Kind Hearts and Coronets

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Kind Hearts and Coronets is a 1949 film about an heir to a Dukedom who plots to murder those members of his estranged family who stand in his way, thereby avenging his mother's death and winning the heart of a young gentlewoman.

Directed by Robert Hamer. Written by Roy Horniman, Robert Hamer and John Dighton.
A hilarious study in the gentle art of murder.
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

Louis Mazzini

  • [To The Duke] I want to talk to you for a minute. If you make a noise, I shall blow your head off at once. By the time anyone has heard the shot I shall be running back toward the castle shouting for help. I shall say that you stepped on the trap and your gun went off as you fell. So be quiet. When I've finished I shall kill you. You will the the sixth D'Ascoyne that I've killed. You want to know why? In return for what the D'Ascoyne's did to my mother. Because she married for love instead of for rank or money or land. They condemned her to a life of poverty and slavery, in a world for which they had not equipped her to deal. You yourself refused to grant her dying wish, which was to be buried here, at Chalfont. When I saw her poor little coffin saw underground, saw her exiled in death as she had been in life, I swore to have revenge on your intolerable pride. That revenge I am just about to complete.
  • [to the Duke, before he murders him] From here, I think, the wound will be consistent with the story I shall tell.
  • I had not forgotten or forgiven the boredom of the sermon of young Henry's funeral, and I decided to promote the Reverend Lord Henry D'Ascoyne to next place on the list [to be murdered].
  • [Having just murdered Lady Agatha D'Ascoyne while she sailed a balloon over London] I shot an arrow in the air; she fell to earth in Berkeley Square.
  • While I never admired Edith as much as when I was with Sibella, I never longed for Sibella as much as when I was with Edith.
  • [After murdering his cousin and the man's mistress] I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death.
  • The Reverend Lord Henry was not one of those new-fangled parsons who carry the principles of their vocation uncomfortably into private life.
  • The next morning I went out shooting with Ethelred—or rather, to watch Ethelred shooting; for my principles will not allow me to take a direct part in blood sports.
  • It is so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms.

The Parson

  • The Parson: The port is with you.
  • The Parson: I always say that my west window has all the exuberance of Chaucer, without, happily, any of the concomitant crudities of his period.


Mr Elliot The Hangman: A difficult client can make things most distressing. Some of them tend to be very hysterical - so inconsiderate.

[to a poacher caught in a mantrap]
The Duke: Hoskins is now going to thrash you; then he'll let you go. Let this be a lesson to you not to poach on my land.


Mr Elliot: Even my lamented master, the great Mr Benny himself, never had the privilege of hanging a duke. What a finale to a lifetime in the public service!
Prison Governor: Finale?
Mr Elliot: Yes, I intend to retire. After using the silken rope... never again be content with hemp.

Sibella Holland: [sobs] Oh Louis! I don't want to marry Lionel!
Louis: Why not?
Sibella: He's so dull.
Louis: I must admit he exhibits the most extraordinary capacity for middle age that I've ever encountered in a young man of twenty-four.

Sibella: What would you say if she asked you about me?
Louis: I'd say that you were the perfect combination of imperfections. I'd say that your nose was just a little too short, your mouth just a little too wide. But yours was a face that a man could see in his dreams for the whole of his life. I'd say that you were vain, selfish, cruel, deceitful. I'd say that you were... Sibella.
Sibella: What a pretty speech.
Louis: I mean it.
Sibella: [seductively] Come and say it to me again.

Sibella: I've married the dullest man in London.
Louis: In England!
Sibella: In Europe!

[Last lines]
Tit Bits Reporter: Your grace. I represent the magazine Tit Bits by whom I'm commissioned to approach you for the publication rights of your memoirs.
'Louis : My memoirs? Oh, my memoirs. My memoirs. My memoirs!


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