Reckless Moment, The (1949)


The title is actually The Reckless Moment, really really.
The title is actually The Reckless Moment, really really.

Genre: Drama Film-Noir

Starring: James Mason (LolitaNorth by Northwest), Joan Bennett (Father of the Bride (1950)Little Women)

Directed By: Max Ophüls (Letter From An Unknown WomanThe Earrings Of Madame De...)

Overview: A mother forbids a shady Ted Darby from seeing her daughter. When the daughter confronts Ted with the rumour that he would end their relationship in exchange for payment, one thing leads to another, and Ted ends up dead.

Some films are good because they're long, deep epics full of complex stories that takes its time to subtly unfold. Some films are memorable because the style is innovative and makes waves in a movement. Then there are films solidly rooted in the 'now', designed for entertainment and mainstream, nicely fitting a pre-made mould.  

The term Film Noir was coined in 1945. This 1949 film, with a plot that includes blackmail and an unwilling exploration into a seedy criminal underbelly, is also ripe with the stark, low-key German expressionistic lighting that is a visual staple of the genre - so yes, very safe. 

Based on a short story, the film is also short at 82 minutes, and though the characters are very well written and developed, their situations are simple, though climactic twists and moral dilemmas are always on the menu.  

Still, you'll have a Hell of a time finding much more information about it, not to mention the trouble it took for me to get a copy. Yet, for as much as this film is not very popular, it's made at least ONE list, and all told, The Reckless Moment is one of those films that still has lasting value to the fans of the Film Noir Genre

Most enjoyable is Joan Bennett as Lucia Harper, a typical middle-aged middle-class mom who finds herself doing what many other mothers with a 'children-first' mentality would do.  She's a strong, levelheaded character who eventually finds herself overwhelmed by a situation she set into motion. A more honest representation of such a character, I can't imagine.

 So how fast you think I can do this blindfolded?
So how fast you think I can do this blindfolded?

Overall Rating: 76% (No, I'd Say It Was More An "Enjoyable" Moment)

To those of you asking "how does your Film-Noir equals 'at least one slapping scene' theory hold?" well let me tell you! The daughter gives a nice double deuce to Ted just before the famed 'reckless moment' of his demise. It's in the beginning, so I wasn't biting my nails pining for the abuse the way I was with The Man With The Golden Arm.

Does it make me wrong for looking forward to slapping? I prefer 'eccentric'.

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The trouble you went through to get it??????

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