Director / Writer: Robert Hamer
Starring: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood, Hugh Griffith
Production Company: Ealing Studios, Michael Balcon Productions
Kent Locations: Leeds Castle, Harrietsham, Boughton Monchelsea
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) is based on the novel ‘Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal’ by Roy Horniman which tells the story of Louis Mazzini, an aristocrat descendent who sets out to murder eight D’Ascoynes family heirs in order to become the Duke.
The film has become a timeless classic, being regarded as one of best British films of all time. It has been included in both Time magazine and the BFI top 100 British films of all time.
Eight of the D’Ascoynes are played by the legendary Alec Guiness (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Star Wars) who are one by one murdered in a variety of ways from poisoning to drowning and even exploding.
Leeds Castle doubled as Chalfont Castle, the D’Ascoynes family home. Located on the outskirts of Maidstone, Leeds Castle was built as a Norman stronghold and became the home of royalty, including Henry VIII when he visited Kent. Surrounded by a mote and 500 acres of gardens, the Castle became a monument to the Tudor era and a popular tourist destination. It has also been used for productions such as Lady Jane (1987).
The film also shot outside The Cock Inn pub in Boughton Monchelsea village for the scene where Louis (Dennis Price (The Earth Dies Screaming, The Rebel) takes photos and meets Henry (Alec Guinness). The village is on the outskirts of Maidstone and contains an array of urban and rural land and historic features including a church built in 1100 and a 16th century manor house.
Harrietsham village was also used for the scene where Louis (Dennis Price) rides around the village. Harrietsham is a rural village to the east of Maidstone and has many Grade I listed buildings including The Old House and Saxon Church of St John the Baptist.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) was released on Monday 13th June 1949 and is now available on DVD.
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.