Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets

DVD - 2006 | Special edition
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Louis Mazzini wants to avenge his mother's disinheritance by ascending to dukedom. To do this, he must kill eight of his relatives in the d'Ascoyne family (all played by Alec Guinness).
Publisher: [Irvington, N.Y.] : Criterion Collection, c2006
Edition: Special edition
ISBN: 9781559409674
Branch Call Number: 791.4372 K51h3
Language Note: Closed-captioned
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (approximately 106 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in


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Aug 05, 2020


Feb 05, 2020

Audio was bumpy, with noticeable pauses. I found it very hard to follow the dialogue. Would not call this a comedy.

👏 The blackest of black comedies, with Dennis Price as the elegant serial killer Mazzini, who murders almost all the D'Ascoynes standing between him and the dukedom of Chalfont. He doesn't have to kill the admiral, who stubbornly insists on going down with his ship. Many miss the subtle joke when, on the night before Sibella's wedding, she and Mazzini sink down on the couch together. There's a fade to black, and the scene opens on the wedding. Mazzini tells the groom, "You're a lucky man. Take my word for it." Terrific support from the ladies, Valerie Hobson and Joan Greenwood. Miles Malleson, whose credits read like a history of British films, is hilarious in a bit as the disappointed hangman. In one shot, Guinness appears as six characters at once. The film was rewound and run through the camera six times, with the actor in different locations, costumes, and makeup. Highly recommended.

7duffy Aug 18, 2015

Wow - an extremely well done film. Watching the film reminded me of reading Dickens or Hemingway, it went slowly, but when I was finished , I felt it was well worth the time. The movie's pace is slow, but the acting and direction is strong. Clearly this is Alec Guinness' "Tour-de-Force", as he plays all 8 characters of a family (including women), 10 years before Peter Sellers did the same thing. A prior reader perfectly described the story: "Imagine an Agatha Christie novel written by Oscar Wilde ". A long wait at the library, but worth waiting for. An unknown classic to me, so I enjoyed it even more.

Jan 27, 2015

Imagine an Agatha Christie novel written by Oscar Wilde and you’ll get some idea of what to expect from this highly entertaining satire on the skewed morality of Britain’s landed gentry. A young man, distant heir to a vast estate, barely ekes out a living doing menial jobs. His wealthy relatives have effectively denied him his rightful place in the family due to the fact his father was a “commoner”. Obsessed with revenge he plans to get even with all involved by claiming the title of Duke for himself....even if he has to murder everyone that stands between him and his goal. As each one of his relatives dies mysteriously his station in life rises accordingly until he finally has the family estate within his grasp. We know things don’t go exactly as planned however since, from the outset, we realize the entire film is being told in flashback on the eve of his execution. To say more would be a disservice to anyone wishing to experience this brilliant film for the first time. The script displays a savage wit that the actors are more than capable of delivering, Alec Guiness is especially good as he plays every member of the doomed D’Ascoyne clan, and the wonderfully ambivalent ending had us laughing out loud. Great fun!

Jan 25, 2012

Be sure to watch the interview with Alec Guiness! (from 1977, right after Star Wars was released)

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