Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  14 June 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 24,313 users  
Reviews: 121 user | 92 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.



(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 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 ...
Miles Malleson ...
The Hangman
Clive Morton ...
The Prison Governor
John Penrose ...
Cecil Ramage ...
Crown Counsel
Lord High Steward
John Salew ...
Mr. Perkins
Eric Messiter ...
Lyn Evans ...
The Farmer
Barbara Leake ...
The Schoolmistress
Peggy Ann Clifford ...


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


A hilarious study in the gentle art of murder. See more »


Comedy | Crime


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Oito Vítimas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Agatha's death in the film caused some consternation for Alec Guinness. The scene in question - a hot air ballooning accident filmed in a field next door to Pinewood Studios - prompted him to ask the producers if he was well insured. They told him that he was, to the tune of £10,000, but Guinness didn't think that was enough. He then declared that the balloon could not be raised any more than 15 feet unless they raised the insurance to £50,000. Ealing Studios was renowned for being very penny-pinching and it naturally refused Guinness' demand, pointing out that he would be accompanied in the balloon by a well-qualified Belgian balloonist hidden in the basket with him. Guinness was undeterred in his refusal to perform the stunt, so the scene in the finished film is not him but the Belgian balloonist wearing Agatha's dress and wig. Guinness had the last laugh, however, when a high wind pulled the balloon off course. The Belgian balloonist was found 50 miles away, having had to pitch into a river. See more »


When Louis is crossing out the twins on the family tree, a rubbed out cross from an earlier take is visible. See more »


[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 »


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

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User Reviews

His memoirs!
5 August 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Robert Hamer, the director of "Kind Hearts and Coronets", one of the better comedies to come out of the Ealing studios in the late forties, created a memorable film that still keeps enchanting, no matter how many times one has seen it. This is a film that like a vintage wine gets better with age.

Of course, the right elements were put together in this venture under Mr. Hamer's direction, which is probably the best tribute one could say about the film.

Louis Mazzini, the young man who should have inherited a noble title that is lost as her mother elopes with an Italian tenor and she is disinherited. Louis is determined to regain what's due to him, by whatever means possible. Things go well for him, but he commits a mistake in entering an illicit romance with the calculating Sibella, while at the same time falling in love with the radiant Edith D'Ascoyne, the young widow.

Dennis Price gives a smart account of Louis Mazzini. He is a delight to watch as he keeps scratching off dead relatives from behind the picture frame. Alec Guinness portrays eight D'Ascoynes with an unusual panache. Best of all is Lady Agatha who encounters 'turbulence' while flying in a balloon. Valerie Hobson makes an impression with her Edith and Joan Greenwood is at her best as Sibella.

This is a film to treasure.

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