Anyone who knows anything about the British knows that class matters. Class matters a lot. It’s this very thing that the film Kind Hearts And Coronets decides to poke fun at through a comedy of murders. To make things even funnier, every person who is murdered is played by Alec Guinness. So the main character in the film climbs the class ladder one dead Alec Guinness after another.
The film is about Louis who has been denied his birthright by other members of the family because his mother married an Italian. When his mother dies and her final request to be buried in the family vault is refused, he decides to take revenge by murdering all the living members of the family. So begins the series of murders that make up the film. What makes the film so enjoyable isn’t just the murders and the plot, but the complete lack of drag. I don’t mean crossdressing since Guinness does this by playing Lady Agatha, but that the story never drags. I call it the no bullshit film. You get no long conversations, no long takes for the purposes of showing the scenery, just I need to do this, here’s how, and here’s the execution. Next! It’s like Bresson’s film A Man Escaped in that we are just taken step by step through his escape and nothing more.
If you only know Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi then you must see this masterful British comedy.