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Parade's End


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#31

Navona

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Posted Sep 2, 2012 @ 7:32 PM

I've seen both episodes and I love them. I do find the structuring of the episodes interesting - scenes are almost like separate vignettes, sometimes with no sense of the amount of time between scenes, which is fine but it is an interesting approach to such a complicated, complex piece of literature. I feel there are missing scenes or parts of scenes that have been snipped and today I read an article in which Stoppard does talk about things being cut in order to fit the 60 minute episodes and that is what I think I'm sensing. It hasn't taken away the pleasure of it for me, but I can imagine it might not be to someone else's liking.

If people are not watching or stopped watching, it is likely just not their cup of tea so to speak but I do wonder if they had run the episodes, say over the course of two weeks vs five weeks, would people have tuned in if they had 2 or 3 episodes a week - the way they used to do in the hey day of the mini-series. Who knows.

I saw just a few reviews calling in a bodice ripping something or other - nearly every piece I read was a positive, substantive review.
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#32

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Posted Sep 2, 2012 @ 9:46 PM

The first half of Some Do Not..., the first book in the series, ends in 1912--with exactly the scene that ended the first episode. The second half of the book takes place during one very long day and night in 1917; as we follow our characters, we also learn bits & pieces of what had happened in the intervening years. It appears we'll arrive at 1917 next week. This week's show was an expansion of those flashbacks--and some of Sir Tom's inventions--to build characters & background before The War sucks everybody in.

Rather than slow down to try to understand every little bit when I read the books the first time, I realized that I would want to read the whole thing again. So I just kept in reading; once I got to the end, I saw the general shape of things. Ford called his technique "Impressionism." You need to stand back from an Impressionist painting to "see" the picture. Then you focus on various parts to enjoy the intricate brushwork. Even for me, it's frustrating to have each hour separated by a week.....

Ratings in the UK probably went down because fewer people tuned in thinking it was just like Downton Abbey; every media source had done nothing but make comparisons between the two. Then there were those offended by the brief naughty bits. But quite a few apparently enjoyed this different method of storytelling--or hoped for more naughty bits! It's not as though the show needs good ratings for renewal; five episodes and Napoo Finny! As usual, readers comments after the (mostly favorable) reviews are interesting. Is the show a Tory apologia because of all the posh gits? Or is it the usual BBC leftism because those posh gits don't come off very well? (I'm a Texan--what do I know?)

Still enjoying the thing immensely. It has all the details that draw most of us to costume drama--sweeping vistas, amazing old buildings & lovely costumes. There's a lot to say about our characters--maybe next week.

For now, one little scene made me happy, during the gathering at Macmaster's. Was that poisonous combination of arty politicos & artistes hoping for government money Ford's recreation of gatherings he attended when he was writing propaganda--before he chose active duty, although he was 40 plus, out of shape & in no danger of conscription? Anyway, two ladies stroll by, comparing the grief becoming more evident every day with Michelangelo's Pieta. Not from Ford--perhaps from T S Eliot's Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, published in 1915.

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo.


The BBC's excellent "Who On Earth Was Ford Madox Ford" is now on YouTube. Here's part one.... (The link goes to a slightly scrambled version of the show. You might have better luck going to the list showing each part separately. Or just consider it an exercise in disjointed modernity. Scenes from Parade's End include some from episodes not yet broadcast--be warned, or be eager to watch!)

Edited by not Bridget, Sep 2, 2012 @ 11:39 PM.

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#33

mupt90

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Posted Sep 2, 2012 @ 10:52 PM

Well, I finished reading the book(s) last night (at long last) and I watched episodes 1 and 2 this evening. I'm really loving the production (gorgeous!) and the characterization. I'm glad Stoppard put the events in mostly chronological order. It made it much easier to follow, though I wonder if those who haven't read the books might still have trouble following.

