Kind Hearts & Coronets Restoration in Cinemas
2019 marks a very special anniversary for film fans as it’s 70 years since the classic Ealing comedy “Kind Hearts & Coronets” was released.
Widely considered to be one of the best (if not THE best) of the Ealing comedies, “Kind Hearts & Coronets
” has undergone an extensive 4K restoration by the BFI
and will be released by Studiocanal on Blu-ray on the 24th of June.
Before the Blu-ray release, there will be the chance for film buffs to see the classic comedy in cinemas when it’s screened across the country from the 7th of June onwards.
Ealing studios had released comedies previously, such as “Hue & Cry” in 1947, but their prolific output in 1949 was a boom period for the studios, with critical and commercial success.
Produced under the stewardship of Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios, “Kind Hearts & Coronets
” was one of the most popular films of 1949 and, along with “Whisky Galore!
”, and “Passport to Pimlico
”, all released in the same year within the space of two months, helped to firmly establish the Ealing Comedies
as a British cinematic institution.
Regarded by many as the finest Ealing comedy, “Kind Hearts & Coronets” sees Dennis Price’s disowned character Louis Mazzini plot to kill off the entire D’Ascoyne family so he can inherit the dukedom.
Starring Alec Guinness as all nine members of the D’Ascoyne family who stand in the way of Dennis Price’s goal, the film sees Louis Mazzini torn between the affections of Edith D’Ascoyne, played by Valerie Hobson, and his childhood friend Sibella, portrayed by Joan Greenwood.
The Blu-ray features many extras including an essay by writer & broadcaster Matthew Sweet
(who presents Radio 3’s marvellous “Sound of Cinema
“), on the differences he uncovered in the archives between the original draft screenplay and the final film. Names, scenes, whole acts, and altogether more vicious deaths were expunged from the initial screenplay by the time it was filmed, perhaps in part due to the American censors response.
As well as the Blu-ray extra, Matthew Sweet wrote about the rediscovered draft and some of the screenplays’s differences in yesterday’s Telegraph, including death by swan moat.
The Collector’s Edition of the film will include the restored “Kind Hearts & Coronets” on Blu-ray, a DVD plus booklet, art cards and a new theatrical poster. A brand new featurette called “Once More with Ealing” includes interviews with filmmakers Whit Stillman, Paul King, Stephen Woolley and critic Peter Bradshaw discussing their love for Ealing; the film will have an optional audio commentary with Terence Davies, Peter Bradshaw and Matthew Guinness; the alternate American ending with commentary; as well as John Landis intro; BFI’s Introducing Ealing Studios; plus stills galleries of behind the scenes and costumes.
The 35mm nitrate original negative of “Kind Hearts & Coronets” from the Studiocanal archives was scanned in 4K resolution by the BFI
archive, after which the resulting files were sent for restoration and colour grading. Extensive manual correction was carried out on a frame by frame basis to fix large dirt debris, warping, tears, scuffs and scratches.
To illustrate the change in audience expectations, it’s of interest to note that the film originally warranted an “A” classification upon its 1949 release (for Adults only) whereas the reissue will be “U” (universally suitable for all ages).
The Collector’s Edition is currently available to pre-order via Amazon and there’ll be the opportunity to see the 4K restoration before then on the big screen, as Ealing Studios and the film’s director Robert Hamer originally intended.
Initially opening on the screens listed below from the 7th of June, the film will continue to roll out to additional cinemas nationwide so check your local listings to see when it comes to your area.
Tivoli in Bath; Everyman in Altrincham, Barnet, Chelmsford, Crystal Palace, Esher, Harrogate, Kings Cross, Leeds, Liverpool, Muswell Hill, Newcastle Under Lyme, Stratford On Avon, & York; Vue Cinemas in Basingstoke, Bicester, Bristol Cribbs Causeway, Camberley, Cheshire Oaks, Doncaster, Farnborough, Newbury, Newcastle Under Lyme, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Southport, Staines, Stroud, Watford, & York; Broadway in Nottingham; Olympic Studios in Barnes; Film Theatre in Glasgow; Rio in Dalston; Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle Upon Tyne; Picturehouse in Central London; and Phoenix in East Finchley.
“Kind Hearts & Coronets” opened at the Leicester Square Odeon cinema in London on the 23rd of June 1949, coincidentally enough on Dennis Price’s birthday, so it’s most appropriate that the new restoration will be released on the 24th this month, the closest working day, 70 years on.
Art & Hue had the pleasure to delve into the archives for the Ealing Comedy “Kind Hearts & Coronets” to create stylish pop art prints of Joan Greenwood & Dennis Price, available in three sizes and 18 colours, as part of the Ealing comedies collection.
Also featuring British cinema icons such as Stanley Holloway, Alastair Sim, David Niven, Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, John Gregson, and more, discover the Ealing Comedies pop art collection here.