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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Third Man
    Dennis Price is excellent in this - it's his film totally. Funny how Guiness seemed to be quite annoyed that people always used to reference his multiple characters in Kind Hearts, it looked at times like it got him down a bit, especially when it was mentioned in his interview with Parkinson ( one of the great Parky interviews).



    For me Guiness was best when he could explore and develope a character and I would put many of his other parts like Gulley Jimson, Col Nicholson, Professor Marcus, Sidney Stratton, Henry Holland and the controversial Fagin above his D'Ascyone family parts.



    Simon
    "Dennis Price is excellent in this - it's his film totally."



    Hear, hear. I literally couldn't agree more.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot J Huntley
    "Dennis Price is excellent in this - it's his film totally."

    Hear, hear. I literally couldn't agree more.
    Yes, he is excellent, but I would say that all of the parts of the film work in balance. That is what makes it such an outstanding work: all of the parts work together seamlessly.

  3. #63
    Senior Member Country: UK frame69's Avatar
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    Ive got ladykillers in my collection, Il get a copy of this one when i can

  4. #64
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    In his Radio Times column this week Barry Norman bangs on about Alec Guinness 'stealing' the film. That tired old line does a disservice to Dennis Price and Joan Greenwood.

  5. #65
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dremble wedge
    In his Radio Times column this week Barry Norman bangs on about Alec Guinness 'stealing' the film. That tired old line does a disservice to Dennis Price and Joan Greenwood.
    Agreed. I've never really thought Guinness' performance added that much to the film, good though he is. It would have been just as fun if they'd got the people he's impersonating - Guy Middleton as the masher, Ernest Thesiger as the bishop and so on. And it's a shame that he got all the attention when Dennis Price gives one of the very best performances in any Ealing comedy.

  6. #66
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    Absolutely, it is Dennis who captivated my interest. I think Alec Guinness does well, but Dennis Price is an example of near perfect casting and a truly stand out performance. I can't imagine it being played by anyone else.

  7. #67
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    Don't forget that Price played his own character's father in this too. A gem of British Kinema!

  8. #68
    Senior Member Country: Ireland zorro2566's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Turner
    I've always loved Kind Hearts and Coronets, and after re-watching the film recently, I was struck by Dennis Price's magnificent central performance. Although Alec Guinness's legendary portrayal of 8 different characters was flawless, I think it's important that the other cast members aren't unfairly overlooked. I thought that Dennis Price gave a wonderfully witty and polished performance, all delivered in that rich, unmistakeable voice. Surely, the pinnacle of his career.



    A terrific film, and one I never tire of revisiting.
    I have just watched it again on Ch.4 today and i have always thought that Dennis Price was the star of the film and indeed it was the highlight of his career,it is terrible to think of him in his later years in all those horror films!

  9. #69
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorro2566
    I have just watched it again on Ch.4 today and i have always thought that Dennis Price was the star of the film and indeed it was the highlight of his career,it is terrible to think of him in his later years in all those horror films!
    Dennis was the star. He had top billing. Alec Guinness only got 4th billing.

    But a lot of people are so impressed by Alec's ability to dress up that they neglect Dennis' superior performance.



    Steve

  10. #70
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB
    Absolutely, it is Dennis who captivated my interest. I think Alec Guinness does well, but Dennis Price is an example of near perfect casting and a truly stand out performance. I can't imagine it being played by anyone else.
    I agree "very much" with this



    Moon.

  11. #71
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    Interesting comment in today's "Times" - 'A less ambivalent ending was shot for original US release to meet production code rules that crime must not be seen to pay, although that scene was later deleted'.



    Great film - a deliciously black comedy with one of my favourite lines:

    I shot an arrow into the air; she came to earth in Berkeley Square. (if memory serves me right.)



    clarence

  12. #72
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I agree with the above comments about Dennis Price.



    He gives a brilliant performance - genuinely sinister - all of that hatred and bitterness is evident under the smooth surface. Even the occasional breaks in the surface are perfectly timed.



    I will say again, though, that I didn't really enjoy this film. I admire it and respect it. It is an outstanding film. But it is very dark. I wonder if all of the focus on Alec Guinness is a way of avoiding the darkness. It must be the blackest comedy ever made.



