Kind Hearts And Coronets

Coming on the heels of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, this was the film that made Alec Guinness an international star. Although Dennis Price has the largest single role in the picture (and plays it beautifully), Guinness took the lion's share of the credit for its success with a tour de force performance as no less than eight characters, all members of the same family. A black comedy about mass murder, Kind Hearts and Coronets is one of the most memorable and notorious. The action is set around 1900. Price is in line to a dukedom, but far down the line. Nevertheless, he feels the title is rightfully his, so he decides to remove all the stumbling blocks in his way. The fact that those stumbling blocks are human beings seems not to matter a trifle to the cad, who calmly sets about dispatching his kin (all of whom resemble one another closely, being all played by Guinness). The film is full of bright dialog and quotable quotes (Revenge is the dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold!). On the other hand, the movie makes particularly good use of flashbacks, a cinematic device that is often clumsily handled. Screenwriters Robert Hamer and John Dighton loosely based the story on Roy Horniman's turn-of-the-century novel Israel Rank, dispensing with all but the core of the book to write the sharp script. The result, Kind Hearts and Coronets, is one of those films that can be seen repeatedly and still offer surprises. If one could view only one movie as an example of British film comedy at its best, this would be the movie to see. As a combination of rollicking black humor and satirical pokes at the English upper crust, nothing else comes close.

Robert Hamer

John Dighton (Roy Horniman'ın İsrael Rank adlı romanından)
Robert Hamer

Douglas Slocombe

Peter Tanner

Ealing Studios

Alec Guinness
Audrey Fildes
Dennis Price
Joan Greenwood
Valeire Hobson

Ernest Irving

Best Actor National Board of Review

6th Festival on Wheels