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Year: 1949
UK: Independent Cinema Office / Optimum Releasing
Cast: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Valerie Hobson, Miles Malleson, Hugh Griffith
Director: Robert Hamer
Country: UK
UK: 101 mins
UK Certificate: U contains infrequent mild discriminatory language
UK Release Date: 19 August 2011 (Limited Re-release)


Perhaps the most perfect of all the Golden-Age Ealing comedies, KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS famously featured Alec Guinness in eight different roles as the unsuspecting members of the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family â€" bumped off one by one by the scheming, outcast cousin of the family: Louis Mazzini. Mazzini's mother was a D'Ascoyne by birth, but she ran away with an opera singer and was ostracized by her family as a result. When her dying wish to be buried in the family crypt is refused, Louis vows to get his revenge. As he ascends the social ranks, he is torn between his love for now-married childhood sweetheart and equally devilish Sibella (Joan Greenwood), and the saintly wife of one of his victims, Edith D’Ascoyne (Valerie Hobson).

Dennis Price’s stunning performance as the ambitious Louis has always been somewhat overshadowed by Guinness, so sit back and admire anew the coolly detached relish with which he dispatches the eight relatives standing between himself, the Dukedom, and revenge.

The film featured stunning and inventive cinematography by Douglas Slocombe, and a groundbreaking first-person narrative that, legend has it, inspired Scorsese to make use of the same device in GOODFELLAS.

An Ealing Studios production, the film is directed by Robert Hamer and produced by Michael Balcon. Now available as a restored digital print.

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