02/11/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'Game of Thrones' season 6 character photos released ...
Ryan Reynolds Says Having a Daughter was Dream Come Tru...
Oscars Nominees Luncheon Class Photo of 2016 Revealed ...
Bernie Sanders confirms: 'I am Larry David'...
Breaking News: James Corden to Host the 2016 Tony Award...
Marty Balin Remembers Paul Kantner: 'He and I Opened Ne...
House of Cards season 5 renewal announced, showrunner B...
Joseph Fiennes plays Michael Jackson in British TV 'roa...
Nate Parker's 'The Birth of a Nation' a powerful film...
Chris Rock, Oscar host who really seems to hate the Osc...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

The Criterion Collection presents
Kind Hearts and Coronets (Criterion) (1949)

All your cousins seem to get killed. I really wouldn't be surprised if you'd murdered them all."
- Sibella (Joan Greenwood)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: February 21, 2006

Stars: Dennis Price, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood, Alec Guinness
Other Stars: Audrey Fildes, Miles Malleson, Clive Morton, Cecil Ramage, John Penrose, Hugh Griffith
Director: Robert Hamer

Manufacturer: Zoetrope Aubry Productions
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (homicide, racial epithets)
Run Time: 01h:46m:28s
Release Date: February 28, 2006
UPC: 715515016926
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-B+C+ B+

DVD Review

Sir Alec Guinness had appeared in a few films already in 1949, attracting notice for his notorious portrayal of Fagin in David Lean's Oliver Twist. But he really lit up the screens with his unforgettable portrayal of the entire D'Ascoyne family in this black comedy from the legendary Ealing Studio. One of the best-rgarded of the Ealing films, it still holds up quite well indeed.

Louis D'Ascoyne Mazzini, Duke of Chalfont (Dennis Price), is sentenced to hang for murder. His memoirs, presented in the form of flashback, make up the greater part of the picture, telling the tale of how he ended up in such a situation. Briefly, his mother had been a D'Ascoyne, but she and her son were disowned by the family for marrying a poor Italian musician. When her dying wish to be buried in the family vault is denied, Louis determines that he will systematically eliminate the family until the dukedom is his. Since there are eight surviving members of the family (all played by Guinness) who need to be eliminated, he has his work cut out for himself. In the meantime, he falls in love with Eliza (Valerie Hobson), the widow of one of the relations, and is simultaneously carrying on with his boyhood love, Sibella (Joan Greenwood), a sure recipe for danger if there ever were one.

Guinness is justly famous for his multiple portrayal, though several of the characters are little more than broad caricatures (the admiral and the general, in particular). However, most of the others are finely realized, with a great deal of character conveyed in mere posture and gesture. Indeed, an unknowing viewer might be surprised to find that all these characters were portrayed by a single man. Although Guinness has the tour de force performance, the balance of the cast is excellent as well. Price has a determined vigor fueled by hatred, thinly disguised by gentility and a quiet demeanor. Classic character actors such as Miles Malleson and Hugh Griffith also make brief but memorable appearances. But one of the characters that sticks with me longest is Sebilla; Joan Greenwood's dusky voice combined with her little-girl attitude, barely masking her manipulative vanity and pure mercenary heartlessness, is highly entertaining.

The murders themselves tend to be fairly creative, though one shouldn't confuse Louis Mazzini with The Abominable Dr. Phibes. In keeping with the dry tone of the picture, the homicides tend to be discreet and mostly off-camera. The dialogue is mordant and clever, with a quiet British wit that will probably not sit well with Adam Sandler fans. However, those who appreciate a more subtle humor will find very much indeed to enjoy in this classic that well deserves that label. Deliciously entertaining from beginning to end, leavened with a generous dose of irony. The slightly-longer running time is attributable to the Criterion logo at the beginning.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The transfer is very similar to the earlier Anchor Bay DVD, coming from a fine-grain master (the negative being lost). The picture is very slightly windowboxed throughout, and seems to be somewhat more stable than the earlier DVD. The improvement is fairly nominal on this front, given how good the earlier disc was. Both are quite satisfactory. There's plenty of detail and texture as well as a nice range of greys.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 English mono track suffers from the usual hiss and noise frequently found on older British films. In addition, music is distorted and harshly unpleasant. Dialogue is often difficult to make out; it took me three listens to verify that the hangman (Malleson) made reference to 'hanging a Duke' rather than 'hanging a Jew,' which seemed both gratuitously nasty and out of place. The audio seems somewhat louder than on the Anchor Bay disc, but that doesn't help the clarity at all.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Alternate Endings
Production Notes
2 Documentaries
Packaging: unknown double keepcase
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:56m:18s