I think Rebecca Hall has done a wonderful job making Sylvia somewhat sympathetic. Reading the books, I really couldn't stand Sylvia and kept hoping some unpleasant fate would befall her. Loving Christopher and Valentine. Looking forward to them really getting into the story next week.
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#34

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Posted Sep 3, 2012 @ 9:52 AM

It is fascinating - even with just the two episodes thus far - to witness the internal and external (to some degree) of Christopher, as changes swirl around them. With all the general perception that the era was button up and oh, so very proper, it has been fun to witness just how much it was not - yet, superficially, everyone seems so pristine. Walls crumbling down....
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#35

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Posted Sep 4, 2012 @ 8:17 AM

Radio Times on Episode 3; 'ware spoilers:

Paradeís End has become that infuriating thing: the series that hits its stride three episodes in. Suddenly, tonight, itís all we could have wished for Ė sharp and romantic and piercingly sad by turns. The storylines that have up to now been oblique and not-quite-there come together....


Some thoughts on the Tietjens/Sylvia relationship. I've read the books but this is based on what we've seen....
Spoiler


Sylvia refers to her maid as "Hullo Central" because her voice reminds her of a switchboard operator; but she calls her Evie, in person. And what a revelation that Groby has no indoor plumbing!
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#36

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Posted Sep 4, 2012 @ 9:50 AM

Spoiler
- ImNotLeesa


Yes, I got the feeling the
Spoiler

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#37

ImNotLeesa

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Posted Sep 4, 2012 @ 11:29 AM

Thanks, Pooki, I was wondering if it was some "class" thing, but that makes more sense. Especially given the exchange between Christopher and Sylvia,
Spoiler
But I didn't connect those two things until reading your post.
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#38

Navona

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Posted Sep 4, 2012 @ 11:33 AM

That was my take on that scene as well. So much said without actually saying it in this series. Love it....

Is it just me, or do BC's eyes look very dark in many of the scenes? Given his natural eye color, I'm really struck by how dark they look - I assume it must be the lighting but it is striking.
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#39

not Bridget

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Posted Sep 7, 2012 @ 4:06 PM

From behind the Times pay wall, Caitlin Moran mentions the show in her semi-regular TV column:

If you are not watching Parade’s End, I urge you to hammer it on iPlayer, catch up, and then watch the last two episodes as they unfold. It’s a wholly immersive experience — the thinness of the ladies’ lawn dresses; the fatness of Rebecca Hall’s lips; the metallic taste of the copper bath; the Groby Great Tree, hung with sextants, pipes and handkerchiefs, looking like a massive metaphor that will play off in the last episode.

Benedict Cumberbatch is playing out of his skin, the script and direction have genius-level IQ, and Hall’s Sylvia is one of the great female characters of the past decade. God knows why it’s on Friday night — it should be playing on massive screens in our parks, cheered on by crowds as the BBC rack up a World Record in drama.


I've always liked her stuff; her evisceration of the last series of Downton was enough to justify paying. Her praise does not come easily.

Edited by not Bridget, Sep 7, 2012 @ 4:07 PM.

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#40

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Posted Sep 7, 2012 @ 5:11 PM

Has any brave American soul been able find a way to watch online? Found ep 1 on You Tube but then the poor chap got caught. Thanks!
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#41

dogonfire

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Posted Sep 7, 2012 @ 9:39 PM

Oh, episode three -- even better than episode two which was even better than episode one. Is it lovely when that happens? Next week looks pretty good, shallowly judging by the amount of Roger Allam it looks like it will feature.

I know we're supposed to be rooting for Christopher and Valentine but the Christopher and Sylvia scenes are still the highlights. There's an amazing connection there and you feel, particularly in this episode, that they can talk to each other in a way they can't talk to anyone else. And that monologue when Christopher describes what it was like on the battlefield was incredible.

I also am still loving McMaster, despite his faults. He's one of the few who seem to accept and understand Christopher without the frustration that everyone else around him seems to have. I also want to mention Anne-Marie Duff as Edith. In the books, I found Edith particularly unlikeable but here I like the desperation and nervousness that Duff gives her.

