Today: May 23, 2024

Kind Hearts & Coronets

75 years after its release, StudioCanal’s crisp and bright 4K UHD restoration makes the prefect gift to mark the film’s Anniversary and the lasting legacy of the Ealing Comedy.

Kind Hearts & Coronets is often cited as the perfect Ealing Comedy but it’s also the most atypical. Director Robert Hamer, who co-wrote much of the script, expressed his intention to make a film “not noticeably similar to any other made in the English language” which “paid no regard to established … moral convention”. And he succeeded in spades.

Alec Guinness — an Ealing Studios old boy — plays all eight of the abominable D’Ascoynes with undisguised relish. However, it’s Dennis Price who steals the film. Putting in an under-appreciated performance as the louche Mazzini, Price conjures up the type of anti-hero which would give Machiavelli a run for his money. Amoral, callous, calculating, but strangely hard to hate. Partly because his victims are so desperately deserving of the fate which befalls them, and partly because he has all the best lines.

[SPOILERS] In Ealing, the villains never get away with it, but Kind Hearts stretches that convention, too. After a last minute reprieve, Mazzini is freed, leaving his memoirs, confessing all, in his jail cell. Like The Italian Job the ending is left deliberately vague. He might, just might, get away with it. Interestingly when it was released in the US, American audiences were much less happy with this sort of moral ambiguity and an extra scene, showing the prison warder reading Mazzini’s ‘confession’ was added.

This new 4K restoration release is part of a wider celebration by StudioCanal and UK cinemas of the Golden Age of Ealing Studios, when it was run by Michael Balcon

The ‘Once More with Ealing’ season will see audience-favourites screening in cinemas, including Kind Hearts & Coronets, Whisky Galore! and Passport To Pimlico, which all celebrate their 75th Anniversary this year. 

Special features include:

  • Once More with Ealing.
  • John Landis introduction.
  • Audio commentary with film critic Peter Bradshaw, director Terence Davies and Matthew Guinness.
  • Audio Commentary with film writer and critic Kat Ellinger.
  • Those British Faces: Dennis Price.
  • Alternate US ending.
  • BFI’s Introducing Ealing Studios.
  • Behind the Scenes stills gallery.
  • Costume stills gallery.
  • Original trailer.
  • 2019 trailer.

Kind Hearts & Coronets is released for the first time on UHD on 22nd April.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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