Most helpful positive review
238 of 239 people found the following review helpful
Innocent romance and 1800's England, a great combination
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.