Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kind Hearts and Coronets

"Kind hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith than Norman blood."
-Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Lady Clara Vere de Vere"

While a duke awaits the noose on death row, he tells us his life's story beginning with his aristocratic mother leaving the life to elope with an Italian singer, whose courtship led to his birth. When his father died, his mother's family refused to take her back in and when she later perished, they even refused her dying wish to be buried in the family plot. Now, bent on revenge and set on attaining status to impress his girlfriend, the would be duke sets out to murder the eight members of the D'Ascoyne family that stand between him and his title. "Kind Hearts and Coronets" is an extremely droll black comedy from the Britain's Ealing Studio that is most memorable due to the fact of legendary actor Alec Guinness playing the role of all eight murder victims! Guinness brings his adept and polished comic sensibilities to the roles with wondrous results and Dennis Price seems to channel the same kind of dark and elegant charm in his portrayal of the duke. The Ealing Studio was known for their comedies, the best of which were made by Guinness, and "Kind Hearts and Coronets" may be the funniest and best realized of them all.