7.2/10
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43 user 31 critic

The Reckless Moment (1949)

After discovering the dead body of her teenage daughter's lover, a housewife takes desperate measures to protect her family from scandal.

Director:

Max Ophüls (as Max Opuls)

Writers:

Henry Garson (screen play), Robert Soderberg (screen play) (as Robert W. Soderberg) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Mason ... Martin Donnelly
Joan Bennett ... Lucia Harper
Geraldine Brooks ... Beatrice 'Bea' Harper
Henry O'Neill ... Tom Harper
Shepperd Strudwick ... Ted Darby
David Bair David Bair ... David Harper
Roy Roberts ... Nagel
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Storyline

In the charming community of Balboa 50 miles from Los Angeles, middle-class housewife Lucia Harper travels to Los Angeles to meet scoundrel, Ted Darby. Her seventeen year-old daughter Beatrice is in love with Ted. He asks for money to leave Bea, but Lucia refuses to give any. Bea does not believe her mother when told and during the night she sneaks out to the boat garage to meet Ted who admits that Lucia told the truth. Bea pushes him and Ted falls to his on an anchor. The next morning, Lucia finds the body and assumes that Bea has killed her lover. She decides to get rid of the corpse and puts it in her boat and dumps it far from home. When the police find Ted, a stranger, Martin Donnelly, visits Lucia to blackmail her on behalf of his partner, Nagel who has several letters Bea had written to Ted. Donnelly wants $5000 for the letters. The desperate Lucia tries to raise the amount. Martin falls in love with Lucia and tries to help her too. The dangerous Nagel wants to receive the ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A wild web of violence drew them irresistibly toward one another ! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 December 1949 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blank Wall See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$882,653 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$717,188, 31 December 1949
See more on IMDbPro »

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

Opening credits: The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used herein are fictitious and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely accidental and unintentional. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Bea Harper: When you're seventeen today, you know what the score is.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Far from Heaven (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great Joan Bennett performance
23 January 2012 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

Taut drama with the always underrated Joan Bennett great as the panicked mother and James Mason just right as the conflicted anti-hero. They interact so well it's a pity they only made this one film together.

Wonderfully directed by Ophuls and atmospherically shot this was updated as The Deep End with Tilda Swinton also a fine film but this has a distinct allure of its own.

Most of the supporting cast isn't given much to do which helps focus the film but an interesting character is the faithful maid Sybil played well by Frances Williams. Always in the background but seemingly all seeing she emerges with a nice showing of grit and understanding at a climatic moment.

For fans of noir and melodrama this is a pleasure from start to finish.


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