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Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

 -  Comedy | Crime  -  14 June 1950 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 22,665 users  
Reviews: 116 user | 88 critic

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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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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
Edit

Storyline

Louis Mazzini's mother belongs to the aristocratic family D'Ascoyne, but she ran away with an opera singer. Therefore, she and Louis were rejected by the D'Ascoynes. Once adult, Louis decides to avenges his mother and him, by becoming the next Duke of the family. Murdering every potential successor is clearly the safest way to achieve his goal... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

duke | jealousy | heir | dukedom | singer | See All (228) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Oito Vítimas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The right of peers to be tried in the House of Lords was abolished in 1949, the same year the film was released. The two were not connected, the right was abolished due to a combination of a Labour Government and reaction from a drunk driving case where the lordly defendant was tried in the House of Lords. See more »

Goofs

The first murder that Louis Mazzini commits involves him swimming fully dressed underwater to release a boat from its moorings. In spite of having brought no change of clothes or even a towel, he is shown shortly after committing the murder paddling down the river with his clothes bone dry. 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 Breakfast: Episode dated 18 August 2011 (2011) 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

 
Devilishly funny.
27 April 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When possible Duke Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price)'s mother dies, she leaves him a dying wish of being buried in his aristocratic family's plot who have shunned her all her life, he sets about getting it done. Imagine his fury and dismay when they say no. He sets about getting revenge, as well as winning the heart of the mercenary woman he loves through murdering each of the eight d'Ascoyne family members that stand between him and a title, riches, and everything that he feels he deserves.

Wearing the Ealing black comedy streak on its sleeve and gleefully black, Kind Hearts and Coronets has got to be one of the funniest films about murder to be made. Much of this owes kudos to Alec Guinness' fantastic performance, a true tour-de-force in comedy. He plays all eight of the family members, from the suffragette feminist Lady Agatha d'Ascoyne, to the dull and dim Reverend d'Ascoyne with commendable diversity, changing his tone, stature, facial expressions and accent to play each character as if they were a completely new person. Such a performance could only prepare us for good things, which Guinness then continued to deliver.

That said, Dennis Price takes the lead excellently. As Louis Mazzini d'Ascoyne, he murders, poisons and drowns each of the characters without a sense of remorse that could seem cold and inhumane, but the audience find amusing. We eagerly await his calculation of the death of another, because we know it will have hilarious consequences, and the plot never holds back. However, his dry narration tells a story that hides a sad tinge, as well as delivering sardonic social commentary on post-war Britain, where the gold digging (played with disgusting sugariness by Joan Greenwood) women were everywhere and to some people, rank was all that mattered. This is what makes each of the deaths so comical, giving us a little glee that the snobs are getting what they deserve.

For those who don't want to watch a film for the history lesson, no fear – Kind Hearts and Coronets truly shines as a comedy. Even now, the one-liners and biting irony rings and every scene has a joke to laugh at. Under director Robert Hamer's ultra-capable hands, a warm-hearted satire has been crafted. You really can't get much better, or much intelligent than this.


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