We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
Alec Guinness plays all the members of the aristocratic D'Ascoyne family in this pitch black British comedy
Rereleased in a new digital restoration by Optimum in August 2011.
The most sophisticated and blackest of the Ealing comedies, Hamer's immaculate, serial-killer romp gives the splendid Guinness the roles of a lifetime.
Price plays the vengeful Louis Mazzini, an aristocrat manque ruthlessly determined to get his own back on the d'Ascoyne family who drove his mother to an early grave, and deprived her and him of their rightful station in life. Starting out as a humble clerk in the d'Ascoyne family business, Louis resolves to kill each of the family members who stand between him and his unlikely accession to the dukedom of Chalfont.
In a remarkable portmanteau of performances, ranging from comic caricatures to rounded, touching characters, Guinness relishes his chance to show off, playing all eight doomed d'Ascoynes.
The story is told in flashback as Louis, on the eve of his execution for a murder that was, ironically, a suicide, reads through his own memoirs. The film is beautifully designed and shot, the script witty, sexy and supremely cynical. But after this, Hamer's life and career went into a terminal decline and he never again came close to matching this assured, brutally funny film.
British filmmaking at its best and most memorable, Kind Hearts And Coronets deserves its place in the heart of Ealing fans and cinephiles alike.
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