Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets Release Date: November 29, 2019

Kind Hearts and Coronets was originally released in 1949.

For the new 2019 restoration of Kind Hearts and Coronets, from Rialto Pictures, the 35mm nitrate original negative was scanned in 4K resolution at 16bit by the BFI archive. The resulting files were sent to Silver Salt Restoration for restoration and color grading. Extensive manual correction was carried out on a frame-by-frame basis to fix large dirt debris, warping, tears, scuffs, and scratches. It was color corrected by Senior Colorist Steve Bearman.

Here is what Kind Hearts and Coronets is all about:

In his prison cell, the tenth Duke of Chalfont — formerly Louis Mazzini — writes the memoir that will explain his path to the gallows. It concerns the vow he made to avenge the humiliation of his mother, a minor member of the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family who was excommunicated after her scandalous elopement with an Italian opera singer. The memoir also describes his romantic obsession with Sibella, a childhood friend with whose family he lives after the death of his mother. When the D’Ascoynes deny his mother’s wish to be buried in the family tomb, Louis vows to kill everyone between him and the Chalfont dukedom.

His first victim is the arrogant young Ascoyne D’Ascoyne, a banker’s son, whom he drowns by propelling his punt over a waterfall at Maidenhead. The death creates an opening at the bank, which Louis fills by sending a cleverly worded letter of condolence to his victim’s father. He then befriends young Henry D’Ascoyne and kills him by putting oil in the paraffin lamp of his darkroom — to which Henry retires to drink, unobserved by his wife Edith.

Louis accompanies the widow to the funeral, at which he encounters the remaining D’Ascoynes on his hitlist. The campaign continues. He spikes Reverend Lory Henry D’Ascoyne’s port with poison. He shoots down the suffragist Lady Agatha D’Ascoyne as she passes over Berkeley Square, dropping leaflets from a hot-air balloon. He kills General Lord Rufus D’Ascoyne with a booby-trapped jar of caviar. Admiral Lord Horatio D’Ascoyne dies, of his own accord, in a maritime accident. Meanwhile, Louis’ relationship with Edith grows closer — and he begins an adulterous affair with Sibella, who has by now married the stolid but apparently prosperous Lionel.

One night, Lionel comes to Louis’ lodgings to beg for financial help, which Louis refuses. Later, Sibella tries to blackmail him, telling her lover that Lionel has discovered their affair. But Louis calls her bluff and tells her that he is already engaged to Edith. He then commits his next murder — shooting the Duke of Chalfont before he can remarry and produce an heir. On hearing the news, Louis’ final obstacle, Lord Ascoyne D’Ascoyne, dies of shock.

Louis is arrested for murder. Much to his surprise, he finds himself on trial for killing Lionel, who has been found dead. Opting to abide by the judgment of his peers, Louis goes on trial at the House of Lords, where Sibella’s evidence condemns him to death. But after Edith has married him in prison, Sibella returns and appears to suggest a murderous deal. Lionel’s suicide note might be found; Edith might die; Sibella might then become the next Duchess. Louis seems to accept, and, and the last moment, the suicide note appears that secures his pardon.

Sibella and Edith are waiting for him at the prison gates. But his joy is only temporary. The manuscript, telling the unvarnished truth, remains on the desk in his cell.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets Trailer

Starring: Dennis PriceAlec GuinnessValerie HobsonJoan Greenwood
Directed By: Robert Hamer
Studio: Rialto Pictures
MPAA Rating Unrated