Kind Hearts And Coronets

Synopsis: In prison awaiting execution the next morning Louis, the 10th Duke of Chalfont, sets down on paper the events that led him to his current situation. His mother has been banished from her family, the D'Ascoynes, after she married Louis' father who was considered far beneath her. After her death, the D'Ascoynes refused permission for her to be buried in the family crypt. Louis then plots his revenge - and kills all those ahead of him in the succession until he becomes the Duke. Along the way, he becomes involved with the married Sibelia who, when spurned, makes sure he ends up in prison. The day before his execution Sibelia recants her testimony saving him not only from the gallows but also sets him free. Once outside the prison however, he realizes he's forgotten one little thing........
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Director(s): Robert Hamer
Production: Ealing Studios
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

- Evening, Mr. Elliott.

- Good evening.


- Just sign the book, if you will.

- Yes.

- Been keeping you busy, Mr. Elliott?

- Oh, just nicely.

Went up to Manchester on Monday-

a poisoner.

Baby-farmer at Holloway this morning.

Very ordinary crimes, both of them.

This one we've got for you tomorrow

is something special.

Yes, very much so.

Even after all my years

in the profession...

I'm quite looking forward to him.

- Well, I must be getting along.

- Good night, Mr. Elliott.

- Good night.

- Usual cup of tea at 7:00?

Oh, please.

Even my lamented master,

the great Mr. Berry himself...

never had the privilege

of hanging a duke.


What a finale to a lifetime

in the public service.

- "Finale"?

- Yes, I intend to retire.

After using the silken rope...

never again be content with hemp.

- Quite. Well, here we are.

- Oh, thank you.

How will he approach it?

I should think

as the calmest you've ever known.

Noblesse oblige, doubtless.

A difficult client can make things

most distressing.

Some of them tend

to be very hysterical.

So inconsiderate.

Well, Colonel, considering

the importance of the occasion...

I shall retire early.

The last execution of a duke in this country

was really badly bungled.

That was in the old days of the ax,

of course.


Oh, I - I almost forgot.

Um, you must forgive my ignorance...

but when we meet in the morning...

what is the correct form of address?

- Your Lordship?

- Your Grace.

Your Grace? Oh.

Thank you.

Good morning, Your Grace.

Good morning, Your Grace.

- All right. Sit down.

- Ah, good evening, Colonel. Glass of wine?

Good evening, Your Grace.

Uh, thank you, no.

I, uh - I called to inquire whether

you had any special wishes for breakfast.

Just coffee and a slice of toast, thank you.

Oh, and perhaps a few grapes.

I hate to disappoint

the newspaper-reading public...

but it'll be too early

for the conventional hearty breakfast.

The appointment is at 8:00,

is it not?

At 8:
00, uh, yes.

If I may venture to say so,

I am amazed at your calmness.

Dr. Johnson was, as always, right...

when he observed,

"Depend upon it, sir.

"When a man knows that he's going

to be hanged in a few hours...

it concentrates his mind wonderfully. "

Yes. Well, if there is nothing further

I can do for you -

Nothing. Thank you, Colonel.

We shall have the opportunity of making

our adieus in the morning, I presume.

I regret to say, yes.

- Good night, Your Grace.

- Good night, Colonel.

"A brief history

of the events leading thereto...

"written on the eve ofhis execution...

"by Louis D'Ascoyne Mazzini,

"who ventures to hope

that it may prove not uninteresting...

to those who remain to read it. "

My good man, it is not by my choice

that you keep me company.

If you wish to sleep, pray do me

the courtesy of sleeping quietly.

"With so little time

remaining to complete my story...

"it is difficult to choose

where to begin it.

Perhaps I should begin

at the beginning. "

I was a healthy baby,

born of an English mother and Italian father-

who succumbed to a heart attack

at the moment of first setting eyes on me.

In the circumstances, it will be understood

that I have but slight memory ofhim.

"The little I know comes from

what Mama told me. "

Your father was a very handsome man.

Mama was the daughter

She eloped with her handsome singer...

and exchanged the medieval splendors

for the modern conveniences

of number 73...

Balaclava Avenue, S. W.

They were poor,

but they had five happy and harmonious years...

before my arrival sent Papa

off tojoin the heavenly choir.

Reduced to even deeper poverty

by my father's death...

Mama swallowed her pride...

and made an effort at reconciliation

with her family.

They did not even reply to her letter.

In order to keep us both alive,

she was reduced...

to the horrible expedient

of taking in a lodger.

For him, she had to perform

the most menial tasks.

She felt that her family had conspired

to cheat me of my birthright...

and I passed

from infancy to childhood...

in an atmosphere

of family history and genealogies.

The dukedom had been bestowed...

by Charles II

on Colonel Henry D'Ascoyne...

for services rendered to His Majesty

during his exile.

Later, for services rendered

to His Majesty...

after his restoration by the duchess...

the title was granted

the unique privilege...

of descending by the female

as well as the male line.

- Louis.

- It was therefore theoretically possible...

that via Mama I might inherit the dukedom.

Mama scraped and saved...

and sent me to the best school

she could afford.

One little incident of my school days

occurs to me as amusing...

in relation to my present situation.

Lionel Holland.

What is the Sixth Commandment?

Come, come now.

Someone else then.

I know, please, Miss Waterman.

Louis Mazzini. Tell him.

- "Thou shalt not kill. "

- Quite right, Louis.

The Sixth Commandment is

"Thou shalt not kill. "

"No, in those days...

"I never had any trouble

with the Sixth Commandment.

As to the seventh, I was hardly of an age

to concern myself with it. "

Although I was old enough

to be in love.

So Sibella enters my story.

Sibella and her brother, Graham,

were my only close friends...

and we grew up together.

In their case, Mama relaxed her objection

to my associating with the local children.

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Robert Hamer

Robert James Hamer (31 March 1911 – 4 December 1963) was a British film director and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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