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Chancer - Series 1
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Hes rude, arrogant, ingenious, unprincipled -- and utterly charming.
In the role that led to film stardom in Croupier and an Oscar® nomination in Closer, Clive Owen is simply dazzling as Stephen Crane -- con artist, swindler, and purported savior of a struggling sports car company.
Sacked from an investment bank after one dodgy deal too many, Stephen lands a job at Douglas Motors, a business distinguished by old-fashioned craftsmanship and plagued by decades of familial mismanagement. There he finds himself playing surrogate son to the family patriarch, confidant to the adulterous son-in-law, and lover to the beautiful but willful daughter. All the while, he fends off forays from his erstwhile boss (Leslie Phillips), a deliciously evil banker bent on recovering a bundle of swindled money. But, can Stephen keep his double-dealing past at bay?
In this complete first series, Chancer follows the fortunes of unforgettable characters pulled powerfully by love, sex, money, loyalty -- and, ultimately, identity.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE production photo gallery and cast filmographies.
Clive Owen burst onto the British culture scene in the neo-noir series Chancer as Stephen Crane, a broody, raffish con man with--wait for it--a heart of gold (that sometimes takes some hunting to find). In the first season of the series, which debuted in 1990, Crane is as fiercely devoted to his friends as he is to using his past skills as a swindler, taking down those more unprincipled than he. The rough-hewn Owen inhabits the role with the ease of a young Robert Mitchum, tossing off bons mots out of the side of his mouth, including a rolling succession of "Crane's Law Rule Number One", such as "Never say die. Unless of course you're already dead--but people are too polite to point it out."
The plots are wildly complex, involving land-use scams, a failing sports-car company, ruthless executives and plucky pals allied against formidable odds. And Crane's personal life is as dodgy--and riveting--as his business deals, with affections being pulled between longtime acquaintance Jo (the splendid British actress Susannah Harker) and his workplace sidekick Victoria (Lynsey Baxter). Through it all, Owen and Crane remain just opaque enough to be a riveting anti-hero--and something delicious for non-British TV fans to discover. The boxed set includes all 13 episodes as well as a rich still-photo gallery and cast filmographies. --A.T. Hurley
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Clive Owen is Steven Crane. Crane is a scoundral, but charming and with a big heart. You'll love him as the other characters come to and you'll cheer him on in every scam he thinks of. Even some of the characters you hate, you'll eventually come to love in the ENTIRE series!
I can watch this series over and over again. It really is better than anything America has on prime time or cable!
I recommend it HIGHLY!
Britain, for those of you who do not know already, is obsessed with class and class division. The Thatcher years, for all the talk of meritocracy, did nothing to affect real change in the class system but it did allow some people to make a few quid. The reforms in London's financial system, commonly known as the City, pushed out a number of the gentlemen amateurs who, through family lineage, had been at the heart of Britain's financial affairs from before the establishment of the Empire. Starbuck's fans make take heart in the fact that finances played an important part in the establishment of the Empire by many a deal struck in the coffee houses of East London.
Theses amateurs were swept aside by the input of large scale capital from finance companies and overseas investors and many street traders were able to secure positions for themselves in the rough and tumble world of international finance. Chancer is thereby another aspect of Gordon Gecko and Wall Street.
Much more than this is the portrayal of Steven Crane as the Eternal Champion, fighting with any weapon at his disposal using merely his quick wits and intuition in a world of networks of school and club, where a gentleman's word being his bond meant something more than just cementing a deal. This is a dark world of intrigue where money reaches into the darkest world of politics and permeates a netherworld of luxury built on profits, harvested by insider trading within limits and deals involving asset stripping and making many unemployed.
The bigger picture here is one of ruthless forces of unbridled capitalism fuelled by greed and envy sweeping aside years of small and medium enterprises which once made Britain the workshop of the world creating a large scale lumpen proletariat of disconnected workers cowed into submission while others take the profit and run.
Whether the viewers choose to accept such an analysis is largely up to them but this is a very rich narrative, open to many points of perspective. Amidst this Clive Owen stands head and shoulders above the cast although I have a high regard for the character of Jimmy, a real toad if ever there was one, who is the most ruthless and merciless individual beneath his guise of poncified toff from the old school.
Much more is alluded to here within this show but in a way it is an excellent encapsulation of a view of britain held by many in the eighties and nineties. Childs has done a superb job with this show which enhances his curriculum vitae which was already excellent.
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I am about to try and return it and complain was meant to be christmas gift for my mother.