Kind Hearts and Coronets [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English HOH
- Region: B (Region-Locked)
- Classification: U
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Running Time: 01:46:10
- Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 5, 2011
- RRP: £15.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
A cool stars Dennis Price alongside Alec Guinness in multiple roles as the members of the D’Ascoyne family in this dark comedy of manners from Ealing Studios. Price plays Louis Mazinni the scorned, outcast cousin of the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family. When Mazzini’s mother, a D’Ascoyne by birth, ran off with a lowly opera singer, she was ostracized from the family. This left her not even allowed to be buried in the family’s crypt – her last dying wish — upon her passing, an insult that Louis just wouldn’t stand for. The family pariah, little known to most of the D’Acoyne’s immediately plotting his revenge. In one of the most coolly-detached manners of any onscreen villains, Louis plots to bump off all the members of the D’Ascoyne family that stand in his way to attaining the coveted Dukedom. Meanwhile, his rise through the social ranks leaves him caught between the love of his married childhood sweetheart, the conniving Sibella (Joan Greenwood) and the equally beautiful yet innocent widow of one of his D’Ascoyne victims, Edith D’Ascoyne (Valerie Hobson).
The film lifts the curtain on the supposedly morally upstanding aristocracy and Victorian society on the whole through the behavior of Louis, his targets, and acquaintances. Kind Hearts and Coronets has it all – avarice, adultery, betrayal, suicide, and of course, murder. This is probably one of the finest dark comedies in British film history and it contains a first person narration that supposedly influenced Scorsese to do the same for his classic, Goodfellas.
‘Kind Hearts and Coronets was scanned at 2K on a Northlight 2 film scanner from the original 35mm negative elements and restored in High Definition. The picture was restored using Film Master D.V.O. Restoration tools and PFClean software systems, removing dirt, scratches, warps, torn or replacing torn or missing frames and improving stability issues.’
This is yet another marvelous restoration of an Ealing Studios film from Optimum/Studio Canal. The image looks quite clean with very little flicker and source damage and a great amount of contrast with deep blacks and rather lush, intricate detail in the luxuriant Victorian sets and costumes. There’s a good amount of grain still present in the AVC 1080p encodement as well, but it’s not too heavy.
The monaural soundtrack shows up in a straightforward LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) mix. It is clean and intelligible with a nice amount of fullness in the dialogue.
The audio commentary is rather friendly and amicable, but the best stuff here are the numerous audio and video featurettes plus, if you want to take a look, there’s also the less subtle American ending, specially made to get the film past the Hays code.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Audio Commentary with Peter Bradshaw, Terence Davies, and Matthew Guinness
- John Landis Introduction
- Dennis Price: Those British Faces (1.33:1; PAL; 00:25:52) – A tribute to Dennis Price.
- BBC Radio 3 Essay (Audio; 00:14:26) – BBC Radio 3 The Essay British Cinema of the 1940s Episode 4: Kind Hearts & Coronets, originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 16th September 2010. Presented by Simon Heffer.
- Alternative American Ending (1.37:1; PAL; 00:02:41)
- Restoration Comparison (1.37:1; 00:05:47) – A side-by-side comparison of various scenes from the film compares the original source to the restored master for this Blu-ray edition.
- Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery (1080p)
- Excerpts from BECTU Interview with Douglas Slocombe, Lighting Cameraman (Audio; 00:28:16) – Recorded 22nd November 1988, interviewer Sidney Cole.
- Trailer (1.37:1; 1080p/24)
The Definitive Word
A wonderfully acted film with the subtlest of comedic genius and social commentary, Kind Hearts and Coronets arrives on Blu-ray from Optimum/Studio Canal in a superb high definition rendering that isn’t to be missed.The restored edition of Kind Hearts and Coronets will also be hitting cinemas in the UK 19th August 2011 in anticipation of its release to Blu-ray and DVD.
Additional Screen Captures