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sports of blood

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Better than yesterday.

Got home last night, after the gym, and watched Kind Hearts and Coronets, which I taped a few days ago, and felt a lot better after that. It’s rightly hailed as a masterpiece, and I was amazed to see that it was only Alec Guinness’ second starring role, after his breakthrough as Fagin in Oliver Twist. Here he gets to die eight times (though not all on screen), since he plays all eight members of the ducal clan targeted by an upwardly mobile black sheep.

I wasn’t prepared for just how nasty some of the killings were. The villain, played coolly by Dennis Price, starts off modestly by sending one family member over a weir with his mistress: “I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death.” Then there was the suffragette who made the mistake of taking to a balloon over London to distribute leaflets: “I shot an arrow in the air; she fell to earth in Berkeley Square.” Not all the murders are cute and witty; the last, of the reigning duke, would not have been out of place in Get Carter. (The original, not the remake). “The next morning I went out shooting with Ethelred – or rather, to watch Ethelred shooting; for my principles will not allow me to take a direct part in blood sports.” You what?

The writers save the best till last, though, with a couple of twists in the tale that I won’t even begin to explain here, and an ending which leaves us to fill in the details. An excellent tutorial in pacing for budding filmmakers, too. Recommended.


Written by brian t

September 4, 2002 at 5:32 pm

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