THE EXCELLENT EIGHTIES: Hazard of Hearts (1987)

Yes, along with The Lady and the Highwayman, this Mill Creek has not one but two John Hough made for TV movies. Hough is an interesting director who made perhaps my favorite late model Hammer movie (Twins of Evil), one of the best car movies of all time (Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry), several fun Disney movies (the Witch Mountain films, The Watcher In the Woods), some out there slashers (American Gothic and Incubus), a few sequels (The Triumphs of a Man Called Horse and Howling IV: The Original Nightmare) and even executive produced a really insightful wrestling documentary (The Backyard).

This bodice ripper, based on the book by Barbara Cartland, starts with Sir Giles Staverley (Christopher Plummer) being tricked into gambling away not only his home but his daughter to Lord Harry Wrotham (Edward Fox, M in Never Say Never Again). He becomes so distraught over what he has done to his daughter Serena (Helena Bonham Carter in one of her first big movies) he kills himself.

However, Lord Justin Vulcan (Marcus Gilbery, who is also in Hough’s Biggles) wins everything from Wrotham yet has no idea what to do with the house and the girl. His mother, Lady Harriet Vulcan (Diana Rigg!) wants her far away from her son and their ancestral home of Mandrake, so all manner of upper crust intrigue follows.

Originally airing on December 27, 1987 on CBS, there are also roles here for Stewart Granger (The Wild Geese), Fiona Fullerton (A View to a Kill), Neil Dickson (who was also in Biggles, an HBO afternoon movie that I really need to get to), Anna Massey (Peeping Tom), Eileen Atkins (Sister Albana from I Don’t Want to Be Born), Gareth Hunt (who is in Hough’s Lady and the Highwayman) and Robert Addie (Mordred in Excalibur).

Eurospy fans will be pleased that two Bond girls (Fullerton and Rigg) show up here, while noting that both Rigg and Hunt played roles on The Avengers (she was, of course, Emma Peel while he played Mike Gambit on The New Avengers).

You can watch this on YouTube.

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