Thief of Hearts (1984) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Thief of Hearts (1984) stars Steven Bauer, who, together with partner David Caruso, specializes in burglarizing homes of the rich, and is very good at what he does. When he hits the home of Barbara Williams, he gets more than he bargained for, as a locked chest contained her personal journals, in which she wrote every intimate detail of her life, as well as her secret fantasies. Bauer decides that he will steal her from her husband, and armed with his knowledge of her, nearly does. All of the principles have pronounced New York accents, but the film is set in San Francisco.

The highlight for me was the appearance of George Wendt in a minor role. He is always entertaining.

Although the concept was interesting, the story didn't hit any high notes, or cover any new ground, and the ending seemed off to me.


Williams shows breasts in a bath scene and a sex scene. Unfortunately, the entire sex scene was in poor light and had severe motion blur. Romy Windsor (who has enjoyed steady work since 1984), as a young prostitute, showed all three Bs in good light.

Evidently there is a European cut somewhere with an extra minute of footage on the sex scene.

Scoopy's comments in yellow:

This was Douglas Day Stewart's first script after An Officer and a Gentleman. The reviews were poor, and it was essentially his last script. It was the first film he ever directed, but the disappointing performance meant that he would not get another chance for many years. Although this film
is rated only 5.0 at IMDb, he never bettered that score in subsequent films.

It isn't such a bad film. While it doesn't really click, as Tuna noted, it has some real strengths:

  • Excellent photography of San Francisco, including some very creative and cinematic camera angles. (The cinematographer worked with many of Hollywood's top directors).
  • A very solid concept. A thief robs a prosperous couple. Included in the booty are a stunning professional photo of her and her horny diaries. More than enough to get him interested. Enough to get him laid. After all, he knows exactly what she wants, and acts out her fantasies.
  • Good comic relief by George Wendt
  • A really offbeat and enjoyable performance by David Caruso as the psychotic baddie.
  • A complex portrayal of the thief of hearts, a man who is not as good as he would like to be, but not as bad as people might think.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen format, 1.85

They didn't do much with the concept. He should have used his knowledge to make the sex really hot. Although the seduction scene was excellent (Bauer undresses her while she is learning to shoot), the sex scene is tired and uninspiring, and not even very revealing. Tuna noted above that it also had technical problems.

I often whine when a script simply has too many improbable surprises. This time, there were too few. Everything plays out exactly as you expect it to from the moment that you first understand the premise. 

The Critics Vote

  • no external reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: domestic gross: $10.4 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C (Scoopy) to C- (Tuna). It's not erotic enough or thrilling enough to an erotic thriller, but it has some positives which make it watchable.

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