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A Hazard of Hearts is a made-for-television romantic film starring Helena Bonham Carter in one of her first major roles. Based on a novel by Barbara Cartland, it was released in 1987.

A Hazard of Hearts
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Based onA Hazard of Hearts
by Barbara Cartland
Written byBarbara Cartland (novel)
Terence Feely
Directed byJohn Hough
StarringDiana Rigg
Edward Fox
Helena Bonham Carter
Fiona Fullerton
Stewart Granger
Theme music composerLaurie Johnson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Albert Fennell
John Hough
CinematographyFrank Watts
Editor(s)Robert C. Dearberg
Running time90 minutes
DistributorGainsborough Pictures
Original networkCBS
Original release
  • 27¬†December¬†1987¬†(1987-12-27)


Compulsive gambler, Sir Giles Staverley, is tricked into gambling away his home by his old adversary Lord Harry Wrotham. As Staverley is distraught and desperate, Wrotham gives him one last chance - he will gamble everything Staverley has lost against Staverley's daughter's hand in marriage and her trust fund of 80,000 guineas. Staverley agrees and loses once again, but unable to face his daughter, Serena, he kills himself. Lord Justin Vulcan, a notoriously cool, clear-headed gambler, challenges Wrotham for the house and the girl and, much to Wrotham's disgust, wins. Justin now finds himself in possession of the house and Serena, but has no idea of what to do with them. After meeting Serena and realising that she is much younger and more attractive than he had imagined, he installs her as a guest at Mandrake, his family home, despite the opposition of Justin's mother, Lady Harriet Vulcan. As Lady Vulcan attempts to marry Serena off to anyone except her son, Serena and Justin become friends and he teaches her about Mandrake, the home he loves. A crisis forces Serena and Justin to confront their feelings for each other. Can the course of true love run smoothly for them?



The novel was published in 1949.[1]

"This was my first costume book" said Cartland, "so I put in everything - highwaymen, jewels, the kitchen stove."[2]

It was intended to be the first in a series of Cartland adaptations by producer Albert Fennell for CBS. He optioned the novels ten years earlier and tried to get finance but was unable to. His option lapsed and producer Ed Friendly made The Flame is Love for NBC, which Cartland did not enjoy ("it was frightfully badly cast"). She was involved in Hazard of Hearts from the beginning.[2]


  1. ^ Recent fiction. (9 April 1949). The Irish Times (1921-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. ^ a b ills, N. (4 September 1987). BARBARA CARTLAND NOVEL BECOMES FILM. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from

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