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
In 1976, EMI Films announced another adaptation of the source novel titled " Blue Blood and Bitter", with Lionel Jeffries directing, Ronald Harwood scripting, and Dick Emery, but on a budget of four hundred thousand pounds sterling. EMI felt it would have difficulty recouping its costs, and it was cancelled. See more »
Shortly after we see a notice of the scheduled hanging, dated 1908, the hangman remarks, "Even my lamented master, the great Mr Berry himself, never had the privilege of hanging a duke." He presumably means James Berry who died in 1913. 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 »
Undoubtedly one of the most perfect, brilliant comedies ever, this movie is extremely fun and revels in its dark, clever humour. What can one say about a comedy centred around a dapper, charming, likable, impoverished young English gentleman who is at the same time an utterly remorseless, ever-calculating killer who has no qualms about killing an entire line of relatives who all stand in his path to inherit the family fortune? On top of that, he all the while takes great care in preserving his demeanor and status as a gentleman; all the relatives he must eliminate are brought to life by the genius of Alec Guinness; and there's an executioner who takes pains to show proper respect to his social "superior." The dialogue, indeed pretty much all of the humour, is a shining example of "British humour" at its best. It is subtle, clever, dark, and full of irony and satire. It is pure, brilliant entertainment that doesn't stop. Comedy really can't get much better than this.
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