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238 of 239 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2009
This review is based only on the movie A Hazard of the Heart (or Hazards of the Heart) which I found in our local library. (I didn't see the second movie, but other reviewers mention that one being "trash.")

It's been a while since I've seen a movie I liked as well as this one. (I'm a fan of some of the Masterpiece Theatre classics, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, etc.) This movie was made in the late 1980's. The setting is 1800's England.

Central to the movie was a sweet romance (just tender looks, hand holding, and kissing scenes similar to Pride and Prejudice).

The icing on the cake for me included villains, "haunted" and extraordinarily beautiful mansions, breath-taking English countrysides (often experienced via horseback), magnificent paintings and period dress, sword fights and a duel, hidden passageways, surprises, and decent acting (Helena Bonham Carter, in the lead, has a gift for expressing what she is feeling, without any words). Like Pride and Prejudice, the story even includes a big dog (a Great Dane, I think).

The male lead, introducing handsome Marcus Gilbert, was extremely good.

The supporting cast were favorites --Christopher Plummer, Diana Rigg, (as the villain mother), and Stewart Granger (as the lovable father).

The story begins when a father (played by Plummer) gambles away everything he possesses, including his daughter (played by Bonham Carter) and her dowry, to a sinister character named Lord Ruten (sp?) (played by Edward Fox).

Tables are turned when handsome Lord Vulcan (played by Gilbert), issues a challenge. With one shake of the dice, Lord Vulcan takes possession of all that Lord Ruten has just won, rescuing the poor daughter, at least momentarily, from Lord Ruten's evil intentions. At first, Vulcan is suspect as being a heartless womanizer, but a different side emerges as the movie progresses. Serena (Bonham Carter's character) seems to bring out the best in him.

Hazard of Hearts is about as innocent as a romance comes, but there were a few violent scenes (though not very realistic, there were murders via sword, and one unscene suicide). There is also a scene when Lord Ruten kidnaps Serena and attempts to molest her in a moving carriage (though the intensity is lightened somewhat and some humor emerges when she gets rescued by a kind robber).

My husband, who's not much of a movie buff, especially enjoyed the music and the swordfighting.

If you want to read more about the movie, check out the rave reviews the Brits have given it on Amazon's English site.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
I saw this movie approximately 1000 times as a child. That's not hyperbole. "A Hazard of Hearts" is my Mom's favorite movie and when I was a child we watched it nearly every day. I'm watching it right now, and I'm not remotely bored. We sit around and recite huge patches of the dialogue, laughing at the silliness and sighing over the romance.

Written by Barbara Cartland but differing strongly from the novel, "A Hazard of Hearts" charts the misadventures of spunky, intelligent Miss Staverly, played with radiant adorableness by a very young Helena Bonham Carter. As we open our story Miss Staverly's Papa is busy gambling away her home and her hand in marriage (her maid Eudora senses "something wrong"). Only a throw of the dice saves her from marriage to the dastardly Lord Rutum (Mr. Fox, in one of the most loathsome villainous turns I can think of), but out of the frying pan into the fire--she finds herself won by the forbidding yet handsome, mysterious yet romantic Lord Vulcan (what a name), and he dispatches her off to his magnificent yet creepy mansion (Secret passageways! Underground tunnels! A hidden casino! An ever-growing stockpile of bodies in their own personal cave!) to be watched over by his not entirely sane and definitely ruthless Mother, played by Diana Rigg, in the performance of her career (Favorite Lady Vulcan scene: stabbing a smuggler while sporting an enormous pink satin bow on her head. Even by Rigg's standards, a watershed moment.).

This film is chock full of character actors and screen legends (Stewart Granger! Christopher Plummer!), the costumes are elegant and ever so slightly wacky (I love the loopy, mud-splattered hat Serena sports on her frantic ride to Justin's side), and the plot at once clichéd ridden and utterly original. Few scripts have such an abundance of quotable lines: "Shall I make you fall in love with me, Serena?" "I am familiar with Lord Rutum. Among other things, he murdered my father." "Ten thousand guineas. That's your price for selling one of my guests out of my house--to a lecher." (True Anecdote: My Mom and my sister were shoe shopping, and in the dressing room started to argue over pair of shoes my sister wanted. My Mom began to recite Lord Vulcan's speech to his mother: "It's not enough for you, is it? Still, it's not enough. You want more, more, more! You're INSANE with greed!" Brought their fellow shoppers to a gaping standstill.)