Final thoughts:
Groby Tree looks wonderful but every time they cut to a shot of it, one of the decorations looks like a woman in a dress who has hanged herself. I don't know if it's intentional or not but it freaks me out a bit.

Caitlin Moran is right: Rebecca Hall's lips are mesmerizing. I can't help staring at them.
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#42

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Posted Sep 8, 2012 @ 5:39 PM

Oh, episode three -- even better than episode two which was even better than episode one. Is it lovely when that happens?

It is! But really frustrating to have to wait a week to get to next installment. Part of me wishes that I had waited to watch until the DVD's had come out, so that I could soak it all in at once.

There were so many heartbreaking moments, where they made me really feel for the characters, alternating with moments where I just wanted to shake them because of what they were doing, or refusing to do or saying or refusing to say.* It's a rare piece, I think, that can pull you in and move you in so many different directions over a character (Christopher, Sylvia, Valentine) And what a damning portrait of the society surrounding them (though I suppose that's the point.)

It's such a strange piece, seemingly moving along at a languid pace with everything and everyone kind of at arms length and then suddenly giving a flash of insight and raw emotion in a scene that changes everything, or finally brings to the surface something that's been simmering all along. Kudos to Stoppard (and Ford, of course) and White for that. The writing is fantastic, and the performances are really amazing, especially Cumberbatch and Hall. Sorry to be so gushy, but it's just that good.

*I'll be back to talk details later, but I'm not in the mood for spoiler bars today.
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#43

mupt90

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Posted Sep 8, 2012 @ 8:06 PM

Gotham, I found episode 1 and 2 on YouTube earlier this week. Now I can only find Episode 1. (I think I searched Parade's End miniseries) Good luck. And let me know if you find Episode 3 anywhere. This is my first foray into trying to access a BBC show before it airs in the US. And since I don't even get HBO, I'm REALLY going to have to wait a long time to see it if I can't find it online. :-(
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#44

Navona

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Posted Sep 8, 2012 @ 8:29 PM

I'm mesmerized by the style of writing and directing. I love the sparseness of the dialogue but what is there is so rich and colorful and blindingly descriptive. Really fascinating - not quite like anything I have ever seen. For me, it is more like watching a poem that has been brought to visual vs a novel(s).

It is addictive.
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#45

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Posted Sep 8, 2012 @ 10:46 PM

Thanks mupt90- I don't get HBO either and I'm dying. I may honestly just get it the week it finally airs and then cancel it! I'll let you know what I can dig up.
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#46

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Posted Sep 9, 2012 @ 8:40 AM

I am so enjoying the odd, off-kilter nature of this adaptation. I am not sure how much of that comes from what is obviously to some extent a "difficult" book and how much from the fact that Tom Stoppard is, as well as being a very good writer, someone who has been away from TV writing for years and maybe not used to the current trends. It was an interesting contrast watching the ITV adaptation of Du Maurier's The Scapegoat this week, which was perfectly decent and enjoyable but fitted what was an odd, of-its-time book into a very conventional TV structure, giving it a completely obvious ending instead of the book's ambiguous one. Parade's End on the other hand seems to be resisting the easy tropes and predictable scenes and giving us something weirder which is more akin to the writing of Mad Men or something than the usual British dramas.

Anyway I still love Tietjens but he is infuriating at times (as the other characters and even he himself can see).
Spoiler

Edited by Promethea Again, Sep 9, 2012 @ 8:42 AM.

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#47

Navona

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Posted Sep 9, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

Would have been nice for it to be longer but I think they are managing to capture the essence/story of the novels in a remarkable way. I can't imagine they could have hung onto this cast for longer than these five hours or been able to afford it either.

There is almost a kafkaesque feel to what is happening to the main character.

