A comic farce that should surprise anyone who knows Alec Guinness only as the sage Ben Kenobi of the early Star Wars films. Here he plays eight roles – all pitch-perfect exercises in dry humor. Indeed, Kind Hearts and Coronets is so dry you have to pay close attention to realize it’s actually a comedy. The ostensible star, Dennis Price, plays a duke’s distant relative who calculatedly murders each of the family members who stand between him and the title. Guinness portrays each victim, from the snobby young heir to the
stubborn, aging admiral to the grand dame fighting for women’s rights. This isn’t a broad parade of caricatures in the manner of Peter Sellers or Mike Myers, but rather a series of smartly nuanced portraits of a family clueless about its tragicomic fate.