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Lydia Garth meets Paul de Vandiere, a French nobleman, but their romance is plagued by Lydia's complaint of recurring spells of blurred vision. Paul leaves for France, promising to return and marry Lydia, but she loses her sight while he is gone. Given no hope of recovery, she enters a convent and quickly finds that she has no vocation for life in a nunnery. She finally marries Paul, but encounters strong opposition from Verite Faimont, a neighbor who is very fond of Paul. The latter constantly plots against Lydia and is successful in temporarily breaking up the marriage, but can a miracle of restored vision be seen?Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Great sets, actors and cinematography let down by a lousy script.
I hate to be critical of something into which a great many people invested a lot of time, money and effort but it has to be said that Madness of the Heart is far from being a classic.
Neither a superb cast, a substantial budget, exotic settings nor the presence of the sublimely gorgeous and extremely talented Margaret Lockwood in the leading role can save this film from its dire script.
The premise is promising enough; a lovely young Englishwoman (Lockwood) falls in love with an aristocratic Frenchman (played by Paul Dupuis) but is promptly struck blind. Despite this tragedy, the couple marry and move to Monsieur's stately pile in Provence where their happiness is sorely tested by his family's negative attitude toward disability and the murderous machinations of his psychopathic former intended (a scary turn from Kathleen Byron of Black Narcissus fame).
The camera work is great and the sets and the set pieces are fantastic (especially the evening ball) but the dialogue is risible in places and the film's ending frankly ludicrous! The actors do their best - Lockwood, in particular, shows her mettle and is very convincing as a blind woman - but it is clearly an uphill struggle. The writer apparently collaborated with Hitchcock on some of his early films but you would never have guessed!
I am, to put it mildly, a huge fan of Margaret Lockwood but I have to admit that this is not one of her better films. If you like her and you like vintage thrillers, then The Lady Vanishes, Night Train to Munich, Girl in the News or Cast a Dark Shadow (several of which are inexplicably unavailable in PAL format on either DVD or video) are far, far better; this one is for die-hard fans only.
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