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........
A hilarious study in the gentle art of murder.
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Did You Know?
Near the start of the film the executioner mentions that the last execution of a duke had been terribly bungled "back in the old days of the axe". He is referring to the execution of the Duke of Monmouth in July 1685. Monmouth had led an unsuccessful rebellion against the crown and, in order to make his execution as horrible as possible, an incompetent hangman, John Ketch, was hired. He had only carried out one beheading before and had made a mess of that one too. As a result, Monmouth's execution required several strokes of the axe, and even then he was only left severely wounded. Ketch had to finish off the job using a sharp knife. 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
Warder in Jail
Good evening, Mr. Elliot.
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
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
Referenced in The Long Day Closes
Il mio tesoro intanto
The Aria is
from Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
The music is played by The Philharmonia Orchestra
Conducted by Ernest Irving
Sung by an unidentified solist See more