    Regarding Dennis Price: something seemed to have happened to him between A Canterbury Tale and this. They are not that many years apart, yet he seems to be literally a different man. The change goes much deeper than just the difference in the two characters he is playing. I saw him last year in Tunes of Glory and the change was even more pronounced. I would use the word 'decay'. That is part of what makes watching Kind Hearts and Coronets difficult to watch. Price seems even more sinister and world-weary than Alec Guinness, and Guinness always seems to me like a prowling cat.

  13. #73
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    What happened to the thread for April Fool?



    Anyway:



    Will Smith tipped for Kind Hearts and Coronets remake | Film | guardian.co.uk



    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  14. #74
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marky B
    What happened to the thread for April Fool?

    Anyway:

    Will Smith tipped for Kind Hearts and Coronets remake | Film | guardian.co.uk

    Ta Ta

    Marky B




    First it's true

    Then its not

    Then it's true again



    It's all too much...

  15. #75
    Senior Member Country: UK EHV_Emmetts's Avatar
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    Dennis Price gives his best performance in this film. The fine juxtaposition between Edwardian middle-class sensibilities and the cold callous mass murderer is exquisitely performed.

  16. #76
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Kind Hearts and Coronets: 60th anniversary of a classic



    Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Alec Guinness, was the masterwork of alcoholic maverick Robert Hamer.



    By Matthew Dennison

    09 Jul 2009

    Kind Hearts and Coronets: 60th anniversary of a classic - Telegraph













    Alec Guinness and Dennis Price in Kind Hearts and Coronets




    To imagine that giant lobsters are gnawing at one's genitals might seem on the face of it rather comic. For Ealing Studios director Robert Hamer, it was anything but � this very delusion marked his final decline into the delirium tremens which would claim his life. Hamer died in 1963, a victim of alcoholism, aged only 52. He had made fewer than a dozen films. One of them continues to guarantee him immortality.



    Kind Hearts and Coronets was released 60 years ago this summer, screened in picture houses nationwide on an evening of sizzling heat. Billed on posters as "a hilarious study in the gentle art of murder", it charts the dizzying ascent, in Edwardian England, of a Clapham draper's assistant, Louis Mazzini, who finds himself 10th Duke of Chalfont. His metamorphosis is not unexpected. On the contrary, Louis secures his own destiny with ruthless sang-froid, murdering one by one the seven title-holders who stand between him and the dukedom. As posters for the US release proclaimed: "He cut down the family tree."



    Today, the film is remembered not so much for its extreme object lesson in social mobility as Alec Guinness's tour de force of celluloid versatility � his portrayal of not one but all eight members of the aristocratic D'Ascoyne family.



    Kind Hearts and Coronets is a black comedy filmed in bright sunshine, a cool piece of heartlessness played for laughs, with a subplot preoccupied by love. Its elegant surface � even homicide does not challenge Louis's sartorial �clat � masks uglier motives and truths: the film dares us to disapprove. It is a work of immense sophistication that combines the startlingly modern and the obviously old-fashioned.



    Hamer, who Alec Guinness remembered as looking and sounding like a scornful frog, had wanted to make a film that used "this English language which I love in a more varied and, to me, more interesting way than I had previously had the chance of doing".



    He wrote the script himself, in a style frequently indebted to Oscar Wilde. "While I never admired Edith as much as when I was with Sibella," Louis confesses, "I never longed for Sibella as much as when I was with Edith."



    Unlike the Tennyson poem that provided its title, Kind Hearts and Coronets is not much preoccupied with either goodness or kindness. Hamer set out to make a "picture which paid no regard whatever to established, although not practised, moral convention", and in this he succeeded. Kind Hearts and Coronets is about the fluidity of moral concepts in the face of personal desire. It is this that makes it a film for all time.



    Moral ambiguity, Wildean flippancy, appearance masking reality � these were the concerns not merely of a single black-and-white Ealing comedy but its gifted and flawed creator, who shared Louis's attraction to taboos.



    Robert Hamer was born into provincial prosperity in 1911. After public school, he won a scholarship to Cambridge but failed to take his degree after a homosexual affair cut short his university career.



