7.0/10
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25 user 16 critic

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

Production Co:

Walter Wanger Productions See more »
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

Henry James based the story on an anecdote he had heard when he was in Florence, Italy, in 1879. "Claire" Clairmont, the half-sister of Percy Bysshe Shelley's wife Mary Shelley and the mother of Lord Byron's daughter Allegra, was still alive and related how an unscrupulous Shelley devotee had posed as a lodger in order to find any unpublished papers. After the aged Claire died, her niece offered the papers to him, but at a price. 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: In that fearfully incredible moment I knew I had plunged off a precipice into the past. That here was Juliana beyond belief, beautiful, alluring, alive. How strange this was, this Tina, who walked dead among the living and living among the dead, filling me with a nameless fear! I had a sudden impulse to turn and leave, and then I remembered the letters.
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

 
Remarkable Atmosphere
10 February 2002 | by tonstant viewerSee all my reviews

This little film is bursting with atmosphere, brooding, wistful, corrupt, overflowing with decay, betrayal and regret. A studio better known for its westerns and horror movies is here responsible for a major gem of delicacy and suggestion.

What makes all this remarkable is that the screenplay is a classic example of Hollywood's idiotic dumbing-down of a major work of fiction, Henry James's novella "The Aspern Papers" (based in turn on the life of Lord Byron). To compare James's brief story with the film is so sad it's almost painful, yet the movie survives and succeeds through sensitive style and sturdy professionalism.

The studio sets are evocative of a time before Venice became an international theme park, and the director's experience in radio drama provides a more finely-judged soundtrack than was the norm.

If your nerve-endings are not already terminally blunted through today's cinematic overkill, this film will prove richly rewarding.


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