Circles, π, Fifty Ships, and Michael Kitchen — boundless in their beauty and perfection.

Foyle's War: Fifty Ships: Michael Kitchen holding synchromesh gear

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Mesmerizing Michael Kitchen: love at first sight

Mr. Kitchen is possibly the eighth wonder of the world. Never flashy … but nevertheless the center of every frame in which he appears.hikari

From John Powers’s review of Foyle’s War on NPR:

What makes the whole thing irresistible is Michael Kitchen’s enthralling performance as Foyle, who, in his reticence, sly humor and triumphant decency, is our fantasy of the ideal Englishman.

****

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Foyle's War: The Funk Hole: Michael Kitchen mouth shrug

Foyle, the master of brevity, knows when he’s said enough to bring the guilty party to his knees.

And Michael Kitchen knows how to use his incomparable mouth shrug and eyes to maximum effect.

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Michael Kitchen: Frian Pern: John Farrow closeup 1
Michael Kitchen: Frian Pern: John Farrow closeup 2

More John Farrow in 2017?

Hopefully, more adorable outtakes, too.

Michael Kitchen giggling 1: Brian Pern outtake
Michael Kitchen giggling 2: Brian Pern outtake
Michael Kitchen giggling 3: Brian Pern outtake

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Michael Kitchen: White Heat: easy on the eyes

Casually easy on the eyes.

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fall

Foyle and the colors of fall.

Foyle's War: The German Woman: Michael Kitchen: fall colors 1
Foyle's War: The German Woman: Michael Kitchen: fall colors 2

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Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 1
Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 3


Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 7
Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 8

Goodbye, Mr. Foyle.


KT said:

John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” but, I’d argue, that Foyle comes as close to proving him wrong as any fictional character and MK played that perfectly.

This is inspired. Thank you for sharing, KT. In light of your comment, I particularly got a kick out of this New Yorker cartoon. →

Mary McNamara of the LA Times makes “a case for an Emmy (or more) for Foyle’s War:

Created and written almost entirely by bestselling novelist Anthony Horowitz, “Foyle’s War” is the Mona Lisa of television: small, quiet, utterly hypnotic and mysteriously perfect.

A small and often silent man, as kind as he is morally rigorous, Foyle stands guard over basic humanity as the whirlwind of war and modernity threatens to uproot the good with the bad. Year after year, he has been brought to vivid vibrant life by Kitchen, an actor of rare and controlled brilliance. Each season, he gave the performance of a hundred lifetimes while appearing to do little more than shrug off his coat, bite his lip and refuse endless offers of tea.

…the final episode of the series, “Elise,” is what the American-based Acorn TV, which has co-produced the series since its return, will submit in all the relevant television movie categories — some of which it better win, despite the low-key nature of its radiance and, perhaps more significant, the famous long-standing refusal of its leading man to do any publicity.

Neither should matter at all if the awards are truly about excellence.

Kivrin has written a lovely Foyle vignette that picks up after this final scene.

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Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen as Berkeley Cole 1
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen as Berkeley Cole 2

Michael Kitchen is all sun-kissed gorgeousness and gentlemanly charm as Berkeley Cole in Out of Africa.

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Michael Kitchen makes even the most mundane dialogue interesting to watch.

Foyle's War: They Fought in the Fields: Michael Kitchen: asking to use the phone 1Foyle's War: They Fought in the Fields: Michael Kitchen: asking to use the phone 2

A Times critic put it another way (Nov. 29, 2003):

“…Michael Kitchen — an actor capable of making even the most banal dialogue sound as if Chekhov had written it.”

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Michael Kitchen: Dalziel and Pascoe: Bones and Silence

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Michael Kitchen: Reckless: Richard Crane

Beautiful Michael Kitchen/Richard Crane.

anonymous said:

Thank you KF, you always make my day! Perhaps Reckless should have been titled Breathless? At least that’s how MK playing Richard Crane leaves me feeling. ;- )

Seems we do a good job of making each other’s day.  Completely agree about that feeling of breathlessness MK brings on whenever he appears in Reckless.  🙂


Nope, I wouldn’t either, Richard.

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michael kitchen foyle's war a lesson in murder closeup

Another one of the gorgeous closeup shots of Michael Kitchen from A Lesson in Murder. ****

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Caught on a Train: Michael Kitchen closeup

****

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Freud: Michael Kitchen: picking up tab 1Freud: Michael Kitchen: picking up tab 2
Freud: Michael Kitchen: picking up tab 3Freud: Michael Kitchen: picking up tab 4

Freud reminisces about happier times when von Fleischl generously picked up the tab and took him under his wing.  Even a big, bushy beard can’t hide the adorableness of Michael Kitchen’s smile that’s replicated the following year in Out of Africa.

