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Foyle's War: From Dunkirk to Ve-Day Sets 1-5 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Anthony Howell , Michael Kitchen    DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  211 reviews
236 of 238 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'D GIVE 6 SOLID GOLD STARS IF POSSIBLE-Murder Mysteries on the English WW2 Home Front 18 Aug 2009
By Harold Wolf - Published on
"FOYLE'S WAR: Sets 1-5" presents British Home Front war-life through poignant topics, compelling suspense, and many mirthful moments. Masterpiece Theatre created a 6-year running (2002-2008) British mystery masterpiece. They outdid themselves. This "War Years" series of 19 feature-length episodes is now available as a set and thus a better price. Wow, 32 hours, of sure-to-please mystery/period drama.

It is a 1940-45 Southern England countryside experience not to be missed. It serves as a home-front view documentary of the English WWII involvement and resulting life-style of the population away from the active war front. This series begins in May, 1940 when all England expects an eminent invasion from Germany. You'll learn lots about the British WW2 home-war preparedness.

On the other hand, FOYLE'S WAR is a series of some of the best 21st century written murder mystery stories ever presented on television--or theater. An interview bonus feature with creator/writer Anthony Horowitz proves that the dual focus--mystery/period drama--was intentional from day one. The combined perfection is "jolly good show." It's hard to believe--but, 19 episodes comprising 32 hours is simply not enough of "Foyle's War." You'll want to move from #1 through to #19 without stopping to sleep. It's that good.

Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is a cop who'd rather be on the war front than investigating crime in Hastings, England. His cases, almost always murder, are quite involved, and never fail to end with a surprise--or two. I'll stick my neck out--Foyle's as good as Poirot. Foyle recruits help from an ex-soldier who lost a leg. Milner (Anthony Howell) manages to do much of Foyle's "leg-work" on an artificial limb.

Foyle is assigned a female driver, "Sam" for Samantha Stewart. She's a gorgeous red-head with a winning, million-dollar smile. Sam is as much fun watching in the series as her real name indicates--Honeysuckle Weeks (The Rag Nymph; Catherine Cookson book/movie classic, recommended!) She wins "Miss Congeniality" of the 1940s decade.

Perfect attention is given to the period details; sets, costumes, vehicles, architecture, even down to NO yellow road lines.
Both Foyle and Sam speak volumes of dialogue with nothing but facial expressions. Their performances are nothing short of superb. Perfection.

Additional guest cast members of each episode are well-known stars in their own right--following the tradition of some of the top Masterpiece Theatre productions. It is understood that Foyle will continue in a NEW post-war mystery suspense scheduled for perhaps a 2010 airing.
Closed Captioning provides for the hearing impaired and those of us who struggle with some British accents and slang. The set has cast filmographies on all the top regular and guest stars.

"FOYLE'S WAR" is to British mystery what "THE PALLISERS" is to British political drama, OR what "MONARCH OF THE GLEN" is to Scottish Highland drama. After you've experienced Foyle's War, I recommend either of the other 2 series.

Foyle's War Episodes (Remember: EACH LIKE A MOVIE IN ITSELF):
* The German Woman October27, 2002
* The White Feather November 3, 2002
* A Lesson in Murder November 10, 2002
* Eagle Day November 17, 2002
* Fifty Ships November 16, 2003
* Among the Few November 23, 2003
* War Games November 30, 2003
* The Funk Hole December 7, 2003
* The French Drop October 24, 2004
* Enemy Fire October 31, 2004
* They Fought in the Fields November 7, 2004
* A War of Nerves November 14, 2004
* Invasion January 15, 2006
* Bad Blood January 22, 2006
* Bleak Midwinter February 11, 2007
* Casualties of War February 25, 2007
* Plan of Attack January 6, 2008
* Broken Souls March 23, 2008
* All Clear March 24, 2008
81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My name's Foyle. I'm a police officer." Pure British understatement, that is, and is but another reason to like this series. 10 Aug 2009
By brian komyathy - Published on
Michael Kitchen. Never heard of him, I'm sure, you're saying. That would be your loss, especially if you enjoy a great period piece now and then. Kitchen was marvelous as the British agent for a British landlord with holdings in 19th century Ireland, in "The Hanging Gale." And now Kitchen triumphs again as a detective chief superintendent Christopher Foyle. He often identifies himself, however, rather more charmingly: "My name is Foyle. I'm a police officer." No badge is shown or papers presented while so introducing himself. Such would be superfluous though as Kitchen's Foyle, in mannerisms, demeanor, as well as the way his carries himself, makes it rather apparent that he is in law enforcement. And to boot, all this takes place in the early days of 1940, "in the beautiful southern English countryside amid the disorder and danger of World War II"(to quote the packaging). The episodes herein "concentrate on the influence the war had on the home front."

