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Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 9.3/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 8,808

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Unrated,

Drama, Classics, Comedy

John Dighton, Robert Hamer

Sep 10, 2002

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (0) | DVD (19)

At once a witty comedy of manners, a grotesque serial-killer caper and an acerbic satire on the class system.

August 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Robert Hamer's 1949 film is often cited as the definitive black, eccentric British comedy, yet it's several cuts better than practically anything else in the genre.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Translation to a screen comedy has been effected with a mature wit.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a brilliantly cynical film without a hint of middle-class guilt or bitterness.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The sly and adroit Mr. Guinness plays eight Edwardian fuddy-duds with such devastating wit and variety that he naturally dominates the film.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite its murders and intrigues, its betrayals and blood feuds, Kind Hearts and Coronets has a dry and detached air.

September 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shot through with pitch black humour and biting satire on both the moribund upper class and the grasping venality of the suburban middle class.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Hamer had a particular liking for the late-Victorian/Edwardian world and was a great Francophile.

August 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Amazingly courageous for its day (1949) in combining bad taste with good comedy.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

This was Robert Hamer's masterpiece...

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Technically brilliant and savagely funny, serial killing has never looked so much fun.

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Robert Hamer's poised direction chimes perfectly with his Edwardian setting, and the Wildean wit of Price's voice-over is an unfailing delight.

August 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A comedic gem featuring the incomparable Sir Alec Guinness.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The most sophisticated and blackest of the Ealing comedies, Hamer's immaculate, serial-killer romp gives the splendid Guinness the roles of a lifetime.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Robert Hamer's 1949 film is an impeccable premiere example of Black Comedy.

July 27, 2010 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

In a career noted for multiple characterizations, Alec Guinness had his finest hour in the dryly hilarious Ealing Studios comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets ...

July 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

There's a surprise ending that helps make this one of Ealing's darkest comedies.

July 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Brilliantly sustains its outrageous black humor [with] a constant ironic contrast between the outward gentility… of its aristocratic milieu and the moral decadence… beneath it all.

April 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

It was Voltaire, probably, who said that if Alec Guinness did not exist it would be necessary for Ealing Studios to invent him.

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDJournal.com
DVDJournal.com

Easily the most beloved and durable film from the Ealing stable.

March 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A droll and delicious black comedy, one of the Ealing Studios' regal postwar hits.

March 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

dry, mannered, and very ironic

February 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A class can be taught comparing British and American manners using only Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Family Jewels.

February 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Kind Hearts and Coronets

In my opinion Ealing Comedies really took off after the release of Kind Hearts and Coronets. Dennis Price's narration is enough to suck you in from the start, his voice being perfectly pitched and hypnotic. His performance is brilliant although it is Alec Guinness's eight performances that the film is most remembered for, each one being as equally good. Robert Hamer had a short career due to dying relatively young, his films have really stood the test of time but are to this day sadly forgotten. Rectify this people! Kind Hearts and Coronets being the perfect starting point.
February 12, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Fantastic performances and a tightly wound script as well as some pitch black humour. Full review later.
November 9, 2012
TomBowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

An expertly crafted British black comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets features a remarkably witty script and eight iconic performances from Sir Alec Guinness as every member of the antagonist d'Ascoyne family, not to mention the marvelously cheeky work Dennis Price put forth as the lead anti-hero. A true treat of cinematic cynicism in a fresh, post-WWII European society.
November 5, 2012
Kristijonas Fussman

Super Reviewer

Sir Alec Guinness does a remarkable job indeed playing an entire family (!) slated for revenge after disowning a member who simply marries for love rather than position but this really is the underrated Dennis Price's film as the suave and genteel soul of her revenge ... served cold. The heat herein comes from the ever deliciously sultry Joan Greenwood as his destined soulmate and only match.
July 7, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

    1. Duke of Chalfont: It had to be said that Henry was no longer to take part in activities.
    – Submitted by Augusta M (14 months ago)
    1. Sibella: Louis, I think I've married the most boring man in London!
    2. Duke of Chalfont: England?
    3. Sibella: In Europe!
    – Submitted by Augusta M (14 months ago)
    1. Edith D'Ascoyne: Kind hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith than Norman blood.
    – Submitted by doruk (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (DE)
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) (UK)
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