"Kind Hearts And Coronets" Is Released
Kind Hearts and Coronets is a 1949) English black comedy directed by Robert Hamer.
It was written by John Dighton and Hamer, and loosely based upon the novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal (1907), by Roy Horniman. The Kind Hearts and Coronets title derives from Tennyson's poem Lady Clara Vere de Vere (1842): "Kind hearts are more than coronets, And simple faith than Norman blood."
Dennis Price is an heir to a dukedom, but eight members of the D'Ascoyne family precede him; Alec Guinness portrays all eight, including a woman. There are also notable performances from Valerie Hobson and Joan Greenwood as the femme fatale.
Kind Hearts and Coronets is regarded as one of the best Ealing Studios films, and is listed in Time magazine's top 100, and in the BFI Top 100 British films. In 2000, Total Film magazine readers voted Kind Hearts and Coronets as the twenty-fifth-greatest comedy film, and, in 2004, named it the seventh-greatest British film.
Alec Guinness gets to die eight times, playing a line of successors to a dukedom, in the Ealing black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets. Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) is ninth in line to inherit the dukedom from the aristocratic D'Ascoyne family. Louis vows to kill all eight people who stand between him and the duke's title. Aside from two cases of natural causes, Louis works through the list, eliminating rivals (all played by Guinness). Along the way he romances Sibella (Joan Greenwood), a childhood friend who ends up marrying a dullard, and Edith (Valerie Hobson), the beautiful widow of one of his victims with whom he plans to share his title. But just when Louis is ready to assume the D'Ascoyne mantle, a bizarre irony strikes. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide