MCM: Michael Kitchen

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You guys made me so happy on my Enchanted April post, when you agreed that Michael Kitchen was dreamy and Man Candy Monday-worthy! He’s just so damn charming — okay, or the characters he plays are. But he adds a gentle kindness and a crinkly smile that just make me weak. My faves are The Buccaneers and the afore-mentioned Enchanted April. Let’s enjoy some MK, shall we?

 

The Brontës of Haworth (1973)

A long, historically accurate, sometimes boring telling of the story of the three Brontë sisters, and their brother Bramwell, played by Kitchen.

The Brontes of Haworth (1973)

Mansplaining, no doubt.

1973 The Brontës of Haworth

The patriarchy can be sensitive!

 

Churchill’s People (1974)

According to The Guardian, this ranks amongst the worst of British period drama: “Supposedly a 26-part series of historical dramas, each recalling a seminal moment in the history of Britain, the series was bogged down by cheap sets, confused performances and a dismal over-reliance on expository dialogue” (From Churchill’s People to SS-GB: the worst period dramas of all time). Kitchen plays John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (you know, the “libertine” of Johnny Depp movie fame).

1974 Churchill's People

Okay, so 100 years too early to be the Earl of Rochester, but that guy on the right looks kind of like Kitchen?

 

Fall of Eagles (1974)

A BBC mini-series following the ruling dynasties of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia from 1848 through the end of World War I in 1918. Kitchen plays a young Leon Trotsky.

1974 Fall of Eagles

Designing Communism with a massive mustache! I do like the glasses tho…

 

The Misanthrope (1980)

An adaptation of a (17th-century) Molière play; from photos it looks like it’s reset in the 1920s or ’30s.

1980 Festival The Misanthrope

Can’t go wrong with a cream three-piece suit!

 

King Lear (1983)

Shakespeare, BBC, TV movie. Kitchen plays Edmund.

1983 King Lear

Looking rather Blackadder-y!

 

The Comedy of Errors (1983)

More Shakespeare, this time with ROGER DALTRY of The Who. Kitchen plays Antipholus of Ephesus / Antipholus of Syracuse.

1983 The Comedy of Errors

Such overwhelming historical accuracy!

 

Freud (1984)

A TV miniseries about the life of the father of psychiatry. Kitchen plays Freud’s good friend Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, “Austrian physiologist and physician who became known for his important investigations on the electrical activity of nerves and the brain,” per Wikipedia.

1984 Freud

Don’t care, just enjoying that beard!

 

Love Song (1985)

All I can find out is that it’s a TV movie! The photos look vaguely 1940s-ish?

1985 Love Song

See? Sorta mid-century-ish?

 

Out of Africa (1985)

Yep, Kitchen is in this! He’s Redford’s bestie, Berkeley Cole, who clearly has a little bit of a thing for Streep’s character.

1985 Out of Africa

On the left, playing second fiddle to Redford. GO FOR BERKELEY, MERYL!!

 

The Pied Piper (1989)

An Englishman helps children escape Nazi Germany; Kitchen plays a baddie Nazi. Hopefully he gets punched?

1989 The Pied Piper

Eek!

 

Fools of Fortune (1990)

A family gets caught up in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21). Kitchen plays “Mr. Quinton.”

1990 Fools of Fortune

He does rock a mustache rather well.

 

Enchanted April (1991)

Daw! Bleak Englishwomen escape to Italy in the 1920s; Kitchen’s character owns the castle they rent. He helps more than one of them rediscover their joie de vivre.

Enchanted April (1991)

Keep smiling that smile, Michael, and you’ll keep melting my heart!

1991 Enchanted April

 

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993)

Guest starring as British Prime Minister Lloyd George during World War I.

1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Doing his best Colonel Sanders impression?

 

Dandelion Dead (1994)

Kitchen plays Major Herbert Rowse Armstrong, a real-life solicitor accused of killing his wife and a colleague in 1922.

1994 Dandelion Dead

Things aren’t going well.

 

Kidnapped (1995)

Based on the Robert Louis Stephenson novel, set during the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland (1745). Kitchen plays English officer William Reid.

1995 Kidnapped

Okay, but I found a gif in which it looks like he’s wearing nylon tights, so…

 

The Buccaneers (1995)

The other reason for my love of Michael Kitchen! While the four young women are at the forefront of the story, there’s a sweet sub-plot in which governess Laura Testvalley falls in love with the father of her charge’s suitors (Kitchen).

1995 The Buccaneers

He’s an idealistic aristocrat!

1995 The Buccaneers

Who charms my socks off.

 

The Hanging Gale (1995)

Four brothers try to save their farm during the Irish Potato Famine of 1846. Kitchen plays the baddie land agent.

1995 The Hanging Gale

In a stovepipe hat!

 

Mrs. Dalloway (1997)

The post-World War I novel by Virginia Woolf; Kitchen plays a past suitor to the title character.

1997 Mrs Dalloway

Smiling that smile…

 

Oliver Twist (1999)

As kindly Mr. Brownlow, adoptive father to Oliver, in this adaptation of the Dickens novel.

