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Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Not Rated | | Comedy , Crime | 14 June 1950 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Robert Hamer

Writers:

Roy Horniman (novel), Robert Hamer (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:
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 Audrey Fildes ... Mama
Miles Malleson ... The Hangman
Clive Morton ... The Prison Governor
John Penrose John Penrose ... Lionel
Cecil Ramage Cecil Ramage ... Crown Counsel
Hugh Griffith ... Lord High Steward
John Salew John Salew ... Mr. Perkins
Eric Messiter Eric Messiter ... Burgoyne
Lyn Evans Lyn Evans ... The Farmer
Barbara Leake 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, 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adel verpflichtet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

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

Early VHS prints sold in the U.S. changed the line "catch a n****r by his toe" to "catch a tiger by his toe" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Red Dwarf: Launching 'Red Dwarf' (2002) 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

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User Reviews

 
My most beloved Ealing film, it's dated but in a good way
18 November 2010 | by FrangipaniMozzieSee all my reviews

As I've said on all my Ealing movie reviews, I watched these cause the plots looked interesting but I'm still unsure on how to judge the movies. I'm not one to dismiss them as 'old' and therefore 'boring'; at the same time I don't just jump on the bandwagon saying they're classics just because they've got that reputation and a lot of people without even judging for themselves assume they're great.

To quote to further my point - "A Classic is something that everybody wants to have read but nobody wants to read. A classic is also something that everyone praises but no one has read." -Mark Twain So, watching this with an open mind, I really enjoyed it. Yes you have to realise it's not a modern movie so the kind of themes and scenes presented are different from the packaged elements of modern Hollywood, but that makes postwar British cinema very refreshing viewing. I think the use of the term 'comedy' is misleading because it most likely refers to it in the classic literary sense from Shakespeare and Greek theatre (probably in the early 20th century people were a bit better read than today so these terms would still have meaning to them) which refers to a story with happy ending and farcial plot and wit rather than obvious jokes like in the modern sense but even these movies have some funny scenes. Also the humour and premise is black comedy and subtle so look for something modern if you need laugh-out-loud movies.

'Kind Hearts and Coronets' When I first came across this the plot looked so unique I knew I just had to see it at least once, although I've rewatched it many times since. I do find Guinness's 8 roles are over-hyped because most of them have few lines and the distinctions between a few of them are non-existent though it's still a novelty and a brave act to pull off in a movie. For me, Mazzini's 'bad guy' characterisation is the most appealing element of the movie, with a characterisation that makes even a criminal charming and someone to empathise with a little (and for me some visual appeal). The unique premises of who we see him murder next and the wit and black humour makes it a treasure of a film that I'm glad was made and is still available and enjoyed.

One of my most beloved films for definite. Definitely worth one watch just to see something different.


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