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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite film, 10 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: Kind Hearts And Coronets [DVD] (DVD)
"Kind hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith than Norman blood." - from the 1842 poem "Lady Clara Vere de Vere" by Alfred Lord Tennyson

This is one of the great Ealing comedies. A truly great family film, which is both funny and profound.

Released in 1950 and staring the late, great and extremely underrated Dennis Price as Louis Mazzini and Alec Guinness as all 8 members of the D'Ascoyne family.

His quest was to extract revenge for the treatment of his mother by the D'Ascoyne family. His mother, a member of the D'Ascoyne family, had married for love not for status or money and was therefore disowned. After her death she was refused burial in the family crypt and this was the tipping point for Louis. He decides that the only way to get revenge is to become the Duke. Unfortunately for Louis there are 8 other D'Ascoynes in the way, he must dispose of them all before he can become Duke.

This is my favourite film, it is the one that I come back to time after time, because of this I highly recommend this film.

Oh, and my favourite line is: "It is so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms." It tells you so much about the tone of the film. Enjoy.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Sep 2011 16:40:33 BDT
Kojaks Lolly says:
I had to laugh there. It's also my favourite film and that's my favourite line - you have exceptional taste.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Sep 2011 20:49:25 BDT
Su says:
Thank you so much :)

It's one of those films which I've seen so many times that I can do the lines with the characters. Unfortunately, I've worn out 2 dvd copies of it. I just hope that they keep producing them so I can keep watching.

It does make me wonder why Dennis Price wasn't a bigger movie star.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Oct 2011 14:43:24 BDT
Jeffrey L. says:
I think part of Dennis Price's problem was that he didn't really believe in himself. He is quoted as having said "I am a second-rate feature actor. I am not a star and never was. I lack the essential spark." Those of us who love "Kind Hearts and Coronets" might be permitted to disagree with Price's assessment of his own abilities. Furthermore, Price seems to have been one of the nicest people in show business, perhaps not the best quality to have in what is often a cut-throat and bitchy profession. He also had to battle with personal demons; he was addicted to alcohol and was a heavy gambler and also spent much of his life heavily in debt which meant that he often accepted parts in trashy films in order to keep the wolf from the door. As a bisexual man, he lived most of his life in an era when homosexual acts were illegal and it is rumoured that he was blackmailed by a former male partner and that this led, in part, to a failed suicide attempt in the early 50s. Price was later able to joke about this and told how his life had been saved by his landlady's dog who found him in the gas-filled room. Price as a result became a regular volunteer manning the phone-lines for the Samaritans.
Despite the fact that nothing else in Price's career compares with his outstanding performance in "Kind Hearts and Coronets" there are many good things in his supporting roles, "The Naked Truth" "Tunes of Glory" and "The Intruder" to mention a few. "The Bad Lord Byron" actually isn't as bad as it is often made out to be and I am waiting for the day when "The Dancing Years" is released on dvd. Price, apparently, was an accomplished pianist and in this film he is shown playing and conducting an orchestra.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2011 01:44:30 BDT
Su says:
It is true that the nice people of the world, no matter how good they are at acting, are frequently chewed up and spit out by the acting fraternity.

When you look at some of the actors you get now they tend to be vacuous and self absorbed, often backstabbing their "friends" in order to get ahead. Not exactly what I would call a friend!

It could be that his lack of belief in his talent was a cause of his personal demons, or may have been because of his demons. Alcohol is frequently used to deaden the "hurt" that people feel psychologically and gambling tends to be used by people of low self esteem to try to gain some esteem back by winning - something which is a rare thing with gambling.

So I would suggest that the lack of belief, which would not be helped by his colleagues undermining his confidence in his ability as an actor, was probably the cause of those demons.

People tend to underrate the damage caused by psychological injuries - bullying and the like - but it can be more devastating than people think. More often than not people believe that because there is no visible injury no harm has been done. This is completely untrue. That is why bullying of any sort is so insidious.

It wouldn't surprise me if he was being blackmailed, these days that person would have run to the papers and sold their "kiss and tell".

It is a shame that he didn't realise what a fan base he had, or would gain over the years. It might have gone some way to helping his self belief and self esteem.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2011 13:30:57 GMT
I too have heard that Dennis Price was blackmailed over his homosexuality, and indeed in a ground-breaking 1961 film, "Victim", he played the part of a homosexual stage actor who was in exactly that predicament. The film is about a number of gay men who are being blackmailed (homosexual acts in private still being illegal at that time), and astonishingly I understand that this is the first English-speaking film ever to have included the word "homosexual". The film was initially banned in the US (for that reason alone), and received an X certificate here, in spite of actually being very mild by today's standards. At the time of typing this the entire film can be watched on YouTube, although I'm sure it is also available on DVD from Amazon. I watched it yesterday and cannot recommend it too highly - it is a startling reminder of how different things were a relatively short time ago and is understood to have had considerable influence over public opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2011 18:13:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Dec 2011 18:17:15 GMT
Su says:
Thank goodness we have developed and progressed as a society. But ...

... I was reading an article with Ben Daniels and he said that he believed that his sexuality had cost him roles in Hollywood movies. He also pointed out that there are a lot of men and women in Hollywood who suddenly find their unable to get roles, and that this problem starts when the actor/actress in question has had their sexuality disclosed.

So it would seem that things in the world of Hollywood still have that double standard.

Such a shame that some of those in charge cannot see beyond their actors personal lives to their acting ability - if the man/woman can, convincingly, do the job then I cannot see the problem in hiring them as the best actor/actress for the role.

I have seen movies where the chosen actors are so unconvincing I really wonder how they got the job and that thought has never had anything to do with their sexuality only their acting ability.

I enjoy the work of a number of actors and actresses, but they can all have a bad film - their acting ability and their ability in the role has, from my experience, never had anything to do with their sexuality.

The conclusion I come to is that those people in Hollywood who make the decisions on who to hire still have the issue with sexuality and "moral and immoral behaviour" which goes back to the 1920s. The wake of the whole Roscoe Arbuckle fiasco foisted a morality censor (William H Hays) on the American movie business and such rules were imposed as no kiss shall last longer than 3 seconds and should only be lip to lip at most; along with no implied loving sexual relationships outside marriage, all criminal acts had to be punished and ill doers could not be the hero of a story (poor Robin Hood, no wonder the American versions are so messed up), no interracial relationships and a ban on homosexuality.

It seems that some people in that "industry" just can't move on from the old "standards" which were imposed when a man was found not guilty of manslaughter on the 3rd attempt at prosecution.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2011 18:48:51 GMT
That is all very disheartening in this day and age.

On the "crime doesn't pay" principle that you mention, I remember this completely ruining (in my opinion at least) the old Laurence Olivier version of "Rebecca". The most dramatic line in that film should have been Oliver revealing that he'd murdered his first wife, but instead he merely disclosed that he'd moved her body after she'd tripped up and died during a heated argument. Not quite the same!

I understand that Kind Hearts and Coronets (returning to the original topic) has been affected by this too. Apparently the US version of the film has an extra bit tacked on at the end to really hammer the point home that Louis doesn't get to retrieve the memoirs that he's left in his cell.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2012 20:35:27 GMT
Su says:
I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, things have been a little hectic over New Year. Hope yours is going better than mine.

I (almost) find it difficult to believe that American audiences are so thick that they cannot understand that Louis leaving his memoirs in his prison cell wouldn't get him caught for all those other murders.

I always wondered why they changed some of the best bits of my favourite books.
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Su
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Location: England

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