    At this point, he appears to have decided to cut loose. He turned his back on the mathematics and economics for which he had shown such early promise and became instead a clapper boy in films. Six years later, in 1940, he moved to Ealing Studios as an editor.



    The Ealing Studios of the Forties had the atmosphere and internal conflicts of a family concern. Studio boss, producer and self-appointed guardian angel Michael Balcon emphasised team spirit and a team ethos. Balcon liked moral clarity and an idealised "best of Britishness" that included residual dregs of the Victorian philanthropist's idea that art possessed the power to instruct and improve the working classes. More than that, according to The Daily Express movie critic in 1949, he was "the most temperamental personality in British film".



    All of this might have been expected to set him on a collision course with the youthful Hamer, but there is scant evidence for this. Hamer's early ascent through the ranks at Ealing was quick. In 1948, Balcon may have disliked the idea of a comedy based on multiple murder, but the film was made nevertheless.



    Original publicity posters trumpeted not only Balcon's own part in the creation of Kind Hearts and Coronets but those very areas of moral greyness within the film that were furthest from his preferred territory: "The life history of a debonair gentleman with strictly dishonourable intentions, a story of murder with eight aristocratic corpses, a shocking exposure of low life in high places, a film that is witty, thrilling, provocative, daring."



    Perhaps it was a case of Balcon making the best of a bad deal in the face of what he was forced to recognise as a remarkable piece of moviemaking.



    Balcon would later describe Hamer as "engaged on a process of self-destruction". The younger man's hard drinking seems to have begun early. By the end of his film career, which terminated ingloriously with his forcible removal from the 1959 Terry-Thomas vehicle, School for Scoundrels, Hamer's alcohol consumption had reached epic proportions. Pre-breakfast lager was followed by white wine until lunchtime. From lunchtime he drank brandy, switching at about 5pm to whisky, which he would drink for up to 12 hours.



    In the early hours of the morning, he returned to his flat in Tite Street. Blown off course into Battersea Park on one such occasion, the erstwhile genius of Ealing Comedy found himself pursued by the first of those no-good lobsters.



    Valerie Hobson, who played Louis's second love interest, Edith D'Ascoyne, afterwards remembered Hamer as "a genius � a very sophisticated man". In its eloquence and mordant wit, its combination of cynicism and high chic, its visual bravura and inspired storytelling, Kind Hearts and Coronets is a worthy legacy for that "very sophisticated man" who, 60 years ago, bequeathed British cinema one of its most sparkling and enduring comedies.

  17. #77
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    What a terrible article. It purports to be about the film but is really much more about Hamer and his troubles. If the star of the film hadn't happened to be in the still they selected and so was mentioned in the caption then he wouldn't have been named at all.



    Gutter journalism of the worst sort



    Steve

  18. #78
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    When I was a Kid, my mother was in the habit of descrbing in detail the story of a movie that particularely impressed her. When I saw Kind Hearts and Coronets many years later, I recognized it as one of her retellings. Actually, the only other one I recall was The Lady Vanishes. There must have been others.

  19. #79
    Senior Member Country: Germany
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    A stand out movie with a stand out performance by Dennis Price. I always thought his lines in this are very Wilde-esque, sophisticated and the movie "decadent, nasty fun", and I always felt this not only a comment on society and class, but also on melodramatic costume drama. It may not be everybody's taste - Ladykillers is much lighter in tone, and even an illegitimate descendant like Theatre of Blood is playing more for the laughs. But I truly appreciate the use of language, using it less as a saber but a foil, and the cool but acid understatement. Very much one of my fave British movies.

  20. #80
    Senior Member Country: England Johnallan's Avatar
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    Harking back to Robert Hamer for a moment. I�ve just been watching an edition of BBCs Omnibus from 1986 about Ealing Studios in which some of Ealing�s legendary names reminisce. Harry Watt, one of Ealing�s band of directors related how Robert Hamer had scripted a film based on a famous novel that was set in the West Indies. The film was to be rather racy for the time and he had lined up Vivien Leigh for the lead role. Two weeks before start of shooting, Michael Balcon cancelled it and Hamer �went on the bottle and never recovered�. Googie Withers said had he still been alive (at the time of the documentary), she had no doubt he would have been one of the world�s great directors.

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