Movies Based on Romance Novels, Part I: Barbara Cartland

barbara cartland movies

Old School Romance Novels on the Big (and Small) Screen

hazard of hearts

Considering the many romance novels written in the 20th century, particularly the last quarter of it, it’s surprising how rarely they were adapted to the screen.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss had been in talks with studios to have Shanna released on film, but negotiations fell through. Most adaptations were small-budget numbers released on television.

The 21st century has been markedly different. Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, Outlander, and the Bridgerton series are popular now. Francine RiversRedeeming Love was recently released as a film.

But notwithstanding some miniseries based on Jackie Collins & Danielle Steel–authors who wrote romantic fiction, necessarily romance–rare was it for romance novels to be put on the screen, big or small.

Barbara Cartland Romances on Film

barbara cartland
Barbara Cartland

One exception is Barbara Cartland. Cartland had a series of movies based on her novels filmed for television. They came out in the 1970s to the 1990s. Most are even available to watch on YouTube.

The Flame Is Love by Barbara Cartland (1979)

The Flame Is Love starred Timothy Dalton. I didn’t see this one. But I should!

IMDB Summary: 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!

IMDB Summary: 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?

Anyway, I liked this one.

IMDB Summary: 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. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full version of A Ghost in Monte Carlo.

IMDB Summary: 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.

Wikipedia Summary: An incognito lady (Alison Doody) helps a lord (Benedict Taylor) framed for murder by his greedy cousin (Michael York) in 1820s London.

Your Opinion

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 screen?

Please, drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

4 thoughts on “Movies Based on Romance Novels, Part I: Barbara Cartland

      1. arkansasannie

        Thanks, Jacqueline. Except for “Duel.of Hearts”, I’ve seen all these movies. Though it’s been a while.

        IMHO the best Barbara Cartland screen adaptation is easily “The Lady and the Highwayman”. A lively romance full of swashbuckling adventure and high drama. And it takes place in Restoration England, a colorful setting that isn’t used enough.

        Reply

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