Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Directed by Robert Hamer

This movie, Kind Hearts and Coronets (part of the Alec Guinness Collection), makes me think of the old Alfred Hitchcock magazine and TV show. It’s more or less a darkly comedic story of murder. Several murders, actually.

Seeking revenge for the treatment of his mother and himself, the gentlemen Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) makes it his mission to wipe out the aristocratic family of the D’Ascoyne. He proceeds to do so, murdering in various ways eight members of the family which, also through his plotting, puts Louis at the head of it.

The humour comes out of the contrast between the Edwardian aloofness, well-mannered behaviour, and propensity for understatement of Louis, and the reality of what he is actually doing.

There is also the wonderful performance of Alex Guinness who plays no less than eight characters in the film. Guinness is the D’Ascoyne family, my personal favourite being the clergyman he plays.

Dark and witty, and with a bit of a twist at the end (as most of these Ealing Studios films had), Kind Hearts and Coronets is a terrific, funny movie.

The Alec Guinness Collection:

  • Kind Hearts & Coronets
  • Lavender Hill Mob
  • The Man in the White Suit
  • The Captain’s Paradise
  • The Ladykillers

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