Joan Greenwood

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Kind Hearts And Coronets Review

Very Good
This is often considered a classic black comedy and one of Alec Guinness' best films, but Kind Hearts and Coronets is far from perfect. The protagonist, a young Londoner named Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price), bears a grudge against his mother's family, the blueblood D'Ascoynes, because they ostracized mom. So he rubs out the eight living members of the family (all played by the versatile Guinness) who stand between him and inheriting the dukedom and family estate.

This very British film features a successful surprise ending and a strong supporting cast, especially Joan Greenwood as the bad girl who threatens to be Mazzini's undoing. But Dennis Price is not Guinness' match as a screen presence, and his character is too amoral to be believable, even for a farce, so the film doesn't quite work. It could also have used more Alec Guinness -- in spite of playing eight roles, Guinness doesn't actually get enough screen time. And when Sir Alec is not on screen, the whole thing is a little too slow and contrived.

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The Man In The White Suit Review

Cute and a little too pat, The Man in the White Suit offers Alec Guinness trapped in an undercooked story with so much wasted potential. Guinness plays Sidney Stratton, a textile researcher who -- after years of effort -- develops a miracle fabric that doesn't wear out or get dirty. Rather than find himself the company hero, he's immediately the subject of various lynch mobs: The company doesn't want such a fabric because they won't be able to sell new clothes every year, and neither do the workers, who know they'll soon be out of a job. Even the cleaning ladies are pissed. Funny stuff, but that's about the end of it. Ultimately you feel it could have gone miles further.

The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952) Review

When the dust settles on humanity and its efforts in cinema, the original 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest will surely stand as the most important and most beloved film production of Oscar Wilde's play. (Coincidentally, it finds itself issued on DVD along with a new film version.)

The story remains a theatrical classic: two men fall for two women, but for one reason or another both of the men resort to using the name "Ernest" in their affairs. An elaborate comedy of errors and clever romantic twists, it's Wilde's most absurd and most amusing play, a story that demands attention to its byzantine plot structure and rewards the viewer with an abundance of laughs.

Continue reading: The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952) Review

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