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Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

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


Robert Hamer


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





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


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

Plot Keywords:

prison | murder | jealousy | heir | widow | See All (215) »


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


Comedy | Crime


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The Royal Mail postbox seen in the early scene of the movie shows clearly the monogram of Queen Victoria. Today, both the postbox and the nearest tree to it are removed. A postbox bearing the monogram of Edward VII is seen today on the opposite corner of Woodhurst Road, Acton, London W3, at its junction with Cumberland Road. 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 »


[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 »


Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Patton Oswalt (2013) See more »


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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Release Date:

14 June 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kind Hearts and Coronets See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,004, 1 December 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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