1999 Oliver Twist

 

Lorna Doone (2000)

An adaptation of the classic novel set in the late 17th century. I’ve never read it or seen any adaptation, the shame, so I can only tell you Kitchen plays “Judge Jeffreys.”

 

The Railway Children (2000)

Set in the early 19th century, Kitchen’s character is sent to prison, leading to a downward change in circumstances for the rest of his family.

2000 The Railway Children

Ooo, I like mom’s blouse/dress!

2000 The Railway Children

How could you, pops?

 

Foyle’s War (2002-15)

The long-running British detective series set during World War II — Kitchen stars!

2002-15 Foyle's War

Every girl crazy bout a sharp dressed man!

2002-15 Foyle's War

I need that red coat!

2002-15 Foyle's War

Serious business.

 

My Week with Marilyn (2011)

A young British man escorts Marilyn Monroe around England in 1957 while she’s working on The Prince and the Showgirl. Kitchen plays producer Hugh Perceval.

2011 My Week with Marilyn

That’s him, next to Branagh.

 

The Collection (2016)

A just-post-World-War-II Paris couture house. Kitchen guest stars on one episode as “Lemaire.”

2016 The Collection

 

What’s your favorite of Michael Kitchen’s historical costume movie or TV performances?

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

14 Responses

  1. Donnalee

    I seem to find him most attractive young and fuzzy, and Quite Mature–I can skip the middle era, personally, just based on these photos, as I have not seen the films in question. However, the Nazi photo, while not my brand of politics, looks very good to me–he should make that face all the time!

    Reply
  2. Cheryl Kirkus

    That’s enough to take your breath away first thing in the morning! “Churchill’s People” was a new one on me. Now for the answer to your question . . . I lose my breath over “Mrs. Dalloway” and “The Buccaneers.” Hope you don’t mind if I point out a couple more. “A Royal Scandal”, Faraday’s Dream” (gosh was he lushious) and “Country Matters: The Four Beauties.” All of which can be found on YT. Now I know this is probably a stretch, but as John Farrow in “Brian Pern” who, Brian, was not always in costume.

    Reply
  3. Susan Pola Staples

    Thank you thank you thank you. I have so many Michael Kitchen roles that I just going to mention the highlights. First and foremost is Enchanted April where I don’t know what to drool over more – him (yes, yes, yes says my libido) or the Italian countryside (my love of all things Italian says to choose). Foyle’s War is a close second where I’m impressed by his method of solving crimes and wondered why he wasn’t given a romantic interest. Next is his appearance in the Buccaneers (the young girls and their loves were meh compared to him and Miss Testvalley.)
    I enjoyed his Barclay Cole in Out of Africa.

    Reply
    • JessB

      He did get a little romance on Foyle’s War, with Stella Gonet. Just heart-to-hearts and longing looks, but I thought it was so nice.

      Reply
  4. Charity

    Lorna Doone was the first ever place I saw him, and whenever I see him now, his infamous line from LD pops into my head: “HANG HIM.”

    The Hanging Gale was… wow, sooooo depressing, but holy cow, do those McGann brothers look alike. I kept getting them all mixed up, even though I regularly saw one of them on Hornblower (and other things) and the other is a Call the Midwife regular.

    But Foyle will always hold the chief place in my heart. Such a fabulous character.

    Reply
    • Cheryl Kirkus

      I’m with you on “The Hanging Gale” — depressing plus getting them mixed up . . . but you had to love MK’s character. Now Foyle, there’s only that one played to perfection by MK.

      Reply
      • Charity

        I kept making excuses for MK all the way through The Hanging Gale. “Aww, he’s probably not that mean… he’s just out of touch… he doesn’t understand…” and then I was like, shocked when he made choices I didn’t want him to, lol.

        Reply
        • Cheryl Kirkus

          It was hard, but I watched it twice. I have the DVDs but doubt if I’ll watch for sometime. This is my thoughts. He was caught between a rock and a hard space. He was the agent of the Lord and had to follow the rules, but it tore him up. He did though as I remember, bend them with changing the rent due date or something like that. It was the hot-head brother that wouldn’t listen and cause the pickle they ended up in. I think in the will he left his Irish domestic a tidy amount of money.

          Reply
  5. Gwyneth

    Oh man, I had forgotten “Love Song” which was amazing! He played a whip-smart man, who fell in love with a whip-smart woman, and wasn’t scared of her even a bit. It was on “Masterpiece Theater” when they really did good period drama.

    Reply
  6. Kelly

    I remember that production of The Misanthrope–with Ian Holm being tetchy and the gorgeous Cherie Lunghi as Celimene, rocking the fab 1920’s dresses. And of course, love love love Enchanted April, one of the few films that is better than the book. There’s much more magic in the film–that Kitchen’s character has poor eyesight, and therefore doesn’t fall all over Lady Caroline like every other man she meets, but rather gets to know her “on the inside”. Where’s my copy of that film? Maybe I’ll watch it again tonight!

    Reply

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