7.2/10
3,474
42 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:

It could happen to so many married women ! 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

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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

British actor James Mason's third U.S. film. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Martin: She's lucky to have a mother like you.
Lucia Harper: Everyone has a mother like me. You probably had one, too.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Far from Heaven (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Blackmail, murder, and dark secrets
22 January 2005 | by didi-5See all my reviews

An unusual film, this slow-burner starring Joan Bennett and James Mason seems like a straight-forward murder and blackmail case, but that's only part of the story. Joan Bennett is the mother living apart from her husband (he's working away), and coping with her growing son and daughter, and their maid. James Mason is an Irish low-life, who hopes to make money from Bennett's family misfortunes.

From the start, where we see the 'murder' and find out what really happened, to the startling ending, this film, directed by Max Ophüls, grips. Aside from the two leads, Geraldine Brooks is good as the teenage daughter struggling with a lost love affair and the hormonal rage of puberty; and Kathryn Card is suitably condescending as she refuses to loan money to the increasingly desperate Bennett.

'The Reckless Moment' has a frisson of noir, and a strong script. It is a minor film, certainly, but a rewarding one.


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