The Reckless Moment
|The Reckless Moment|
|Directed by||Max Ophüls|
|Produced by||Walter Wanger|
|Written by||Elisabeth Sanxay Holding|
|Screenplay by||Mel Dinelli |
Robert E. Kent
|Based on||The Blank Wall (Ladies Home Journal)|
|Starring||James Mason |
|Music by||Hans J. Salter|
|Editing by||Gene Havlick|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||17 October 1949 (US premiere) |
29 December 1949 (US general release)
|Running time||82 minutes|
The Reckless Moment (1949) is a film noir melodrama directed by Max Ophüls, produced by Walter Wanger, and released by Columbia Pictures with Burnett Guffey as cinematographer. Starring Joan Bennett and James Mason, the film is based on The Blank Wall (1947), a novel written by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. The film The Deep End (2001) is based on the same story.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2013)|
California housewife Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) attempts to cover up what she believes (erroneously) to be her daughter's (Geraldine Brooks) accidental murder of an undesirable ex-lover (Shepperd Strudwick).
Martin Donnelly (James Mason), a clean-shaven smooth-talker involved in organized crime, tries to blackmail Lucia by threatening to take Bea and Darby's correspondence to the police. Complications arise when he realizes his true feelings for Lucia and discovers the truth.
Donnelly's associate Nagel (Roy Roberts), initially a mysterious figure, rows with his colleague, who murders him. Donnelly dies in a car crash with the corpse soon afterwards. Normalcy appears to return for Lucia.
- James Mason as Martin Donnelly
- Joan Bennett as Lucia Harper
- Geraldine Brooks as Bea Harper
- Henry O'Neill as Tom Harper
- Shepperd Strudwick as Ted Darby
- David Bair as David Harper
- Roy Roberts as Nagel
Bosley Crowther's New York Times 1949 review praised the actors but noted,
"But it isn't all right with this picture. Although it is rather well staged, with credible location settings in Balboa and Los Angeles, it is a feeble and listless drama with a shamelessly callous attitude. The heroine gets away with folly, but we don't think this picture will."
The film made a loss of $565,775.
- Matthew Bernstein, Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent, Minnesota Press, 2000 p445
- New York Times review
- The Reckless Moment at the Internet Movie Database
- The Reckless Moment at AllRovi
- The Reckless Moment at the TCM Movie Database
- The Reckless Moment at Rotten Tomatoes
- DVD Beaver review