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City of Vice


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McDiarmid, Iain Glen, Francis Magee, Juliet Aubrey, Nigel Harman
  • Directors: Justin Hardy, Dan Reed
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008
  • Run Time: 235 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015I2SMY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,315 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "City of Vice" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

In the mid-eighteenth century London's perilous streets were overrun by notorious gangs, prostitutes, pimps and corrupt night watchmen. Out of this dark underworld, emerged two Westminster magistrates - novelist Henry Fielding (Ian McDiarmid) and his blind half brother, John (Iain Glen). These unlikely crime-fighters organized the infamous Bow Street Runners and introduced law and order to the crime-riddled city. Combining the excitement of contemporary crime drama with the detail of actual historical research, this graphic, five-part series tells the true story of London's first police force.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Koch Vision and BBC presents "CITY OF VICE:COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" (14 January 2008) (236 mins/Color) (Dolby Digital) --- Splendidly acted this drama is unlike any other it make you feel you are part of the mystery as it tells stories of these crimes --- But also has the makings of other crime dramas such as Cracker and Prime Suspect --- Historical true crime series CITY OF VICE pits magistrate Henry Fielding (Ian McDiarmid) and his brother John (Iain Glen) against the teeming criminal underworld of 18th century London --- The five part series follows the duo's attempts to police the city and rid its streets of prostitutes, violent gangs, and bands of thieves is dark and dusty streets and basic poverty --- But this story brought to life Georgian England, it's not your usual period drama.Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sires on September 25, 2008
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I saw this series elsewhere and just had to add it to my collection. What this series managed to do was show the grubbiness and violence of the early 18th century and offer entertaining stories of the birth of English policing.

It certainly helps to know a little bit of both 1) the situation in London prior to the Fielding brothers and 2) the attitude of the English to the idea of a public police force.

In the years before this series was set the usual method of capturing criminals was to offer a reward. This was done by both the state and private individuals. Private individuals would then produce the criminals and/or the stolen goods in order to receive the reward. The upshot of this was the creation of a system where the people who caught the criminals were often hand in glove with the criminals. The thief takers would also manufacture evidence against innocent individuals if the true criminal could not be found or would give him a sufficiently large bribe. Jonathan Wilde,the self-styled "Thief-taker General of England and Ireland", was the most notorious of this fraternity. He was hanged in 1725 for his more criminal activities.

As for the attitude of the English toward a public police force, they didn't want one. An Englishman's home was his castle and he did not want to be forced to allow an outside force into his home. This attitude is very clear in the first episode and the third.

So the proposed course the Fielding brothers took in trying to track down criminals was very forward thinking and done in the teeth of quite a bit of opposition.

I think the depiction of the London underworld was very realistic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thinker on June 27, 2009
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Well researched, well acted and well staged, without sacrifice to modern correctness or language - yes, this is the other side of the coin, and the language then was rough, as was the life for many, but people still poured into London by the thousands every year from the countryside seeking work, opportunity, fame, or just anonymity. There was nothing anywhere like London and it was seductive. During this period London's population stayed static despite the constant in-migration from the countryside, because the city consumed people like a monster: crime, overcrowding, bad food, gin - it's all here: The staging claustrophobic, shadowy and very real, the mapping innovative, the camera work nuanced and almost speaking, the fight scenes convincing. There's a great deal of humour in this series, as well, some of it very gallows, but that was another feature of the 18th century - a sense of black, ironic humour which may even seem a little callous to us today. The viewer sees how really rough the brothers had it during a time when you could get held up in Hyde Park at high noon by a highwayman, with little help but a few fellow crusaders like Saunders Welch. Henry alone, and then later (which this series depicts) with his younger half-brother John, fought 12-16 hours a day to keep the peace and to somehow, some way, put a stop to the Hydra-headed monster called crime that was devouring London. All in the face of deep distrust of anything resembling a standing police force from the mob and the aristocracy alike. The Brothers Fielding's efforts were paid from secret service money.

Here is where it all began, drawn from contemporary records (the Bow Court records) with a good job done even in small details.
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