Movie adaptations of Barbara Cartland’s romances found their way onto the screen from the 1970s to the 1990s, with some adaptations available on YouTube.
Old School Romance Novels on the Big (and Small) Screen
Barbara Cartland might not be the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of popular romantic films from the past. It’s surprising that despite the numerous romance novels written in the 20th century, especially in the last quarter, they were rarely adapted for the screen.
The 21st century has been markedly different. Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, Outlander, and the Bridgerton series are all popular now. Francine Rivers‘ Redeeming Love was recently released as a film.
Romance novels were rarely adapted for the screen, except for miniseries based on authors such as Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel, who generally wrote romantic fiction, not romance.
Barbara Cartland Romances on Film
One exception is Dame Barbara Cartland. Cartland, the very prolific British romance novelist, wrote over 700 books, most of them romance. She sold over 750 million copies worldwide.
Cartland had a few of her romance novels adapted into a series of made-for-television movies from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Although several decades have passed since their release, a selection of these movies is still available on YouTube.
The Flame Is Love by Barbara Cartland (1979)
The Flame Is Love starred Timothy Dalton. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but it sounds like a blast. It’s in my To-Watch queue.
Linda Purl is a turn-of-the-century American heiress who, while en route to her betrothal to an English Duke (Timothy Dalton), encounters love and intrigue in the arms of a French journalist (Shane Briant).
A Hazard of Hearts by Barbara Cartland (1987)
I recall seeing A Hazard of Hearts on TNT back in the early 1990s. This is memorable for starring a young Helena Bonham-Carter.
I LOVED this one. The hero was to die for! And Diana Rigg, as the evil mother-in-law, was divine!
When compulsive gambler Sir Giles Staverley (Christopher Plummer) has lost his estate and all of his money playing dice, he realizes that he only has one thing left of value: his daughter Serena (Helena Bonham Carter).
The Lady and the Highwayman by Barbara Cartland (1988)
This one stars Lysette Anthony in the heroine’s role. Remember her from the incredibly underrated 1991 reboot of Dark Shadows as Angelique?
Also, check out a young Hugh Grant as the highwayman. Hubba-hubba.
Anyway, I liked this one.
A swashbuckling tale of romance, betrayal, jealousy, banditry, murder, and court intrigue set in the 1660s during the Restoration.
A Ghost in Monte Carlo by Barbara Hazard (1990)
Again, here is Lysette Anthony starring in another Cartland TV movie. The handsome hunk–Marcus Gilbert—is the hero in this one. That’s reason enough to watch.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full version of A Ghost in Monte Carlo.
Weary of her very public life in Paris, an aging courtesan takes her orphaned niece from her convent home and relocates to Monte Carlo.
Here’s a clip of the trailer.
Duel of Hearts by Barbara Cartland (1991)
The lovely Alison Doody from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the leading lady in the adaptation of A Duel of Hearts.
She and her handsome, blond leading man made a beautiful couple.
A lady posing incognito (Alison Doody) helps a lord (Benedict Taylor) framed for murder by his greedy cousin (Michael York) in 1820s London.
Have you seen any of these Barbara Cartland movies? You should. They’re pretty cheesy and enjoyable.
Do you wish more films based on romances had been filmed in the past? What books would you have liked to see make it to the screen?
Pleae, drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.
- A Duel of Hearts, IMDB
- The Flame Is Love, IMDB
- A Ghost in Montecarlo, IMDB
- A Hazard of Hearts, IMDB
- The Lady and the Highwayman, IMDB
- Literary Hub