Inspired by a novel penned by Barbara Cartland, A Hazard of Hearts is sure to remind you of period dramas like The Lady and the Highwayman.

A Hazard of Hearts (1987) Film Review

Headstrong and determined, young Serena Staverley (Helena Bonham Carter) doesn’t have the luxury of being demure and happy. Her father (Christopher Plummer) is a gambler who doesn’t know when to stop which forces Serena to take on the difficult challenge of being her father’s keeper. With the sinister Lord Harry Wrotham (Edward Fox) circling Serena as his bride, she becomes a pawn in a dice game when her father bets not just his estate but Serena’s hand in marriage.

Having compassion for a girl he’s never met, the mysterious Lord Justin Vulcan (Marcus Gilbert) plays against Wrotham to win the girl, and beats him. When Sir Staverley commits suicide, he leaves Serena unprotected until Lord Vulcan takes her into his protection which could end up being far more dangerous under the same roof as the schemes of his mother Lady Harriet Vulcan (Diana Rigg).


‘A HAZARD OF HEARTS’: A DELICIOUSLY DRAMATIC PERIOD DRAMA. #HelenaBonhamCarter stars in this 80s #PeriodDrama. #Romance Click To Tweet
‘A HAZARD OF HEARTS’: A DELICIOUSLY DRAMATIC PERIOD DRAMA. A review of the 1980s Helena Bonham Carter period drama. Text © Rissi JC

One of five or so productions based on a novel by Cartland, this period drama is very much on brand with the dramas you’ll see from the 80s. Whether it was a Jane Austen production or something like the corny Hugh Grant romance The Lady and the Highwayman, which is also an adaptation of Cartland’s, this is a drama with familiar looks. Speaking of some of those productions, this film is teeming with many a familiar face featuring in some of the aforementioned productions. a hazard of hearts

Helena Bonham Carter went on star in many period dramas of course, but in this you’ll also see famous stars like Anna Massey and Eileen Atkins, plus an appearance by Stewart Granger. This helps to soften the blow of the over dramatics of the era. They all turn in splendid performances and I love that Helena plays her character with sass and spunk. It’s a slight departure from many female leads of this era and as a result, Serena is memorable.

The romance doesn’t get fleshed out, but of course, there is some still and it makes us curious about more. The film has everything. Action and duals, danger and romance, and of course, there’s a pretty ballroom scene, too. While not something I will likely scramble to watch again as I do Jane Austen movies or other period dramas, A Hazard of Hearts is something I may see again someday. It’s a melodramatic romance that does entertain.

You can stream A Hazard of Hearts digitally on Freevee at publication


‘A HAZARD OF HEARTS’: A DELICIOUSLY DRAMATIC PERIOD DRAMA. A review of the 1980s Helena Bonham Carter period drama. Text © Rissi JC

Content: a woman is discussed as something a man wants in a sinister way. She’s also the subject of a bet. A man makes advances on a woman she doesn’t want (he forces her backwards in a carriage and rips her gown). Later another man is a bit rough when he believes someone has done something dishonorable. There is a sword fight or two, and someone chases a woman around threatening her. Two different people receive gunshot and stab wounds. A Hazard of Hearts is TV-14.

Photos: CBS / Gainsborough Pictures

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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