A 1949 English black comedy film directed by Robert Hamer tell a story of Louise Mazzini (Dennis Price), a son of a woman ostracised by her family due to her marriage with a poor Italian opera singer, who takes a revenge on the D’Ascoynes family after they refuse her burial in the family crypt. By killing heirs of the family one by one, Louise succeeds in becoming the tenth Duke of Chalfont. His happinness, however, does not last long as he is torn between two women: one that wishes to marry and another who knows of his murders and threatens to reveal the truths if he does not marry her.
Although the basic plot of the film itself is a heavy matter to deal with, Kind Hearts and Coronets portrays it rather lightly with comical murder scenes and humour. Instead of making the audience’s jaw drop shocked by the cold-blooded murder scenes, this film actually entertains the audience, makes them laugh and await for the next cruel but inevitably fun moment.
As a very successful comedy film, Kind Hearts and Coronets takes a very frank attitude towards sex and murder. Further, the overall mood of the film is somewhat cynical and rebellious which can be seen as a reflection of the director’s life. Rober Hamer, although was a genius in filmmaking, had gone through many stressful times when his ideas on filmmking did not match with those of the producers.
Dennis Price’s performance in the film is outstanding in that he showed perfectly the two different inner sides of Louise Mazzini. Watching his changing character throughout the film is another interesting entertainment of the film. Most importantly, however, the ending is the crucial factor that overturns the audience’s expectatioins. With engaging film plot, great performances and a twist at the end, it is worth saying that Kind Hearts and Coronets is one of the greatest films so far.