film 3 of 6

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Apr 10, 2015

Very droll, to be sure, with Dennis Price and Joan Greenwood expertly maximizing the effect by their very expert languidness (was ever a human being more like an insinuating, self-sufficient feline than she?); still, though one appreciates the film, the wryness of its narration, how that narration doesn’t quite double its imagery (cf. Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, especially as analyzed and admired by AndrĂ© Bazin), its commentary about class pretense and the culpability of both sides, its general sure-handed accomplishment, one still doesn’t find it to be especially enjoyable!

(Shall I make clear and confess? That “one” is actually I…)

For all that we over-say it, Alec Guiness really does show his range here: Mr. Henry, echoing his Herbert Pocket, Agatha’s big-laugh-inducing shush in the church, six whole other additional characters; I wish to take note of the other gut-busting moment, which must be the great nose-blow in all of film histoy;

Credit where it’s due: the fact that Price’s conviction is for the murder he didn’t commit is a nice surprise, very expertly prepared, withheld and then delivered; further, that whole configuration, leading to a subsequently ambiguous compromise of an ending, makes you think that this civilized stunt might actually have some thematic substance and moral heft;

Maybe one should try watching this one again…