Archive for December 27th, 2008


by Allan Fish

(UK 1949 106m) DVD1/2

 How happy could I be with either, were t’other, dear charmer, away

p  Michael Balcon, Michael Relph  d  Robert Hamer  w  Robert Hamer, John Dighton  novel  “Israel Rank” by Roy Horniman  ph  Douglas Slocombe  ed  Peter Tanner  md  Ernest Irving  m  “Il Mio Tesoro” from “Don Giovanni” & various small pieces from “Così fan Tutte” by W.A.Mozart  art  William Kellner  cos  Anthony Mendleson

Dennis Price (Louis Mazzini), Alec Guinness (younger duke/the banker/Young Ascoyne/Henry/Admiral Lord Horatio/the general/Lady Agatha/the parson), Valerie Hobson (Edith d’Ascoyne), Joan Greenwood (Sibella Hallwood-Holland), John Penrose (Lionel Holland), Audrey Fildes (Mama), Miles Malleson (Elliott, the hangman), Clive Morton (The colonel), Arthur Lowe (Reporter), Hugh Griffith (Judge),

Let me be honest here, Kind Hearts and Coronets is probably the least visual film of the entire selection.  It’s rather a film whose deserved masterpiece status rests on its acting and its deliciously dark and cynical script.  Oh, and the fact that it’s the least Ealing like film they ever made and, consequently, the best.  Many films make you empathise with the hero, for whatever reason; maybe because you want to look as cool as them, or because you fancy the panties off the leading actress.  What’s remarkable about this is that you’d be wishing yourself to be a mass murderer, for the hero kills six of his relatives in this film, and plans the death of two others.  So, much as though frolicking with the unique Joan Greenwood would have been great, let’s take a reality check here; Louis Mazzini is a swine who, though perhaps originally justifiably full of hate, is thoroughly deserving to get caught and punished.  But did the fellow have to be so stupid as to leave his memoirs in his cell.  Forget morality, people, check your scruples at the door.  (more…)

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