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icon-dots ESSENTIALS
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Often called the best of Ealing Studios’ comedies, this tale of murder and seduction, shown in a world premiere restoration, is justly revered for Alec Guinness’ amazing depiction of nine members of the same family. In one scene, he even appears as all six of them, a feat that took two days to shoot. Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe even spent the night in the studio to make sure no one touched the camera, which had to remain perfectly stationary throughout. His accomplishment shouldn’t overshadow the rest of the cast, however, particularly the members of one of the screen’s most delicious romantic triangles. Dennis Price co-stars as the heir to a disgraced line of the D’Ascoyne family, who sets out to kill the eight legitimate heirs (all played by Guinness) between him and the title. Along the way he romances the married Sibella (a very witty Joan Greenwood) and the widowed Edith (a delightfully innocent Valerie Hobson), trying to determine which should become the next Lady D’Ascoyne. Studio head Michael Balcon didn’t believe in the project and warned director Robert Hamer that it would lose money. Instead, it was a big hit and remains one of the studio’s most popular productions. Balcon even decided it was his favorite of all his films. (d. Robert Hamer, 106m, DCP)

The 35mm original nitrate negative was scanned in 4K resolution at 16bit by the BFI archive; extensive manual correction was carried out on a frame by frame basis by Silver Salt Restoration to remove debris, warping, tears, and scratches, with color correction by Senior Colorist Steve Bearman.  A StudioCanal Restoration.

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