Kind Hearts and Coronets

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Despite living in modest conditions, Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) is in line to receive the title of Duke of Chalfont, with the only problems being the many and varied members of his mother’s family, the D’Ascoynes (Alex Guinness), currently living and either holding the position or being further up the chain of succession than Louis. After the family denies his disinherited mother’s dying wish of being buried in the family cemetery, Louis sets out a mission to prune the D’Ascoyne family tree until he sits at the top with the title of Duke, hoping that will not only make amends for how his mother (Audrey Fildes) was treated, but will also win Louis the heart of his childhood crush Sibella (Joan Greenwood).
Kind Hearts and Coronets Price Greenwood
If Kind Hearts and Coronets is known for one thing, it’s that Alec Guinness played not just one member of the increasingly endangered D’Ascoyne clan, but the entire brood; eight separate characters. Some have considerably more time spent with them than others, but even those with just a few moments of screen time have individual mannerisms, speech patterns and everything else that makes a memorable character. Guinness has long been a versatile character actor, but even still seeing him here as a frail, doddery old reverend, a passionate, forthright revolutionary, a buttoned up banker and a stubborn, buffoonish admiral, at one point all in the same scene, is nothing short of delightful. It’s just a shame that all the captivating characters he portrays are, by the very nature of the film, regrettably not destined to survive until the closing credits.
Kind Hearts and Coronets Guinness Price
Elsewhere the rest of the cast all perform well, just in a less showy manner. Price retains a dash of wry sarcasm in his narration – the story is told as a memoir he is writing from jail the night before his execution – relaying in an almost disinterested monotone some otherwise ghastly events; never has the death of a young mother and her newborn children been quite so callously yet hysterically described. Mazzini’s love interests, played by Joan Greenwood and Valerie Hobson, are also great additions to the cast, one a gold-digging seductress and the other a more refined but standoffish lady, played against one another for Mazzini’s gains, and in some fabulous costumes while they’re at it. Also look out for a small role for Dad’s Army star Arthur Lowe, just before the credits.
Kind Hearts and Coronets Guinness
As with pretty much any piece of art ever made in England, class is a huge part of the story, and watching this in 2019 feels just as relevant as it may have 70 years ago. We still live in a time of the haves and the have-nots, and Louis’ initial plight to dethrone the aristocracy is a motive that’s very easy to support, even if his methods are less than condonable. The darkly comedic tone and often extraordinary means of disposal also make the multiple murders more palatable, but as Louis’ intentions evolve from vengeance to opportunistic greed it becomes harder to root for his victory. However difficult it may become to revel in the successes of the film’s protagonist, it’s never difficult to enjoy the film overall. This is a wonderfully written and performed comedy that may be a little slow or light on audible guffaws for more modern viewers, but if given the proper patience and attention there’s a great deal here to savour.

Choose Film 9/10

Small Town Hero

Three years ago I was invited to the premiere screening of Vigilante, an independent film I’d heard good things about. Now, finally, that film has garnered a release, under the new name of Small Town Hero, and in the hopes of increasing its notoriety I’m re-posting my review, under the new name. Small Town Hero will be released on iTunes, Amazon and Sky Store on Monday 6th May, and I heartily recommend you check it out.
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The Fly (1986)

Veronica (Geena Davis) is a reporter for a science magazine, scoping out a party for up-and-coming scientists. There she meets Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), an eccentric yet strangely charismatic guy who invites her back to his place to reveal an invention that will change the world as they know it. Upon arriving at his apartment, Veronica learns of Seth’s Telepods, devices that allow the user to instantaneously transport something from one place to another. At first they use an inanimate object, but the plan is to move living things, and then eventually Seth himself. Hilarity ensues.
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Predator

When a helicopter carrying an important cabinet minister crashes somewhere in Central America, the CIA enlists a team of mercenaries to go in and save him. What they find, however, is far from what they expected, as they become hunted by an unseen and incredibly skilled new foe.
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Countdown to Infinity War: Spider-Man: Homecoming

The third Avengers move is due to be released in under a fortnight and frankly I’m more than a little excited about it. In preparation for the last Avengers film my buddy Robert and a couple of his friends took a look at all the MCU films running up to it, and they’re doing the same for Infinity War, only this time they’ve invited me to tag along. I’ve already contributed to some of the other posts, but the one I’ve been handed to focus on is Spider-Man: Homecoming, and I couldn’t be happier. Before you read this, go check out these other reviews, written by Robert from To The Escape Hatch, CT from Nerd Lunch and Pax from Cavalcade of Awesome:

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

And now, he’re my coverage of Spider-Man: Homecoming: Continue reading

White Heat

Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) is the brash, ruthless, potentially crazy head of a crime gang in California. After a train robbery draws unwanted police attention, Cody decides to take the fall for a smaller job in Illinois, heading to prison for a minimal sentence. The police see through his ruse but entertain the plan anyway, as they have a scheme of their own involving an undercover officer (Edmond O’Brien) who will become Jarrett’s new cell mate, Vic Pardo, whose mission is to discover the identity of Jarrett’s money launderer. Cody must now deal with being away from his gang, his girl (Virginia Mayo) and, worst of all, his Ma (Margaret Wycherly)
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Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Portsmouth, 1787. Ship’s Lieutenant Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) press-gangs a pub-load of unwilling men aboard The Bounty, heading on a two-year voyage to Tahiti in search of breadfruit. At the ship’s helm is Captain William Bligh (Charles Laughton), one of the cruellest men to ever sail the seas in the name of the King’s navy, and he more than lives up to his reputation. After Christian and the crew can take no more of Bligh’s cruelty they mutiny and take over the ship, but their problems do not end there.
mutiny-on-the-bounty-laugton-gable Continue reading