Sunday, October 28, 2012

215. Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and Coronets
Directed by Robert Hamer

I absolutely love British culture and one dream of mine is to one day live in London.  However, if there is one thing I struggle with, it is British humor.  There are plenty of British comedians I like but man, there is something about those British sitcoms that make me agree with this spoof:
I have been told that Americans just don't appreciate irony.  Either that or we don't think men dressed as women is as funny as they do.  I mean, they REALLY think that gag is hilarious.  In this movie, watching Obi Wan Kenobi dressed as a woman hurt the nerd center of my brain.

This film is about a guy who kills all his relatives for inheritance.  Apparently, this is also supposed to be hilarious.  It is not even that I didn't think their jokes were funny; I couldn't even identify the jokes.  Another thing people say about Americans: we have to be told when you are joking all the time.  I really don't think it is one group not understanding another; just a difference in culture.

Anyway, I really don't get this murder is funny concept.  Movies like Monsieur Verdoux, Arsenic and Old Lace, and this are baffling to me.  Now not only are experimental movies going over my head but comedies as well.  I think I am getting stupider.  Or less patient.  Take your pick.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Rated #6 on BFI's top 100.

Alec Guinness played eight roles.  Oh, the shame.

Guinness almost died in the boat sinking scene.


  1. I actually really enjoyed this movie! I thought the main guy was funny and interesting, and I was absorbed in the story. Like a better Monsieur Verdoux!

  2. Hi Rachel.. doing, yet again, your wonderful 'a gem from the vaults' trick.
    With you.. I love this one as well.
    For me, it is no great acheivement to excell M. Verdoux, but this has done so by .. large distances.
    Amanda.. I have to agree with you that far too much British comedy can make far too much of having a bloke dress as a woman. At the moment there is some some real crap, based purely on that one, cheap laugh, concept .. and it is just not funny. A lot of it is also offensive.. but this one is from well before that
    Of the parts Sir Alex plays, only one is female.. and I feel that if thefilm makers had skipped having a female victim it would have stuck out as being rather obvious. The portrayal of .. I forget her name... the female baloonist .. was done well, with no snikering or inuendo. The stire (of her early feminism) was no stronger, condemnatory or crueler than the satire on all the other members of the family.
    So, sorry, a bit of a disagree with you on this one....

    1. You mean Mrs Brown's Boys, right?

      I've been out of the UK for nine years now, but constantly hear friends from home despair about what an awful programme it is.

    2. Got it in one dessie. I've only seen trailers, and cringe...

  3. I am struggling to remember this one a bit. I can understand why you guys like this one. Maybe I will give it another try.

  4. I agree that this movie is not that funny. I was also looking for the jokes, finding them few and far between. What a shame. I generally like the Ealing comedies and Alec Guiness in particular, but this one just did not make it.
    Despite this I am actually a fan of British humor. If you ever get the chance check out "the Young Ones". That, sadly far too short series, is ridiculusly funny.

  5. I feel the need to come back and defend again ...
    This, and others like it are not 'funny' as in laugh out loud, roll about the floor in pain funny. Amanda, to quote you "..Apparently, this is also supposed to be hilarious" .. No, it's not meant to be 'hilarious' (and I agree, it certainly isn't) .. its quiet dry humor. it is intended to bring a small wry smile to the face, not a belly laugh. A gentle smile is not a failed laugh .. it's a different type of humour. TS .. you are right, there are no 'jokes' .. there are no gags, snappy reposts etc, it's not meant to have them, so sorry, looking for them will lead to disappointment.
    Yes, I see your point that perhaps mass murder isn't funny, but the murder 'plot' is just there as a device to put a context for the class satire.
    So sorry to disagree..lets mot fall out .. agreeing is nicer, especially in these fractious times.. so let's try and end by all of agreeing that none of us really liked Monsieur Verdoux .. is that OK with all of us?

  6. I am afraid you guys are getting the impression my type of humor is more akin to Adam Sandler/Meet the Parents esque comedy. It's really not and I hope that is translating. I don't remember this one very well, though, so I can't really comment.

  7. Oh Amanda, I'd never be that rude to you...if you felt I was.. I grovel in apology ...

  8. I thought this was very good

    Punchline-based comedy is fine, but it is a sugar hit taste when very often subtle savoury flavours can be far more satisfying. This is a gentle, wry style which occasionally triggers a belly laugh when some off-the-cuff remark happens to tickle your funny bone. Much better to carry over the course of a 100-minute movie.

    Quite separate to that is why we Brits find men dressing as women so funny. As Ray said, it probably would have looked odd not to include a female family member here and she was a minor role, but we do have a long comedic tradition of it. Is it to do with our emotional and sexual repression that such a thing stands out as so silly?

    For many years I've known the line "I shot an arrow in the air, she fell to Earth in Berkeley Square". Such a joy to finally see the film and hear it delivered. It sounded even better than I dared dream it would do.