37 Days

37 Days

The Outbreak of World War I

DVD - 2014
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This three-part political thriller follows the catastrophic chain of events leading up to World War I from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 to Britain's declaration of war on Germany 37 days later. This tense and gripping mini-series set amongst the corridors of power in Whitehall and Berlin tracks the unfolding crisis through the eyes of leading politicians and civil servants struggling to prevent the world's first global war.
Publisher: London, England : BBC, ©2014.
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (165 min.) :,sound, color ;,12 cm
digital, optical, rda
video file, DVD video, rda
Alternative Title: Thirty-seven days [dvd]


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Feb 16, 2017

Any dramatization of past events must take some liberties with the historical record,, so the question is how far those liberties should go. The answer given here is way too far. The first two episodes are filled with inaccurate portrayals of the events of the July crisis, the most notable being the wholly false depiction of how the German 'blank cheque' to Austria was given. We have Sir Edward Grey, the most courteous of men, calling the Austrian ambassador a fool to his face; Bethmann Hollweg making his famous 'scrap of paper' remark at the wrong time, the scenes in the 'Foreign Office' (which is right in Whitehall) shot at some country house, the Cabinet meetings at Number 10 shot in some public building, and so on. Tim Pigott-Smith manages to look and talk like Asquith, and it was refreshing to see Eyre Crowe used as Grey's sounding board, but that's as far as it goes. Episode three is the least defective, but as a whole the series is an inexplicable disappointment. The story is dramatic enough on its own: it is not improved by being presented in a fast and loose way. Compare this to the old 'Fall of Eagles' TV series, which does a far better job dramatizing the same subject. Bottom line; the less one knows about the actual events of the July crisis of 1914, the better this production will likely seem.

Feb 14, 2017

Typical high-quality BBC production of lead-up to WWI, showing the intricacies of diplomatic and military attempts as countries jockey to gain their goals. As aides to the respective English and German foreign offices, actors James McArdle and Andre Kaczmarczyk provide an inside staffer's view/voiceover of events, including, at the end, their own conscription as soldiers. Countries, like people, can have long historical memories:
German Ambassador (trying hard to be polite, after the French Ambassador deliberately moves a seat away from him, as they both wait for the British Foreign Secretary to receive them): "Have you been waiting long?"
French Ambassador: "Oh! Only since 1870 [the Franco-Prussian war, which France lost]."

Dec 12, 2016

A very light production of the events leading to WWI.

Dec 05, 2016

Rated 6/10.

Dec 09, 2015

Another BBC gem with familiar leaders played by unfamiliar but brilliant actors. You get the real feel of the time and the various cultures examined, the militaristic and aggressive Prussians still smarting from the result of the Franco-Prussian war a half century earlier, the decadent Austrians and emperor Franz Joseph the bureaucrat in the last throes of empire; the Germans under Kaiser Wilhelm with a powerful army they want to use and in incipient rebellion against the decadence of the Austrians, the French totally mismanaging their border defences with Germany and dependent on the British for their coastal defences, the Belgians relying on treaties for their defence, a weak and unreliable army and the key to the Germans getting around the French Maginot Line, the Russians under Tsar Nicholas itching for a fight but whose finances have been squandered buying Chanel and Faberge eggs for the Empress, leaving them with a primitive and vastly inferior army, and the Brits trying to balance all this off and preserve their own empire. Hugely engaging and fast-paced, sometimes we had to reverse to get the meaning of conversations, hugely entertaining and a bore cure.

Jul 28, 2015

For decades I was taught history lessons laid the entire blame on the death of Archduke Ferdinand. Then I read further, like Dead Wake by E. Larson & realize it takes about a century for bits of history to 'adjust'. Thankfully, I won't be around next century for historical 'truths' to be revealed about present day conflicts & the conniving leaders we have. This brilliant cast has little 'action', requires attention & is really helpful in relearning the facts leading to disaster of what at that time was referred to as The Great War. Power - the use or misuse of it.

Feb 22, 2015

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, presumed heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated by a Serbian anarchist. For the next 37 days, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Great Britain, Russia, France, and Belgium discussed how Serbia should be punished for this event. One side suggested sanctions against tiny Serbia while the other suggested invasion of tiny Serbia by Austro-Hungary. Incredibly, stupid and arrogant leaders of European countries could not resolve the problem in a reasonable matter and they initiated WW1 which caused 16 million deaths. The ending agreements of WW1 were even stupider than the initiation, and this stupidity led to WW2. It is recommended that you review the various WW1 lineups for war before getting yourself involved in this 3 part talky and humorous mini-series.

AladarNyc Feb 05, 2015

Typically excellent BBC series depicting the events leading to WWI. Loved the diplomatic and witty British banter portrayed in this time period. I wished it was twice as long.

Jan 25, 2015

Excellent. Check it out.

kevfarley Jan 13, 2015

I'd grew up thinking that an archduke was assassinated, there were complicated secret treaties all over Europe, and so WW 1 (with its ten million deaths) had to begin,.. but it was suposedly all too complicated for me to understand.

But now, thanks to the BBC, we all can understand the beginnings of WW1,.. and once again be reminded that elite manipulators can never be trusted with unmodulated power.

Kev's PICkS: To really see the institutional insanity "behind the curtain" ,..follow up your viewing of "37 Days" by seeing another BBC masterpiece: "Royal Cousins at War",.. about three closely related people who "inherited the power to rule over half the world's population" (!).

(1-15-15: 36)

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