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  Thief of Hearts Dear Diary
Year: 1984
Director: Douglas Day Stewart
Stars: Steven Bauer, Barbara Williams, John Getz, David Caruso, Christine Ebersole, George Wendt, Alan North, Romy Windsor
Genre: Thriller, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mickey Davis (Barbara Williams) is being taken out for dinner by her writer husband Ray (John Getz) to celebrate their anniversary, but do not realise someone is keeping a watch on their movements. So when they arrive at the restaurant, they are greeted by the valet (David Caruso), not knowing he is Buddy Calamara, a criminal actually in cahoots with a burglar who is at their house right now. He is Scott Muller (Steven Bauer), and as he breaks in he becomes entranced by the sight of the paintings and photographs of Mickey on the wall - then he finds her diaries.

On paper, this seemed like a hit, being the film the blockbusting production team of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer made between Flashdance and Beverly Hills Cop, and the next script writer and director Douglas Day Stewart had written after the huge success of An Officer and a Gentleman. Yet it didn't quite work out that way, and a cult following was all it could muster mainly among women who responded to its safe sexual fantasy plotting. This was a little dodgy considering what that plot comprised of, which these days would be regarded as a woman falling for her stalker, but any resemblance between this and the real world was glancing at best.

That's Thief of Hearts, and not Thief of Farts as you may have misheard, in effect the title character only stealing one person's affections, and that's Mickey's. Her marriage is at the stage where they're both getting if not bored with each other, then used to each other as the surprise has gone out of their relationship, so when this mysterious stranger introduces himself to her under the impression he's wanting Mickey to use her interior design skills on his apartment, she finds it hard to admit she is drawn to him. That's because Scott has pored over her diaries and knows how she ticks, so although he's a smooth and subtle operator, he's well aware of what he wants and how to get it (of course, from these producers it includes the lusty charge of handling a firearm).

If this had been made about five years later, then it would have likely been fodder for the straight to video market and had included a load more sex scenes; as it was, there was just one here between Mickey and Scott, but that was enough to set certain pulses racing. It could be the notion of this handsome man, slightly dangerous, discovering a lady's inner secrets and liking what he sees to the extent of pursuing her in the guise of her ideal sexual wish-fulfilment figure that appealed to its target audience, yet it wasn't only the way in which the story trudged along in heavily predictable fashion that made this hard to take, it was that Scott should be so attractive when he's actually pretty unbalanced and potentially abusive into the bargain which rankled.

As if fooling Mickey wasn't bad enough, but he would like her pleasant but slightly dull husband out of the way as well. There was a thriller theme to this as well as the dark romance, so Buddy (that hair!) turns out to be even more of a psychopath than his best friend, killing a policeman when out on another burglary, though to Scott this is more of an annoyance than anything triggering soul searching. George Wendt also showed up as Ray's best friend and voice of reason as he begins to investigate who this client of his wife's really is, leading up to a denouement where the reset button is hit, though not before Mickey has learned a valuable lesson about her desires, and what she really wants out of life. What has Scott learned? Absolutely zilch, judging by those final scenes, whose big reveal of him as the jerk many less enamoured viewers might have twigged early on had no effect on the movie's fans who still wanted Scott to seduce them. And how did he get those huge pictures back to his apartment on his own anyway? Music by Harold Faltermeyer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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