From the elegant sitting rooms of Staverly Place to the twisted corridors of Mandrake ("Mandrake may be your mistress, but it is not my master!"), from precariously riding side-saddle on Thunder Bolt ("Your epic ride to my rescue is already being proclaimed in every club in London") to hitching a ride with resident Highwayman The Joker ("I don't steal from pretty young ladies"), this gem is sure to give you many a rainy night's blissful entertainment. An absolute must for fans of goof-tastic cinema, and a beloved childhood favorite, rating:

GRADE: A+
(Note: "Lady Hamilton", the other film on this low-end, bare-bones DVD, is not reviewed here, because other Amazon reviewers lived through that pain for us. We salute you!)
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2010
Even though the filming is old, the love story is very good and I loved the actors. Plus it is refreshing to see a movie with a love story that is sweet and innocent and not passionately portrayed. I would love to see this redone someday.
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2007
Hazard of Hearts is a decent storyline and good acting and plot. It is the second movie "Lady Hamilton" that draw the rating down -- way way down if it were to be evaluated by itself. Imagine 1960's Italian dubbed filming, fuzzy-edged picture. The lead female character is supposed to be irresistible to everyone--with her fake hair and really thick eyeliner--even to the female monarch. The other characters -- well, I was reminded of "Hercules" with Steve Reeves from whatever timeframe that was. If you pay $5 for the package, just ignore the second film and enjoy the first. Romance in the Barbara Carland style.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 27, 2009
This review is for "A Hazard of Hearts" only (the other movie I have not seen). I got it out of Netflix because Helena Bonham Carter is one of my favorite actresses --she combines spunk, spirit, class, and sex appeal in one fiery little package (Tim Burton is a lucky man!).

<spoilers>

"A Hazard of Hearts" strikes me as a classic Gothic romance, the sort of story that you'd see in the bookstore next to the Harlequin romances featuring a young heroine on the grounds of a gloomy castle, being watched from a balcony by a handsome, brooding "Darcy-esque" young man.

Helena Bonham Carter plays Serena,the daughter of a nobleman who commits suicide after losing her in a reckless wager to a lecherous peer (played by Edward Fox). Her virtue is saved by Justin, a mysterious but handsome young peer. But he professes indifference to Serena. Will Justin and Serena fall in love? Will the evil peer triumph? What do you think? "Hazard of Hearts" is hardly an unpredictable movie, but it is quite fun to watch and the acting impeccable and the production values quite high.

As for Bonham Carter's performance, it was quite good, and an indicator of even better work lying ahead for her. The only thing that works slightly against her is the fact that she doesn't really look her age at the time (21). There are moments in the film, where I would have guessed her to be in her mid-teens. Given the actor paired with her does look his age (29), they seem a bit mismatched..it would have been smart to have paired her with a younger looking male lead...I think if they had done that, the word "jailbait" might not have popped up in my mind when I saw them embrace).

Also, I thought the score was a bit overdone, but that might have been intentional.

But "A Hazard of Hearts" is good fun nonetheless.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I watched "A Hazard of Hearts", and it was alright, but not the best film quality.

I started watching "Lady Hamilton" (same film quality), but when I saw the part where she's going to take a dip in the pond, to clean up, I turned it off. I really don't see the necessity for filming naked people... guess I'm so used to the classics, where they didn't need to spell things out for adults.

I know that a lot of adults don't mind nudity in a film (so, PLEASE, I don't need your opinion of my not liking it).

As for myself (and others who share my opinion on anti-nudity in films), I do wish Amazon would start letting their customers know what a film consists of (especially the BBC movies, which never show a rating).
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Hazard of Hearts is a bit on the boring side. It appears to be a made for television cheesy romance movie with lack of depth. It was very predictable. Lady Hamilton is absolute trash. I don't know where the movie was made but there is some nudity and the story line is such a farce.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2010
I saw this movie when I was in my teens. I read the book first and I never read any romance novels. I was above that My mother insisted that I should read it. I liked it and when I heard it was going to be on television. I watched it with my mother and had to admit that I liked it. So of course I was looking for this on VHS and could never find it. So when I found out that Amazon had the DVD for sale I of course I had to purchase it.

It didn't make a romance novel fan nor did I ever read anything by Barbara Cartland either. But this book and movie I will make an exception.

However Lady Hamilton was too old to watch and in bad quality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
The movie Hazard of hearts is one of the best movies If you like BBC love movies. On the other hand Lady Hamilton was a B rated movie and was not of my liking at all.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
I was expecting Merchant Ivory and got Hustler! Except for the usual classy performance of Bonham Carter who makes the best of a bad role in "Hazard of Hearts", both films are tacky and "sexploitive". "Lady Hamilton" is pretty much soft porn, even badly filmed. Can't decide whether to toss this thing in the trash or donate it to Goodwill. A thorough disappointment and a waste of time and money (unless, of course, you like that sort of thing!).
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