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Foyle's War: The Eternity Ring: Michael Kitchen smiling lights up room

Christopher Foyle/Michael Kitchen smiles, and the room lights up…

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Foyle's War: The Hide: Michael Kitchen: expression1Foyle's War: The Hide: Michael Kitchen: expression2
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Having an actor as gifted and exacting as Michael Kitchen interpret one’s work is undoubtedly a huge boon to writers, but it’s not without its challenges as Anthony Horowitz has described in interviews:

Michael is as responsible as I am for the character of Foyle. Michael Kitchen has always been one of our most revered actors here in Britain. He had never done a long-running television series until Foyle’s War. The only reason he took it on, I think, was because I was able to persuade him that it wouldn’t just be a case of him getting a thud of an envelope through a door every two weeks with a new script; he would be very much part of the creative process. That is what we have done for nearly ten years. It’s not always been easy. Michael is very demanding. One of the funny things about him is that he’s the only actor I know who demands fewer lines. He’ll look at a speech and say to me, “Actually I can do all of that — five lines — with one look.” And the annoying thing is, he’s always right; he can — which means I have to write more dialogue for the other actors to fill out the episode. – PBS Q&A for Series 7

Curiously, he had never taken the lead in a long series. In part, this may have been down to his reputation for being ‘difficult’. …Was he difficult? He was certainly demanding – utterly focused on the character with a rigid determination to ensure that the integrity and the quality of the drama would never be compromised. Sometimes, he would cut or rewrite a scene hours before it was due to be filmed, and I won’t pretend that this wasn’t frustrating. But for him the performance was everything, and the result is there on the screen. I have no doubt at all that a huge part of the success of the show was down to Michael. – Daily Mail (Jan. 5, 2008)

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The Last Contract: Michael Kitchen: cold professionalism

In The Last Contract Michael Kitchen excels in exuding the ice-cold professionalism of a high-end hired assassin.

Hard to believe this is the same man behind the scenes!

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Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Emily Blunt: busy bees 1Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Emily Blunt: busy bees 2
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Full merrily the humble-bee doth sing,
Till he hath lost his honey and his sting;
And being once subdued in armed tail,
Sweet honey and sweet notes together fail.
Troilus and Cressida

In her first credited role, Emily Blunt got to act opposite Michael Kitchen and wear a nifty beekeeper’s outfit. Amazing that the real experts in beekeeping require little in the way of protective wear, even when dealing with a swarm of 40,000 bees.

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May the royal newlyweds enjoy a marriage as long and happy as William and Philippa’s.

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Love Song: Michael Kitchen: biking to work 1Love Song: Michael Kitchen: biking to work 1

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Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: reacting to judge's verdict

At the alarming rate that far-right judges are being appointed to lower-court benches, it won’t be long before we lose a vital bastion against Trumpism.

From The New Yorker:

McConnell didn’t just protect a Supreme Court seat for the next President; he basically shut down the entire confirmation process for all of Obama’s federal-judgeship nominees for more than a year. It’s the vacancies that accumulated during this time — more than a hundred of them — that Trump’s team is now working efficiently to fill.

Fuming after reading about the latest developments. The two parties are not the same!

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The Browning Version: Michael Kitchen: teacher appreciation 1
The Browning Version: Michael Kitchen: teacher appreciation 2

Why didn’t any of my teachers look (and talk) like Michael Kitchen in The Browning Version?

It’s a lovely thought, but I’m sure I’d have been so mesmerised by all that charm that I wouldn’t have learned a thing. Wouldn’t have minded being Teacher’s pet, though. – anonymous

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Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen closeup
Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen sidelong glance

…the devil hath power. To assume a pleasing shape. – Hamlet

A devil incarnate, in the form of an angel. Those eyes! And bless that hair. Let’s face it we all had rubbish hair in the 70’s (well if you had been born then of course). It was a pre-requisite of the times.  – steviecat123

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Once a place of opportunity where men like Sir Helmsley’s son, Guy, could fulfill their dreams, Cape Town today faces a future threatened by looming water shortages. Dreams have been turning into nightmares for residents, Rosa Lyster writes in her recent New Yorker essay, “Coming to Terms with a Life without Water“, and she goes on to lament that words like “agualation” have entered our vocabulary as the effects of climate change become increasingly evident.

