Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
"Now, in those days, I had hardly any trouble with the Sixth Commandment..."
This is a very British film about class, as the impoverished yet high-born Louis d'Ascoyne plots to bump off his relatives, all of whom look suspiciously like Alec Guinness, so that he can become the 10th Duke of Chalfont. This is done via some entertaining and delightful murders, a witty script, a clever twist at the end involving a love triangle and Arthur Lowe, and a superbly effective non-linear structure as Louis, to be changed in the morning but nevertheless fawned over as a duke, writes his memoirs from his condemned cell.
There's a startling use of the "n" word towards the end which jars somewhat, but there's little count in criticising a film made in 1949 for racism when all involved are long dead. It's a witty and delightful film which should be seen by all, and has made me keen to see many more Ealing comedies.