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Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 14 June 1950 (USA)
Trailer
2:57 | Trailer
A distant poor relative of the Duke D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.

Director:

Robert Hamer

Writers:

Roy Horniman (novel), Robert Hamer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Price ... Louis
Valerie Hobson ... Edith
Joan Greenwood ... Sibella
Alec Guinness ... 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
Hugh Griffith ... Lord High Steward
John Salew John Salew ... Mr. Perkins
Eric Messiter ... Burgoyne
Lyn Evans Lyn Evans ... The Farmer
Barbara Leake ... The Schoolmistress
Peggy Ann Clifford Peggy Ann Clifford ... Maud
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: The events and characters portrayed in this film are fictitious and any similarity to any incident, name or individual is coincidental. See more »

Goofs

Shortly after we see a notice of the scheduled hanging, dated 1908, the hangman remarks, "Even my lamented master, the great Mr Berry himself, never had the privilege of hanging a duke." He presumably means James Berry who died in 1913. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Was available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Michael J. Fox (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Aria is
Il mio tesoro intanto"
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 soloist
See more »

User Reviews

A film in the mode of a Jane Austin novel.
16 July 2006 | by alexandra-25See all my reviews

Kind Hearts and Corrents is in a sense an extrapolation of Jane Austin's satire of the English aristocracy. Where Austin gives the reader a sarcastic insight into their ways of life, Kind Hearts and Correnets kills the English aristocracy off, as if to symbolise their slow demise within modernity. But, as this film illustrates the aristocracy has methods of survival via its never ending line of descendants ready to take on hereditary titles. Ironically, the survival of the dukedom in this film is due to the actual banished heir to that title murdering his relatives who stand in his way. If you like, this is an illustration of how there will always be an aristocracy of sorts, in the form of rulers in all types of societies, as illustrated in George Orwell's Animal Farm. This is because as the famous psychologist Erich Fromm says, as a conservative society we have a 'fear of freedom' and depend on being subordinates of rulers, like children to their parents. In Kind Hearts and Correnets we see an example of this when the duke performs his paternalistic duty for his dependant proletariat.

The irony is that the lead actor, Dennis Price, in Kind Hearts and Corerenets is a descendant of minor aristocracy, himself deprived of his title due to the paternalistic line being directed away from him. In this case he plays the part of the denounced heir superbly. Meanwhile Valery Hobson shines out as a beautiful, elegant lady, which could be less to do with acting skills and more about playing herself.

As for Sir Alec Guiness, it goes without saying that he steals the film, with his range of acting talents, here some of them showcased in all the characters he plays.

In the case of the screenplay, it is wittily directed, well paced, entertaining, and never for a second boring. This permits a distraction for the viewer, and the overlooking of the minor flaw of how there were no accusations pointed towards the lead character which are to the viewer easily detectable given that he was present at most of the murders of his arosticratic relatives.

Overall, an ageless classic.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kind Hearts and Coronets See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,004, 1 December 2019

Gross USA:

$35,948

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$144,575
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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