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
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 »
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 »
My most beloved Ealing film, it's dated but in a good way
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.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this