Kind Hearts and Coronets Movie Review

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.

Still, it's interesting to see what British comedy was like during the late 1940s -- dry, mannered, and very ironic. British comedy being what it is, it should come as no surprise that Guinness does appear in drag for one role (pretty funny, actually).

Cast & Crew

Director : Robert Hamer

Producer :


Comments

Kind Hearts and Coronets Rating

" Good "

Rating: NR, 1949

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