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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 »
Reviews
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, 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:

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

Director Robert Hamer and Sir Alec Guinness got along extremely well during the shoot and formed a friendship that would last for many years to come. "Robert and I spoke the same language and laughed at the same things", said Guinness in his 1985 memoir "Blessings in Disguise". "He was finely-tuned, full of wicked glee, and was marvelous to actors, appreciative and encouraging." 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

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Dark Comedy Movies (2014) 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

See more »

User Reviews

 
First class British film-making.
28 November 2004 | by a_reynoldsSee all my reviews

As is the case with most great things, the basic premise of this film is simple. There is, however, an essential darkness at the heart of the movie: the cold blooded and calculating murder of all those who stand between Dennis Price and his possible succession to a title. That this is treated in so light and civilised a way is the triumph of the film. The screenplay and performances complement each other perfectly and are a credit to all those involved. I cannot think of a weak link in the film. The casting was beautifully judged down to the most minor character. The leads are, though, just about perfect. For my money, it is the best of Dennis Price's film work (though his Jeeves on television in the 60's was good, too). Guinness was splendid and well supported by Valerie Hobson and Joan Greenwood. I have probably seen the film more than a dozen times in the past thirty years. Each time it offers something fresh and new. Quite simply one of the best.


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