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo galleries
Extras Review: What really sets the Criterion release apart is the quantity and value of the extras. The same dupey trailer is here again, but there's also a booklet with an extensive essay on the film that provides good background. A set of well over 100 stills covers the portraits, costumes, production and publicity aspects of the film. Most interesting is the alternate American ending that changes the sharply ironic but implied finale into a blunt instrument of hammering the point home. The layer change on the main feature is absolutely seamless, though the chaptering is not as thorough as the Anchor Bay version.

Disc 2 is comprised of two extensive documentary programs. The first is a 1h:15m:32s history of the Ealing Studios with plenty of film clips of rarely-seen pictures, plus interviews with such notables as Joan Greenwood, director Alexander Mackendrick and period footage of producer Michael Balcon. It's produced by the BBC, which is more than a little ironic since it was the BBC that bought the Ealing Studio and put it out of business. The second program is a rare 1977 television interview (1h:08m:25s) with Alec Guinness, as he discusses his career, his fondness for Buster Keaton and Bebe Daniels, the Ealing films and the then-new cult of Star Wars and the weirdness that surrounded his role in that picture. Both programs are interesting and quite worthwhile.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

The most notorious Ealing black comedy, given a very attractive transfer, with the extras piled on. Certainly worth the upgrade.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, game of thrones, emilia clark, sophie turner, alfie allan, maisie williams, patrick malahide, max von sydow, hbo, movie, ryan reynolds, deadpool, blake lively, james, shrimpie, celebrity, academy awards class photo, beverly hilton, leonardo dicaprio, brie larson, sylvester stallone, lady gaga, bernie sanders, larry david, anderson cooper, cbs, tony awards, james corden, the broadway league and the american theatre wing, music, jefferson airplane, paul kantner, marty balin, doors, netflix, house of cards, president frank underwood, kevin spacey, robin wright, comedy, michael jackson, joseph fiennes, nate parker, the birth of a nation, sundance film festival, nat turner, d.w. griffiths, movies, academy awards show, chris rock, will smith, white chicks, icymi, matt damon, the martian, cheryl boone isaacs, iggy pop, josh homme, gardenia, the late show, stephen colbert, post pop depression, academy award controversy, charlotte rampling, 45 years, cheryl boone, glenn frey, eagles, don henley, post-beach boys california pop, disco, punk, rock and roll hall of fame, david bowie, alan rickman, cancer, cameron crowe, rolling stone, ride along 2, ice cube, kevin hart, buddy-cop action-comedy, debbie harry, chris stein, blondie, heros, ricky gervais, jeffrey tambor, mozart in the juncle, aziz ansari, mr. robot, quentin tarantino, china box office, $32.1 million, walt disney, lip sync battle, beyonce, channing tatum, jena dewan tatum, paula abdul, spike tv, premieres, shades of blue, jennifer lopez, nbc, angel from hell, my diet is better than yours, abc, adele, 26, 7.44 million album sales, amc, the walking dead, frank darabont, glen mazzara, pbs, downton abbey season 6, gareth neame, sophie mcshera, paul copley, nichola burley, michelle dockery, the bachelor, bachelorette, ben higgins, alex michel, aaron buerge, andrew firestone, bob guiney, george r.r. martin, the winds of winter, song of ice and fire, kanye west, facts, bill cosby, steve harvey, miss universe, cosby show, george lucas, charlie rose, star wars: the force awakens, disney, star wars, harrison ford, mark hamill, carrie fisher, aging, sports, basketball, meadowlark lemon, wilt chamberlain, u.s. army, basketball hall of fame, clown prince of basketball, ritz theater

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store