Fifth about The Seventh

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets: Robert Hamer’s gentle crime comedy follows a man who decides to get rid of all family members who stand between him and the titularity of a duchy. It is deeply amoral and ironic, with the film aiming for empathy with the killer early on. Dennis Price plays effectively the protagonist, a suave and charming man with a chip on his shoulder and a plan in his head. Joan Greenwood and Valerie Hobson play well the two women possibly fighting for his heart. But this film famously has Alec Guinness playing all the possible victims and that is the film’s biggest pleasure. His physical and voice work are enhanced by very effective characterization of each character, through smart costume design (by Anthony Mendleson) and make-up work. The film as a whole looks good, with efficient production design (by William Kellner) and camerawork (by the director of photography Douglas Slocombe); the editor Peter Tanner gives the film an easy, pleasurable pace.

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