Whenever I think that this whole societal trauma (including the war) took place just 100 years ago, it really does blow my mind how much has changed since as well as how little. I can only imagine what the next 100 years will bring.
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#48

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Posted Sep 9, 2012 @ 3:15 PM

Promethea Again--The books aren't that difficult. But they do use a nonlinear style & Stoppard is using a slightly more linear but still not stodgy style to present them as films. (Yes, it's a TV show--but it looks like a first-rate set of films to me.)

Did Tietjens give Sylvia a "chance"?
Spoiler


Why did some sensible folks believe ridiculous gossip?
Spoiler


Mrs Duchemin?
Spoiler


Mark Tietjens?
Spoiler


No consummation came "at the end" because we aren't at the end yet. There are two more episodes. As somebody who loves the books, I'm missing so many "good bits" that have been omitted. But there's only so much that can be shown! So I'm just enjoying it & won't judge the whole thing until the end. The performances are mostly fine & the production is beautiful. Of course it could have been longer--but it was already extremely expensive.

If you like the show, do consider reading the books. I've found they repay re-reading, as the show will repay seeing again. (Tom Stoppard will be publishing a book with the script. Along with his thoughts--& scenes that had to be cut for time & budget considerations.)

Edited by not Bridget, Sep 9, 2012 @ 5:19 PM.

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#49

ImNotLeesa

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Posted Sep 9, 2012 @ 4:09 PM

Also confusing:

Spoiler

I was with you too, as mentioned upthread, based on things presented in Episode 1 and 2:
Spoiler


I don't think that Christopher "didn't give Sylvia a chance",
Spoiler


*one random bit of that scene which I really loved: the way Christopher reacted to
Spoiler


Also loved Christopher and Mark's relationship in this episode, as prickly as it had been in the first episode, but with different layers coming through. It almost seemed like you could see their childhood relationship peeking through.
Spoiler
I had found Valentine a starry-eyed, gauzy, yet a bit dull in the first 2 episodes but she seemed to come into her own in this episode.

Edited by ImNotLeesa, Sep 9, 2012 @ 4:12 PM.

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#50

calais

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Posted Sep 9, 2012 @ 9:32 PM

I am absolutely loving this series, but not having read the books, I find myself confused at times. Can someone please explain to me [ep. 3 spoiler]
Spoiler
? I didn't catch that.

And does anyone else have any problems with Cumberbatch's cheek implants? Crisp diction would have been far preferable to the jowly look, IMO.

Edited by calais, Sep 9, 2012 @ 10:04 PM.

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#51

not Bridget

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Posted Sep 9, 2012 @ 10:41 PM

Ah, Father Consett! He had a lot of nonpolitical insights--which I still hope we may hear of before the series ends.

In the book,
Spoiler


In the show,
Spoiler

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#52

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Posted Sep 10, 2012 @ 5:27 AM

Parade's End has shed another half-million viewers with only 1.6m tuning in for the third episode, while over on BBC1, sitcom In with the Flynns attracted 2.8m from 9.00pm-9.30pm and fellow sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys was seen by 4.7m from 9.30-10.00pm.



Given the reported £12m this cost to make it's starting to look rather poor value for money, even allowing for the budget being split between BBC and HBO.If it doesn't do well in overseas sales to recoup this investment, it might put the BBC off making this type of drama in the future especially in the current economic climate.

That said, away from soap operas both the BBC and ITV have been struggling to get decent audiences for drama of late. ITV's feature length adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's The Scapegoat only managed 2m viewers on Sunday night, for example.
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#53

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Posted Sep 10, 2012 @ 6:58 AM

It depends: it's a prestige project for the BBC, so it's not required to get really high ratings. Being shown in the summer (and during the Paralympics), they must have known it wouldn't get huge Call The Midwife numbers even if it weren't a more highbrow, minority series. And I think it's part of the commitment they gave a few years ago to make more 20th Century historical dramas/adaptations rather than going back to the Austen/Dickens well all the time, so they can justify it on those terms too. Because of the "unique way the BBC is funded" as they say, ratings and sales are not the only measure. Even in recession and with cuts, they'll always have to produce some quality dramas for kudos more than ratings.

