One of Alec Guinness’s most celebrated cinema turns is among his most theatrical. He dresses up as nine assorted members of the noble D’Ascoyne clan in Robert Hamer’s elegant, black-hearted comedy about a vengeful outcast relation (Dennis Price) ingeniously murdering his way through his kinfolk to inherit the family title. Guinness ups the fun by making some victims (like the doddery cleric or the harmless photographer) far more sympathetic than others (the general, or the suffragette), bringing a degree of complexity to our amusement at the numerous demises.

“A must-see, rarely shown, black-comedy classic not to be missed!” —

See filmmaker John Landis offer an appreciation of the film.

Archival print courtesy of the British Film Institute

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Robert Hamer
Running Time
106 minutes