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The Hour [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 49.98
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The Hour [Blu-ray] + The Hour: Season 2 [Blu-ray]
Price For Both: CDN$ 46.98

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Looks can be deceiving. Often compared to Mad Men, Abi Morgan's stylish, smoke-filled series plays more like a cross between the BBC's State of Play and Broadcast News. Instead of an ad agency, the 1956 debut of a Panorama-like show called The Hour provides the hub around which the action revolves. Working-class Freddie (Bright Star's Ben Whishaw, wiry and intense), the journalist, prefers hard news to society fluff, and enjoys a snappy rapport with comely producer Bel (Atonement's Romola Garai, looking much like a Hitchcock heroine), but her heart belongs to Hector (The Wire's Dominic West), the well-connected anchor, who doesn't let his marriage to Oona Chaplin's socialite stand in his way. When a friend informs Freddie that there's more to a subway murder than meets the eye, he becomes as obsessed with the case as with his new job. As Freddie's inquiry catches the attention of MI-6, other characters come to light, like an anxious actor (Sherlock's Andrew Scott), a weasely watchdog (Julian Rhind-Tutt), and a shady translator (Torchwood's Burn Gorman, chilling). While the battle for Egypt becomes the top story, two more Londoners die under mysterious circumstances. These seemingly disparate developments will converge in the surprising finale. In the featurette, Morgan describes the show as a look at the decline of the British Empire. Adds West, "There's a nice sort of chemistry between us all." It comes across onscreen, and Anton Lesser and Anna Chancellor, who play two of his colleagues, also deserve praise for their stellar support. With its Saul Bass-inspired credits, finger-snapping theme, and amazing outfits, The Hour feels like Masterpiece Theatre by way of Ian Fleming. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars spy thriller set in 50's tv broadcast May 23 2012
By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWER
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kept me glued to my seat. written by Abi Morgan (iron lady, shame, sex traffic). London 1956, bbc launches the hour, a topical newcast produced by Bel Rowley (Emma). Bel is an ambitious female competing in a 'man's world' w/ the support of her best friend Freddie Lyon (Bright Star, Ben Winshaw), a fearless truth-seeking reporter. a triangle emerges when Bel has an affair w/ the anchorman, Hector Madden (the Wire)who juggles his affairs along w/ his upper class political allies.

Freddie receives a plea from an old friend, Ruth, who is later murdered. trying to find out the truth, freddie is confronted w/ mi6 and russian spys. Set in the politically sensitive war w/ nassar of Egypt over the suez canal and the hungarian revolution, bel, freddie and hector walk a fine line between alienating british politicians while trying to keep jobs and telling the truth about lies, murder and government corruption. All the while freddie keeps probing -- who killed ruth and why? This one is a keeper, if you like spy thrillers, history, politics and complicated human relations. i was entranced as i followed freddies quest for truth beside bel's power and love relationships and hector's ambition. british drama lovers and robert ludlum fans line up to buy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Suspence Dec 22 2013
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The series had good suspence so you wanted to know what happened next but the lives of the characters was anything but uplifting.
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