As in all Foyle episodes a murder takes place and Kitchen methodically goes about solving it. He has a sergeant for assistance as well as an actress side-kick (whose most unusual name in real life is Honeysuckle Weeks) who plays an army soldier seconded to drive for Foyle, who is without a license to do so. Like in many detective dramas the who did it is rather less important than the drama getting to that point. Actually, these hour and forty minute long Foyle episodes often go by for me without my giving much serious contemplation toward the solution Foyle seeks. Ever play chess and really focus on 3, 4, 5, 6 possible moves in advance and then play a casual game of chess just for fun? That's how I personally watch Foyle's War. I'm not too interested in guessing then second guessing again & again who I think is the murderer. (I do do that often with David Suchet's Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie mystery dramas, but alas, do too much guessing wrong there, however.) Watching Foyle is also much a period drama, as I've said, giving one a feel for 1939-1940 England, the country lanes, the occasional military vehicle and soldier(s), authentic clothes, hats, people on missions greater than themselves passing through the lens.

"A lesson in murder" is what a character terms war in an episode of this series. The episode balances the views of conscientious objectors with the need to contribute to a cause thought noble and just by most. An interesting angle of the Foyle series is the notion that the rule of law remains central even in a time of great moral stress; not in the sense of civil liberties ala Lincoln in the US Civil War, but in the sense that a murder is a murder whether a country is at war or not and such a crime out result in punishment. In this first episode, for example, a military man tries to reason with Foyle that taking him away from the invaluable work he was doing, leading a team trying to combat Nazi Germany, would serve no end, certainly no greater good. Foyle's driver later asks him whether he was tempted to let the man go, so to speak; give him a pass because of the circumstances Britain found itself in at the moment. Yes, Foyle, answered, in so many words. Nevertheless, we see the man in question being soon dealt with showing that Foyle's sympathies, war reason, didn't get the best of him in the end. Such evinces the quality of this series---sympathies for varied viewpoints are shown, but in the end much of which most could seen as right, is followed through on....thanks to the able Michael Kitchen. Kitchen, moreover, is an actor who is most accomplished even when not saying anything. Words are not thrown about in this series. In one episode (I won't say which as it will give away a bit of one story) Honeysuckle Weeks character Sam admits to Foyle that she doesn't know what to say after an unfortunate tragedy. To which Foyle responds: "I don't know what to say either." It's the epitome of Michael Kitchen's performance in this series---knowing what to say when words are warranted and saying little or nothing when they are not. Cheers
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the British best 28 July 2009
By Brit B Corp Fan - Published on
Nobody does period pieces like the British, and Foyle's War may be the best of them all. The setting of Hastings in Britain during WWII is the basis for important war related themes in addition to the whodunnits of each episode. Americans have no idea what wartime living was like compared to what the British experienced, and this nineteen episode series brings it to incredible reality. Michael Kitchen (Detective Chief Supt Foyle,) Honeysuckle Weeks (Samantha Stewart,) and Anthony Howell (Sgt. Milner) are impossibly good in their roles. Other fine actors drop in and out of the series and are spot on, as they might say. The research done for this series seems to have left no stone unturned when it comes to themes, settings, costumes, you name it. The good news: there is a sixth series coming with the same main characters, but in the post-war period.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest, but... 2 July 2010
By C. Scott Harrison - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have nothing to add but further praise for this terrific series. The three main stars are wonderful. I am even starting to make Michael Kitchen facial gestures. All I can say is shame on American TV producers who are stuck in the ruts of "reality" TV, and CSI ad nauseum!
Can you believe that they are even going to re-make Hawaii Five-0???? Jack Lord will come back from his grave to "Book 'Em!"

But on a purely technical note, I have noticed that some people are having trouble accessing the "closed captioning" feature. It is NOT on the discs themselves. You must have your TV set up to access them. AND if you are using a HDMI cable(as I was), instead of the one your set came with, you can't access at all. Try changing cables. Fortunately, Series 6 has subtitles accessed from the disc menus. Now for Series 7,8,9, etc:

PS Sometimes we Yanks have trouble understanding the cockney accents in British TV. Or is it my age!!!!????
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the hard of hearing 28 July 2010
By Katherine Reed - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this wonderful series, except for the difficulty understanding the dialogue. I have some difficulty hearing and use the option of the written English captions. I was very dissapointed that this series did not have this option. I had seen a couple of episodes that had been rented from Netflix and they had this option. I had also watched series 6 on television as Masterpiece Mystery. This also had the written captions option. Had I known that the caption option was not avalable I would not have purchased the series. Please see to it that this important option is offered in the future.

Thank you, Kathy Reed
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