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The Lost Moment (1947)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance | 21 November 1947 (USA)
An publisher insinuates himself into the mouldering mansion of the centenarian lover of a renowned but long-dead poet in order to find his lost love letters.

Director:

Martin Gabel

Writers:

Leonardo Bercovici (screenplay), Henry James (based on the novel "The Aspern Papers")
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Cast

Cast overview:
Robert Cummings ... Lewis Venable
Susan Hayward ... Tina Bordereau
Agnes Moorehead ... Juliana Borderau
Joan Lorring ... Amelia
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Father Rinaldo
John Archer ... Charles
Frank Puglia ... Pietro
Minerva Urecal ... Maria
William Edmunds William Edmunds ... Vittorio
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Storyline

In a long flashback, a New York publisher is in Venice pursuing the lost love letters of an early-19th-century poet, Jeffrey Ashton, who disappeared mysteriously. Using a false name, Lewis Venable rents a room from Juliana Bordereau, once Jeffrey Ashton's lover, now an aged recluse. Running the household is Juliana's severe niece, Tina, who mistrusts Venable from the first moment. He realizes all is not right when late one night he finds Tina, her hair unpinned and wild, at the piano. She calls him Jeffrey and throws herself at him. The family priest warns Venable to tread carefully around her fantasies, but he wants the letters at any cost, even Tina's sanity. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Recordações See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The portrait of the poet on the miniature is that of Percy Bysshe Shelley. See more »

Goofs

When Lewis rescues Juliana from the fire, Juliana's stunt double can be seen grabbing onto Lewis and helping him carry 'her' out. See more »

Quotes

Lewis Venable: Had Jeffrey Ashton once lived in this cold, forbidding house? I felt the past close in around me like a fog. The door to the present shut behind me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Myra Breckinridge (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Fenesta che lucive
(uncredited)
Music by William Cottrau (or Vincenzo Bellini)
Sung by Enrico Caruso
In love scene between Lewis and Tina
See more »

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User Reviews

Vintage Hollywood
5 March 2016 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

No need to detail the plot since others have done it better than I can.

Once again I'm reminded that Susan Hayward was one of Hollywood's finest actresses despite her glamorous good looks. Here she does triple duty while under the spell of an ossified aunt (an unrecognizable Moorehead) and, of course, a darkly haunted mansion. One minute she's severely repressed Tina; the next she's a deluded but happy Tina; and finally she's a liberated Tina, who's happily her true self. The versatile actress manages all three persuasively, though repressed Tina in her severe hair bun almost had me under the couch.

If Tina's having trouble with her identity, so's Venable (Cummings) who's at the mansion under false pretenses. But once he's scoped out a flowing-haired Tina, he's having trouble deciding whether he's really a sneaky publisher on a lucrative mission or just another hormonally driven ankle-chaser. Sunny actor Cummings may seem an odd choice for roaming dark mansions, still he low-keys throughout, allowing the story's Gothic merits to remain uppermost.

And what great atmosphere the staging produces. Sure, events never leave the soundstage, yet that move allows full artistic control of visual effects, which are as much a movie presence here as the performers themselves. And, oh yes, mustn't overlook poor Joan Loring as the repressed servant Amelia. Hers is a movingly soulful performance that at times is almost tearful. Too bad her character track just sort of vanishes to no conclusion. And that's a downside in the script, as John Archer's rather villainous character is also abruptly abandoned for no apparent purpose. It may be that the screenplay tried to adapt too much of the Henry James novel and ended up cutting some corners

All in all, this is vintage Hollywood hitting on at least seven cylinders despite somewhat derivative material. And a lot of that success I think is owed to outstanding producer Walter Wanger, a position in the production chain that's too often overlooked.


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