Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets Review

Kind Hearts and Coronets is a 1949 British black comedy film directed by Robert Hamer and starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness. It is one of the most well regarded British films and rightfully so as it is a pretty good movie.

The film follows Luis whose mother was disowned by her aristocratic family and after her death, he vows to have his revenge by killing all of the eight members of the D’Ascoyne family. Now first and foremost, this is to me more of a light crime tale than a comedy picture. And if I look at it as a comedy, it isn’t nearly as good as when I look at it as a crime drama. The story is very interesting and wildly authentic but above all fueled with fun and energy. The storytelling approach here is superb and even though the narration was overly used, I still liked it as it was mostly very well executed which is a rarity for that plot device.

But it is such an energetic and immensely charming work that is entertaining from beginning to end. I liked its first act, the middle parts were excellent and the ending was absolutely superb and such a satisfying and above all sophisticated conclusion to this crazy story. But it is unfortunately never as funny as it should be. It is regarded as a comedy and although clearly it is light-weight and at times very funny, it is mostly not as hilarious as it thinks it is. And that is the biggest and only problem I’ve had with the film. It has such a unique setting and plot that it could have had many hilarious lines, but it just doesn’t have that many in the end product. But it is funny from time to time and I liked its humor, very sophisticated, playful and smart. Yes, it is too sparse, but when there, the movie is actually pretty funny.

The characters are naturally superb and essential for this kind of film. Louis is of course great and although at times too theatrical and annoying, he is still a realistically depicted and really well realized character. He also has the funniest parts here and the most memorable. Edith and Sibella are both quite memorable and the relationships between these characters and the protagonist are well established. Every member of the D’Ascoyne family is really memorable for the small screen time they got and it is of course such an achievement for Alec Guinness to have played all eight of them. He really did such a stupendous job in his roles and all of the other performers did the same with Dennis Price being the finest to me in the most demanding role.

Kind Hearts and Coronets is very well directed and also extremely well paced with not a single wasted or rushed sequence. It also looks beautiful with some very nice scenery and well shot scenes. It is also sophisticated and unpredictable, plus always involving. It is definitely original as well in its plot. The dialogue is evidently terrific and so playful and fun. The tone is mostly well handled and the movie has such a great energy in its execution which never dies off. It is one of the better and more memorable films of the year and such a fun experience.

Kind Hearts and Coronets isn’t as funny as it should have been, but it is very funny from time to time, it is always involving and energetic, very authentic and sophisticated and filled with so many great performances, intriguing characters, superb dialogue and such a crazy, but incredibly satisfying story.

My Rating – 4.5


      Interior & Exterior Stills from Kind Hearts and Coronets

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Posted in 1940s, 1949, Comedy, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , .

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