Classic Movie Of The Week: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

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kind-hearts-and-coronets

Starring: Dennis Price, Alec Guiness, Valerie Hobson

Director: Robert Hamer

Louis Mazzini (Price) is the son of a disinherited woman and an Italian opera singer. Raised knowing that he’s the 8th in line for a Dukedom, he plots to kill everyone in the way of his succession after his mother is denied the rights to be buried in the family plot.

It’s a comedy of manners from the golden era of the famous Ealing Studios, and sends up the culture of class snobbery and the airs people put on, as well as the superficiality of the upper classes. The victims in the D’Ascoyne family are all played by Alec Guiness, in masterful turns as different types and personalities, with hilarious aplomb. It’s hard to feel sorry for the dispatched, and yet Mazzini is hardly a sympathetic character himself, with his romantic entanglement with two women, one wealthy and…

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