Boardwalk Empire: Season 1, Episode 1

Boardwalk Empire (19 Sep. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | History
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 1,945 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 8 critic

January 1920. On the eve of Prohibition, Atlantic City's Treasurer, Nucky Thompson, condemns alcohol at a Women's Temperance League meeting, where he is noticed by Margaret Schroeder, a ... See full summary »

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Title: Boardwalk Empire (19 Sep 2010)

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Chalky White (as Michael Kenneth Williams)
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Storyline

January 1920. On the eve of Prohibition, Atlantic City's Treasurer, Nucky Thompson, condemns alcohol at a Women's Temperance League meeting, where he is noticed by Margaret Schroeder, a pretty, pregnant housewife who comes to him for help in getting her abusive husband Hans a job. Later that evening, the duplicitous Nucky privately tells his ward bosses about the opportunity to make huge profits selling bootleg liquor. At a countdown-to-midnight blast at Babette's Supper Club, he assures Jimmy Darmody, a recently returned WWI vet, that his appointment as "Man Friday" to the new Chief Clerk of the Fourth Ward, Paddy Ryan, will lead to bigger things. Jimmy, meanwhile, has higher aspirations and ends up making an alliance that could have dire consequences for both him and Nucky. Written by HBO Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Crime | Drama | History

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TV-MA

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19 September 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Sophie Tucker recording of "Some of These Days," which plays over the scene where Nucky looks in on the baby incubator store front, would have been nine years old at the time the events in this episode take place (it was recorded in 1911). See more »

Goofs

Music featured the tune "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" which was not produced until 1938. See more »

Quotes

Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson: First rule of politics, kiddo: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
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Connections

References The Godfather (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

I Never Knew I Had a Wonderful Wife
(uncredited)
written by Albert von Tilzer
Performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra featuring Stephen DeRosa
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User Reviews

Masterful acting, conflicted protagonist, exquisite dual visuals, immersive production, intriguing and exciting story, irresistible bitter candy jar, mythical universe
21 September 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Boardwalk Empire's pilot aired, the first leaf of autumn fell. Scheduling it at the end of summer was a bright idea. The show won't change your life but its potential is undeniable. It has most of the materials required by a top notch entertainment production.

Steve Buscemi is a viewer magnet and when I read he would portray the protagonist, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, I was instantly hooked. From his unique voice to his strange physical attributes the man is a pool of natural talent to himself. As expected his performance was the enlightenment of the episode. His palette of emotions painted the scenes with so many different colors and shapes that at times it was almost like watching René Magritte's surreal work in motion. Moreover it was almost perfectly integrated to well polished and designed studio sets. A few minor issues but nothing to prevent the immersion. Who's responsible ? Not Tom Jones obviously so I suspect the usual creative freaks, from the confirmed executive producers to the artistic director. But beside these visual considerations Nucky is also a deep, conflicted and intriguing character. Covering the prohibition era is not original but following one of its puppet master can only be exciting. It's the eternal battle between good and evil. If you had his power, what would you do ? Who would you be ? An incorruptible politician or an evil persona motivated by easy money and obsessed with tainted silk ? Buscemi's ambivalent acting blurred the lines between the possible answers to these questions. One minute he touches your heart and soul like a crying man, the next he parades with the devil and succumbs to temptation of the flesh.

Like a twister Buscemi & Nucky dragged with them an impressive amount of superlatives. First the editing was both original and well executed. Forget the over used reverse order concept and enjoy a puzzling sequence of scenes brilliantly blended together. Second the mix between superficial and authentic elements is fascinating. It's even mesmerized by the duality and charisma of the characters. Third the cast is charming, convincing and eclectic. My only regret is that most women are young and beautiful. In my humble opinion it made the story less credible so I hope the minor and unexploited roles will blossom. Fourth beside the drama it was also a lot of fun. The shadowing scene is already cult and was just hilarious. Let's also not forget the funny and sexy ride involving Nucky and his "friend" Angela Darmody, sweatily portrayed by Aleksa Palladino. Fifth you should also be shocked by the violence of some scenes. Faint-hearted audience, pass out.

Last but not least between these questionable and brutal moments one can only be moved by the poetry and creepiness of a few ideas. They actually reminded me of Carnivàle and its mesmerizing mythology. From the delicate babies to the girl corpse it's almost like if they were trying to send us a subliminal message. Are we the pedestrian behind the window ? Knock, knock, Nucky !


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