My troublous dreams this night doth make me sad.
King Lear

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Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen: Martin says a prayer 1Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen: Martin says a prayer 2
Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen: Martin says a prayer 3Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen: Martin says a prayer 4
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A shocking scene in its day, but how much more revolting to see a real-life lecher “leading a prayer” in the Oval Office today.

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Foyle's War: A War of Nerves: Michael Kitchen: Peter Capaldi: lunch 1Foyle's War: A War of Nerves: Michael Kitchen: Peter Capaldi: lunch 2
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When Raymond Carter grows testy, Foyle tactfully cuts short his lunch with the communist agitator.

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Foyle's War: Among the Few: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam stuck with bomb 1Foyle's War: Among the Few: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam stuck with bomb 2
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Foyle’s directions to Sam for protecting herself against a bomb blast are considerably more useful than the tips disseminated by the U.S. government ten years later:

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Enchanted April: Michael Kitchen: picnic scene 1Enchanted April: Michael Kitchen: picnic scene 2
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George Briggs’s story of the oleander tree on National Picnic Day.

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Enjoyed this beautiful Earth Day weekend by climbing to my nearest edge of the world overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.

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The uncertain glory of an April day. – The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 1Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 2
Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 3Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 4
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Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 9
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Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 12
Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam and Foyle final scene 13
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(Location: St. James Garden/Cemetery, Liverpool, UK, April 2014)

Really couldn’t have asked for a better final scene between Foyle and Sam. Almost as good as their first scene together.

…an ending that is genuinely tender and touching and moving – in a thoroughly buttoned-up, British, 1940s kind of way, of course. “I’d really like it if you’d be the godfather,” Sam tells Foyle (she’s PWP, pregnant without permission). “Honoured.” “Thank you.” “Pleasure.” And a kiss, the first and last. – The Guardian

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Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: riding in car with Devlin
Foyle's War: The Eternity Ring: Michael Kitchen: riding in car with Hilda

The questionable professional ethics of Foyle’s ride companions are on his mind while they zip through the pastoral surroundings of Hastings in War Games and the austere streets of London in The Eternity Ring. Professional ethics certainly don’t concern Trump and his appointees as they daily violate with little repercussion the rules and laws governing their offices.

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Abridged and unabridged audiobook editions released in 1997. Robert Goddard is such a good writer, though, that I wouldn’t want to miss a single word, especially when the words are read by Michael Kitchen. But it would be interesting to listen to Martin Shaw’s narration for comparison.

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Monday Motivation.





By all appearances Foyle is in an unusually forgiving mood when he’s allowed to return to the office, flashing the most genial of smiles at Collier, who thinks he’s gotten away with murder. Foyle soon dispels the illusion, his knowing smiles disappearing as he reveals the full extent of Collier’s crimes and the motivation behind them.

Foyle's War: The Funk Hole: Michael Kitchen: listening to Collier

One aspect of Foyle’s War I’ve always admired is the coherence of the culprits’ motives. No obsessive lovers or crazed lunatics killing by reason of insanity on Foyle’s patch, thank goodness.

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Give every man thy ear but few thy voice. – Hamlet

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Foyle's War: The Funk Hole: Michael Kitchen: Andrew is wounded

Concern and relief.

Foyle's War: The Funk Hole: Michael Kitchen: Andrew is wounded

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No Man's Land: Michael Kitchen: John Gielgud: I don't usually talk.No Man's Land: Michael Kitchen: John Gielgud: Normally I keep quiet.
No Man's Land: Michael Kitchen: John Gielgud: I know what it is.No Man's Land: Michael Kitchen: John Gielgud: That's what it must be.

From Sir John Gielgud: A Life in Letters a note from the actor written during the U.S. tour of No Man’s Land in 1976:

The Pinter play is a huge success, thank God, and we have packed houses and a throng of people coming round after every performance. So I feel we are very lucky indeed, though the previous month in Washington was rather a bind, too big a theatre and a sticky lot to play to.

I once saw a musical at the Kennedy Center and agree with JG that the venue is way too big for musicals and plays. I imagine for much of the audience in the theater, it would have been hard to clearly see and hear the cast of No Man’s Land. Reading about the mad stampede last month for tickets to the upcoming run of Hamilton in D.C., I wonder how many of those who managed to get a ticket will be similarly disappointed by their experience at the KC this summer.

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Fierce.

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