Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

ITV’s Foyle’s War is Thrilling, Dramatic Mystery At It’s Finest

 

ITV and BBC as a whole release some of the finest TV movies and TV Shows that I have ever seen. At times, the channels have felt like old time studios as the talent they hire and cultivate keeps popping up from show to show and movie to movie and the directors, writers and actors just keep getting stronger and stronger. Their track record with quality is unmatched even in Hollywood circles. I can mention several shows and movies from ITV  that I have loved in recent years including Endeavor and Downton Abbey...and another one that is continually on the top of my list is Foyle’s Warfoyles-war-tv-show

Created by an amazing writer by the name of Anthony Horowitz, who has written several books, TV Shows and movies including Sherlock Holmes (The House of Silk) and James Bond (Trigger Mortis) novels and the popular young adult series, Alex Rider (Stormbreaker…).  The show is a period mystery series set first in World War II and then continues after the war, between the years 1940 to 1947. Technically, the series has 8 seasons and the first six seasons are set in Hastings, Sussex, England, where Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) attempts to catch criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion the war has created. He is assisted by his driver Samantha “Sam” Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) and Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell). For seasons 7 and 8, it sees a retired Foyle working for MI5, navigating the world of Cold War espionage.foyles-war-michael-kitchen

In the United States, each of the episodes filmed would be considered a TV Movie, as the episodes run from 90 to 110 minutes and take about 5 weeks to shoot each of them. My favorite actors in the shows would have to be Michael Kitchen, who plays Foyle and Honeysuckle Weeks, who plays his driver Sam. They are the backbone of the series. The series is notable for its attention to historical detail, and the drama is frequently moved along by historical events of the Second World War. Creator Anthony Horowitz considered that to honor the veterans of the war it was important to get the details correct.  As the series progressed, Horowitz became more interested in the “murder mystery” format than the portrayal of history and exploration of the Home Front.foyles-war-tv-series

Normally how the series has been packaged from the original run in the UK and then for the US airings later have been completely different. Upon the first viewings in the US, they would add a Historian introducing the episode about to be aired. Michael Kitchen especially liked these as he said later, “When the series first went out in the States, for example, at the front of each episode a rather eminent historian spent a couple of minutes on camera explaining how that episode related to the period of war it’s set in, what actual incidents have inspired it along with various things to look out for during the course of the programme. I think it’s a great shame something similar doesn’t happen when the series is screened in the UK. It undeniably adds another level and depth to the programme, not to mention the success this sort of prologue or introduction has had in the past – the Alfred Hitchcock series for example.”

Starter For 10, The British Brat Pack

 

Every so often a movie comes around that is so chocked full of amazing actors that you have to wonder how they acquired such an incredible cast. It’s in hind sight of course. The secret is the cast was not well known back then but over the following ten years after the release of the movie, they’ve all racked up impressive lists of movies all on their own. Now, I must admit, that Great Britain has some of the best actors in the world, but it’s rare to find so many of them in one film. The film I’m talking about in this case is Starter For 10 (2006). Throughout this post I want to examine the cast and where they have gone.starter

To start, the film was written by David Nicholls, based on his own novel. He would go on to write some great stuff for the BBC, including Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008), Great Expectations (2012) and Far From the Maddening Crowd (2015). The film was directed by Tom Vaughan who would also direct What Happens in Vegas (2008), Extraordinary Measures (2010), and Some Kind of Beautiful (2014). Now, not only was it produced by the BBC, but also by Tom Hanks and Playtone! Say what you will about his acting, he’s amazing at that, but has also really shown a talent for picking amazing projects over the years as a producer! His producer credits include Band of Brothers (2001), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), John Adams (2008), Mamma Mia! (2008), The Pacific (2010) and Parkland (2013).starter-10

James McAvoy:  The lead actor in this film, which is a period comedy set in 1985, where the story chronicles the misadventures of Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), a student trying to navigate life at Bristol University and his goals to be on the hit quiz show, University Challenge. Because of the time period, setting and cast, it makes it feel like an early 80’s Brat Pack film in the vein of The Breakfast Club (1985), St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Oxford Blues (1984) and Class (1983). It’s interesting to note that it was Andrew MacCarthy’s acting that inspired James McAvoy to be an actor. In an interview he would state, “Yeah, St. Elmo’s Fire is probably the one that I love him in the most. He was really vulnerable, really open, I think. And he had floppy hair, kind of bad hair, and I had really bad hair for quite a long time when I was a kid…”.  starterfor101

Benedict Cumberbatch:  The center connection for all the actors would probably by Cumberbatch as James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch would later co-star together in Atonement (2007). He would also be cast as Sherlock Holmes in a BBC Series created by his co-star Mark Gatiss and he would star in Star Trek Into Darkness with co-star Alice Eve. 4 of the actors would also be hired by Marvel as Cumberbatch plays Doctor Strange set to come out this year, McAvoy plays Professor Xavier in the X-Men movies, Dominic Cooper plays Howard Stark in the franchise and in Agent Carter on TV and Rebecca Hall appears in Iron Man 3. james-mcavoy-dominic-cooper

Mark Gatiss like I said, created Sherlock Holmes for the BBC (along with Stephen Moffat), but he’s also written for Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Doctor Who, and The League of Gentlemen. I like to think of him as a fine writer, but he has over 80 credits as an actor for the BBC.  Rebecca Hall has gone on to some very fine films like The Prestige (2006), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), The Town (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013), The Gift (2015) and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (2016). Alice Eve has finally broken out is some very good films over the years that include Men in Black 3 (2012), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Before We Go (2014). Dominic Cooper has recently been in Mamma Mia! (2008), Captain America (2011), and Warcraft (2016). And last but not least would be the understated, James Corden!  Who can forget that he’s taken over the Late Late Show, but he was also fantastic in Begin Again (2013) and Into the Woods (2014).james-corden-james-mcavoy-dominic-cooper

What an incredible cast and a lot of their careers really took off after this film.