No consummation came "at the end" because we aren't at the end yet.

Well, I know that! I meant in the end, after the build up of them both thinking it was going to happen that night.

Interesting to hear that in the book
Spoiler

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#54

Navona

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Posted Sep 10, 2012 @ 8:16 AM

I am hoping that when HBO airs it, they do it more like the old days of mini-series - where it would air back to back over the course of five days (for five episodes) - though I doubt they can probably do that sort of scheduling anymore. I think a program like this would benefit from such a showing.

I have been pretty baffled by comments from people (not here) claiming they have been very confused by the story - and, it really does seem not all confusing to me. I know we are all different but I just don't see this as being that difficult to absorb and understand.

My guess is - and, this is just a guess obviously - is that HBO is banking on BC being more well known after Star Trek comes out and if they air this after the movie comes out, they will benefit from his being in it - but, who knows whether the audiences would even be the same.

It is a shame that so many people are missing such a beautifully filmed piece. I wonder what the viewer numbers are for people in the UK watching via iplayer. Scheduling it on a Friday night at this time of year seems to be shooting themselves in the foot.
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#55

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Posted Sep 10, 2012 @ 9:23 AM

I'd guess that HBO is delaying broadcast (or whatever they call showing a TV show nowadays) because it's Emmy Bait. (As much as I love the show, it's got "quality" written all over it.) I believe it will show here just before the Emmy Year closes--so it will be on voters' minds.

Father Consett:
Spoiler


Earlier, we saw Tietjens Sr talking to Mark about Sylvia's brother.
Spoiler


Sylvia was never good at talking.
Spoiler

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#56

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Posted Sep 13, 2012 @ 4:49 PM

Here are a couple of write ups/reviews of Parade's End:


Parade's End: 6 Reasons You Must Watch

Parade's End - Den of Geek reviews

I'm looking forward to the next installment!

Edited by ImNotLeesa, Sep 13, 2012 @ 4:49 PM.

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#57

not Bridget

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Posted Sep 14, 2012 @ 7:25 AM

Both of those pretty good reviews appear on sites that do not normally review That Sort Of Thing. From Den of Geek review for Episode 1:

Itís worth mentioning at this stage that at no point in Paradeís End does Tietjens fall through a portal to another planet (unless you count Yorkshire), encounter an army of the undead, or get bitten by anything radioactive.


Word about tonight's installment indicates we might witness
Spoiler

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#58

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Posted Sep 14, 2012 @ 8:31 AM

Well, I was able to catch up with the help of little elves, and I think it's fantastic. There's just so much longing. I can't help but think everybody just needs a good roll in the hay. And I've come to like Sylvia. I can't help it.
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#59

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Posted Sep 14, 2012 @ 5:22 PM

Oh, well that was fantastic. It seemed a lot tighter and moved fairly quickly when I assume comes down to the fact it took place over a shorter period of time and, except for a few scenes, on one location. With the all usual feelings of silliness, sadness and frustration firmly in place.

It also had Roger Allam. Lots of Roger Allam being all Roger Allam-y. I like that even though Campion is an idiot, he does seem to genuinely care for Christopher and tries to do his best for him.

As usual, though, the best part comes down to Christopher and Sylvia.
Spoiler

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#60

Navona

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 3:53 PM

Rats. I have been able to see the first four episodes (I live in US) but that opportunity no longer exists.

I am begging someone here to just put a very brief synopsis of the final episode - who ends up with who, if anyone we have come to know dies, etc -- Please? (whimpering)

Obviously, all under spoiler tags....

Thanks in advance!!

Edited to add: a kind UK friend phoned me and he told me the overall story of the last episode and I know that when I do get to see it, I expect to really enjoy it as much as I did the other episodes.

Edited by Navona, Sep 21, 2012 @ 5:08 PM.

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