A Hazard of HeartsPosted: September 19, 2011
I feel like I should ask my sister to write this review, but then again that might not be a good idea because she’s obsessed with this movie (TV movie, to be exact). It’s the start of my sister’s love for anything Regency, which I then got from her. I decided to review it since it’s not very well-known, even among costume drama buffs.
Anyway, A Hazard of Hearts is the adaptation of a Barbara Cartland novel. It stars a very young Helena Bonham-Carter (seeing her now, it’s hard to remember that she used to be quite the ingenue back then), Diana Rigg, Edward Fox and Marcus Gilbert (who sadly disappeared from the screen soon after, I think he’s strictly a theater actor now.)
The plot is very standard “Gothic romance” – plucky heroines, brooding heroes, scheming villains. Serena (Helena Bonham-Carter)’s father (played by Christopher Plummer, wonderful even in this short role) loses everything when he gambles against Lord Wrotham (Edward Fox), including his own daughter (he wagers her hand in marriage.) Lord Justin Vulcan (Marcus Gilbert) steps in to win back the money and the girl, but a tiny bit too late – Christopher Plummer (what’s his character’s name? Something Staverley) has killed himself. So now Justin is stuck with Serena, and social propriety dictates that they must marry, or at least he has to be responsible for her. Justin takes Serena back to his family mansion to put in the “care” of his mother (Diana Rigg), and all sorts of intrigues, duels and of course, romance, ensue.
Overall the movie is a bit cheesy but enjoyable. The cast is good; Diana Rigg and Edward Fox are especially fun to watch. Marcus Gilbert is not at all bad to look at (he’s how I always imagine St. John Rivers from Jane Eyre would look like), but you can tell he was more used to the stage than the camera, because his performance is a little stilted compared to the others’.
The look of the movie, though, is a bit dated (some of Diana Rigg’s costumes are so 80’s it hurts – as you can see.)
So check it out if you like a bit of light romantic costume drama. I certainly enjoy it. (I wouldn’t say the same for the novel though… unless you like the kind of romance novels with Fabio on the covers :P)
P/S: Since Downton Abbey won’t be aired in the US until January 2012 (congrats to the show for winning all those Emmy’s by the way. I’m especially happy for the director, Brian Percival), I might hold off the recap and try it on American shows first.