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Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 14 June 1950 (USA)
A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Louis / Louis's father
...
...
...
The D'Ascoyne Family: The Duke / The Banker / The Parson / The General / The Admiral / Young Ascoyne / Young Henry / Lady Agatha
Audrey Fildes ...
Mama
Miles Malleson ...
The Hangman
Clive Morton ...
The Prison Governor
John Penrose ...
Lionel
Cecil Ramage ...
Crown Counsel
...
Lord High Steward
John Salew ...
Mr. Perkins
Eric Messiter ...
Burgoyne
Lyn Evans ...
The Farmer
Barbara Leake ...
The Schoolmistress
Peggy Ann Clifford ...
Maud
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Storyline

In prison awaiting execution the next morning Louis, the 10th Duke of Chalfont, sets down on paper the events that led him to his current situation. His mother has been banished from her family, the D'Ascoynes, after she married Louis' father who was considered far beneath her. After her death, the D'Ascoynes refused permission for her to be buried in the family crypt. Louis then plots his revenge - and kills all those ahead of him in the succession until he becomes the Duke. Along the way, he becomes involved with the married Sibelia who, when spurned, makes sure he ends up in prison. The day before his execution Sibelia recants her testimony saving him not only from the gallows but also sets him free. Once outside the prison however, he realizes he's forgotten one little thing........ Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

duke | prison | jealousy | heir | dukedom | See All (203) »

Taglines:

He chopped down the family tree... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adel verpflichtet  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the start of the film the executioner mentions that the last execution of a duke had been terribly bungled "back in the old days of the axe". He is referring to the execution of the Duke of Monmouth in July 1685. Monmouth had led an unsuccessful rebellion against the crown and, in order to make his execution as horrible as possible, an incompetent hangman, John Ketch, was hired. He had only carried out one beheading before and had made a mess of that one too. As a result, Monmouth's execution required several strokes of the axe, and even then he was only left severely wounded. Ketch had to finish off the job using a sharp knife. See more »

Goofs

When "The Hangman" (Miles Malleson) opens the peep-hole to the prisoner's cell, he moves the covering to the right, with a finger. After we are allowed to gaze at the back of the prisoner's neck for a few seconds, the shot reverts to the outside of the cell door; The Hangman releases the cover which closes from left to right, not right to left, as it should have done. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Warder in Jail: Good evening, Mr. Elliot.
The Hangman: Good evening.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits list photos of the 4 leading actors with their character names; in the case of Alec Guinness, 8 photos of the 8 characters he plays are shown, along with the one character name of "The D'Ascoyne Family." In the end credits, the 8 character names are listed for him. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest Films (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Il mio tesoro intanto
The Aria is
from Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (uncredited)
The music is played by The Philharmonia Orchestra
Conducted by Ernest Irving
Sung by an unidentified solist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

eight Guinnesses for the price of one
23 June 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Kind Hearts and Coronets" is really an essay in acting from one of Britain's greatest, Sir Alec Guinness, and what better way to remember him than the film which gave him eight roles to play? True, one or two are barely given time to register before Dennis Price dispatches them (Lady Agatha would have been interesting as a fully rounded character), but those which are developed - Henry, the photography enthusiast in particular, are cleverly played and memorable. Price also does well in his role. The ladies - Joan Greenwood and Valerie Hobson - are excellent. The great strength of this film is in its black humour, and of course in its delicious twist ending. I can't bear to think of it remade with a 2000's gloss.


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