning socks, knitting, washing dishes, talking on the phone or having an evening party-it is NOT light entertainment. Go to commercial TV for that. You've got to sit-down, shut-up and concentrate on what is going on. In fact, it took me two viewings to fully understand what actually was going on. LISTEN closely; the script is fantastic.
All of the actors are superb with Tom Hollander as Guy Burgess a standout. The production is on a par with some of the best BBC productions that I have had the privilege of seeing. With the gorgeous sets and costumes, it creates a feeling of the era that is being portrayed.
If you are into historical presentations and love superb acting buy this DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ending May 5 2004
By A Customer
The first hour set-up is a bit boring, but it gets much better after that. The bonus features are outstanding and are sufficient alone to purchase this set. Regarding the movie itself, however, I was very disappointing with the ending. Basically, the film ends when Burgess and MacLean defect to Mosocw. Thus, it does not include the remaining 12 years of Philby's spying, nor the eventually unmasking of Blunt. Additionally, Philby's relationship with CIA Chief of Counterintelligence James Jesus Angleton is vastly underrepresented -- particularly as it is germain to at least a portion of Philby's access while he was posted to the British Embassy in the U.S. Lastly, there are several very glaring factual inconsistencies, though the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie acknowledges that the makers took poetic license for "dramatic effect". Frankly, the true story is dramatic enough, and I feel (like a previous reviewer) that this movie was a bit of a lost opportunity to tell the whole story accurately. That said, it still is a decent-enough movie, and worth purchase for the bonus features which contain actual footage of the spies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Nov. 13 2013
By Kaslo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the better series that I've seen. The acting is wonderful and if you don't know the Profumo story it's well worth watching. Of course the 'heroes' are characters that you will love and pity but never dislike as they certainly were at the time.

Slow moving and no 'punch ups' but that is what makes it good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie worth buying March 31 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I liked most about it how it portrayed the truth about the Cambridge spies that they were trying to save the world from Nazism and were not paid for their services. The part I did not like was showing too many homosexual scenes; a hint probably would have been enough for the average viewer.
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