Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zeitgeist, 24 Dec 2009
This review is from: Kind Hearts And Coronets [DVD] (DVD)
Art is sometimes a barometer of the time of its creation. This film can be seen as such. having governed Britain through `its darkest hour' the Churchill government were rejected by the post-war electorate who viewed Attlee's Labour party as promising support for the people `from cradle to grave'. The Tories still represented the old Britain of deference and Royal patronage, Labour came in on a promise of a new world. it was during this brief period that Kind Hearts And Coronets was released.

The title comes from the poem `Lady Clara Vere de Vere' by Tennyson (`Kind hearts are more than coronets,/ And simple faith than Norman blood.') which was rather ironic as Tennyson was the longest serving poet laureate who could count queen Victoria amongst his ardent admirers.

`Kind Hearts And Coronets' is no tribute to the monarchy or royal peerage. Louis (outstandingly played by Dennis Price) is aware that he can only inherit what he sees as rightfully his through murder and it is the acceptance of this that gives the film its comedy.

The figure of Louise is very much like that of Dianne Spencer. Both were opportunists who had some support amongst ordinary people for their perceived rebelliousness against the monarchy. But in the end both figures were avid supporters of the monarchial principles.

That said, there is a rebelliousness within `Kind Hearts And Coronets' that must have appealed to a war-weary population who may well have felt that the suffering they had undergone was too high a price to maintain a system of hereditary privilege.

Many of the Ealing films caught the feeling of the time `Passport To Pimlico' springs to mind, but nothing compared to this.

Ealing films are sadly dismissed as quaint but they were made in a time of massive social and philosophical upheaval in Britain. There is an outstanding scene when `The general' opens a jar of caviar saying that the `Ruskies' did produce some good things, before he puts his knife into the jar and it blows up. it may mean little to a younger generation but after the war the Communist Party of Great Britain was at its strongest (electorially) and the people of the Soviet union had a great deal of sympathy.

Many of Ealing films capture a feeling of class defiance which later gave way to the Angry Young Men and their nihilist view of the working class (eg: `Saturday Night, Sunday Morning'; `Billy Liar'; etc.). Perhaps `Kind Hearts And Coronets' is one of the most perfect film in capturing zeitgeist. Added to the fact that it is beautifully acted by all concerned and an outstanding direction from the great Robert Hamer.

Also [[ASIN:B000I0QSRQ The Definitive Ealing Studios Collection - Volume 3 [DVD]g Studios Collection - Volume 1 [DVD]]]The Definitive Ealing Studios Collection - Volume 2 [DVD] and The Definitive Ealing Studios Collection Volume 4 [DVD]
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Oct 2011 01:48:41 BDT
Bedinog says:
I'm guessing your reference to Dianne Spencer is actually to the character Diana, Princess of Wales, and I ask pardon if I'm incorrect. If I am correct, I'm not convinced that insulting a young woman's memory alleging she was an opportunist is appropriate in reviewing a film, although I do see the context in which your comments are set.
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