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Master of the Game

73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on Sidney Sheldon’s bestselling novel, the miniseries Master of the Game debuts on DVD in a 2-disc set 25 years after its network premiere. The lavish, international saga spans a century and focuses on the Blackwell family’s rise to wealth from 1890s South Africa where the family’s fortune is made in diamonds to the primary story of iron-willed Kate Blackwell, the driven, power-hungry head of the family's embattled corporate empire.

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Sidney Sheldon’s sudsy, sprawling miniseries Master of the Game arrives on DVD in time to celebrate its 25th anniversary and please fans who have pined for the lusty adventures of diamond heiress Kate Blackwell (Dyan Cannon) since its network debut in 1984. The eight-hour production, which is spread over two discs, covers three generations of a family steeped in the South African diamond trade. Ian Charleson (Chariots of Fire) dominates part one as Jamie McGregor, who carves an empire out of the wilds of South Africa; Cannon takes over in part two, which follows her control of her father’s business while meddling in the affair of her son (Harry Hamlin); the final part follows her twin granddaughters (Liane Langland) as their personal machinations threaten to destroy the company. A talented supported cast, including Leslie Caron, Donald Pleasance, Barry Morse and Cliff De Young lend believability to the larger-than-life characters and plotting, but it’s Cannon who shines brightest, and in a difficult role that requires her to play from youthful ingénue to elderly matron. Technical aspects are typically top-notch; the DVD includes no extras. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Fernando Allende, Bill Bailey, Ed Bishop, Barry Morse
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 413 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PKHS6S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,511 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Master of the Game" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Mark Allen on April 11, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you loved the sudsy world of 1980s prime-time TV, February 1984 will forever stand out in your mind. With "Dallas," "Dynasty," "Falcon Crest" and "Knots Landing" all in the weekly Top 10, for three consecutive weeks viewers were also treated to epic, melodramatic mini-series. First was NBC's "Celebrity," followed by "Master of the Game" on CBS and then ABC's "Lace." Each posted bigger ratings than the previous.

"Master of the Game" was a nine-hour, three-night smash. Based on Sidney Sheldon's compulsively-readable novel, the saga told the 100-year story of the Blackwell family. At the center, Dyan Cannon wore innumerable preposterous gowns (don't get me started on the hats!), and guided her family's business empire to ever more dizzying heights. The plot moves at light speed, the diverse cast (everyone from Jean Marsh and Leslie Caron to Harry Hamlin and David Birney) was typical of the genre, and the sets were sumptuous.

Without providing any spoliers (not that they are needed for fans), this book-turned-mini advances the devilishly-addictive plot at breakneck speed. For newer fans of the book, this dramatization is well worth watching.

The collection would have earned five stars were it not for the *horrible* transfer. Produced at a then jaw-dropping cost of $3-million per hour, the series had a lush, gorgeous look. Unfortunately, the picture is often horribly grainy and the colors are inconsistent. But who cares? It's the story that makes "Master of the Game" the winner that it is.

Sit back and savor the sudsy goodness!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Darren on January 14, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching this mini-series for the 20th time last week, I have to say that Master of the Game is a good example of how some great television miniseries were produced in the 1980s.

The production values in this series are excellent, with a great musical score and fantastic scenery shots. The costumes were well designed and suitable to the various eras. Where the script/book demanded that the scenes be set in Africa or Paris, the producers took this series to those locations (although I believe that the South African scenes were shot in Kenya, and the New York mansion is the interior of an English manor home). The script was very well written, and the casting/acting was spot on (where has Liane Langland gone??).

Although some television miniseries produced in the 1980s have dated (eg, Rage Of Angels and If Tomorrow Comes), Master of the Game stands the test of time, and should be mentioned alongside Lonesome Dove, Shaka Zulu and North and South. I have to agree with a previous review of this item that CBS has not done this series the treatment it deserves with the poor transfer to DVD. As an anniversary edition, surely CBS could have given us the entire, unedited series that originally aired in 1984.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Bernie Tinirau on March 16, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was so looking forward to see this miniseries after having seen the VHS shortened version many years ago.
I really did enjoy watching the opening episode with the fantastic Ian Charleson and brilliant Donald Pleasance.
Unfortunately the rest of the series seems terribly rushed with characters aging at a ludicrous speed (Dyan Cannon),i totally lost interest in the characters because of the frenetic pace of the storylines.I couldn't even bring myself to watch it all...
To be honest it felt like part 2 to 4 were badly edited/condensed while part 1 was left virtually intact.Also the quality of the picture was atrocious which is odd as i'm sure it was photographed on film.
A better transfer of a miniseries is "Centennial" which is spread out on 6 discs with wonderful picture quality.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Paul Racioppi Jr DDS on November 5, 2009
Format: DVD
I had first seen "Master Of The Game" upon its February 1984 premiere. As an avid fan of everything Sidney Sheldon has written from "I Dream Of Jeannie" to "Rage Of Angels", "Windmills Of The Gods" and "The Other Side Of Midnight", I had actually taped this on betamax (remember those!) to watch on that Saturday in winter 1984. I was a Sophomore dental school student at the time, which leaves you no time to watch anything during the week. Thank God I had taped this. I slept late ( until the afternoon ) that Saturday, transcribed two different school lectures from my little tape recorder ( didn't those days seem so simple compared to today? ), ran out for some dinner with my best friend from school, and he came over to watch this with me - all nine hours straight through. We had hot coffee and a great night of television. This was Sheldon's masterpiece, sprawling decades and world geography from South Africa and Maine, to New York, Paris and Vermont. I totally agree with the previous reviewer's comments about Dyan Cannon's hats! But that was the time, and money was nothing to these people. Dyan is dynamic as the matriarch inheritor of a diamond empire named Kruger-Brent ( named for two vicious dogs who almost finish her father off in South Africa, as he is about to discover diamonds in the sand on the beach, becoming one of the richest men in the world. Fortunately, the dogs do not win! But Harry Hamlin is worth his weight in gold as Kate Blackwell's ( Dyan Cannon's ) son, who is naturally gifted to become one of the greatest artists in the world, only to upset his mother to the point of trying to control every aspect of his destiny to the max. You'll find out what this could cause him to do to his mother ( I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it ).Read more ›
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