A professional burglar (Steven Bauer, Primal Fear) who robs upper class houses accidentally steals a married woman’s (Barbara Williams, Watchers) secret diary. After reading the diary, the thief becomes obsessed with the woman’s intimate thoughts. Things get complicated even further when he decides to seduce the woman using his newly acquired knowledge of her secret sexual fantasies.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Thief of Hearts is a slick, contemporary romantic drama that was considered risqué back in 1984 when it was first released in movie theaters, but it looks awfully familiar by now.
First time director Douglas Day Stewart, who wrote the screenplay for An Officer an a Gentleman, tries his very best, and the film is certainly well-directed and acted, with good work by Bauer and Williams in the leading roles. Unfortunately, the film starts losing steam halfway through, when the story enters soap opera territory. Despite some dated moments, and a third act that doesn’t ring true, Thief of Hearts is enjoyable for the most part. I’m sure fans of romantic melodramas will enjoy it, while more cynical viewers probably will find a lot to complain about.
The film’s commercial and critical failure seriously damaged the career of many of the artists involved in the production of the film. Cuban actor Bauer first gained popularity next to Al Pacino in Brian De Palma’s Scarface. Thief of Hearts was his first starring role in a major Hollywood film, but the experience did nothing to advance his career. Despite good looks and talent, this film sent him in a downward spiral that he has yet to recover from.
Williams didn’t fare any better, and now she is seen mostly sporadically in TV movies. Director Stewart suffered the most, never again achieving the success of his earlier back-to-back mega-hits The Blue Lagoon and An Officer and a Gentleman. This is all too bad since Thief of Hearts is well-crafted and entertaining.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Thief of Hearts is not a bad selection for a rainy night. The neo-noir atmosphere (nice job by cameraman Andrew Laszlo, First Blood and The Warriors) and pulsating, catchy 1980s rock music soundtrack (original music by Harold Faltermeyer), are big pluses. Also starring David Caruso (Jade), John Getz (Blood Simple), and George Wendt (House). Color, 100 minutes, Rated R.