A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
In prison awaiting execution the next morning, Louis, the 10th Duke of Chalfont, puts 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
Producer Michael Balcon was known to have said to director Robert Hamer, "You are trying to sell that most unsaleable commodity to the British, irony. Good luck to you." It worked, of course. This movie was a considerable success upon release. 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 »
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 »
The ending of the US version was extended to show the guards discovering Louis Mazzini's written memoirs/confessions to make it clear to the audience that he did not get away with the murders of his relatives, whilst the UK version remains ambiguous on the subject. See more »
"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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