The Reckless Moment (1949)

The Reckless Moment





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A blend of melodrama and film noir, The Reckless Moment stars Joan Bennett as Lucia Harper, a suburban housewife whose husband is away on business. Her daughter, Bea (Geraldine Brooks), an aspiring artist, has fallen for Ted Darby (Shepperd Strudwick), a shady older man from Los Angeles who claims to be an ex-art dealer. One night, after a secret rendezvous in the Harpers' boathouse that turns into an argument, Bea accidentally kills Darby. When Lucia discovers his body in the morning, she … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Mel Dinelli, Henry Garson, Robert W. Soderberg, Robert Kent
On DVD: Sep 18, 2006



as Martin Donnelly

as Lucia Harper

as Bea Harper

as David Harper

as Mr. Harper

as David Harper

as Nagle

as Desk Clerk

as Drummer

as Gambler

as Policeman

as Bartender

as Card Player

as Mrs. Feller

as Drug Clerk

as Magazine Clerk

as Tall Man

as Receptionist

as Pawnbroker

as Mrs. Loring

as Bank Guard

as Card Player

as Bank Official

as Old Lady

as Tall Man

as Second Postal Clerk

as Waitress

as Newsboy

as Lieutenant

as Woman

as Newsboy

as Policeman

as Policeman

as Post Office Clerk

as Pawnbroker
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Reckless Moment

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for The Reckless Moment

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | November 4, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 12, 2003
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It certainly makes for the purest and most impossible love of [Max] Ophuls' films, and for me, the most emotionally compelling.

Full Review… | September 28, 2009
Parallax View

a rather original take on what is usually a very pedestrian setup

Full Review… | August 12, 2009

Audience Reviews for The Reckless Moment


Affecting but slightly unsatisfying real-world noir. Wonderful in parts but rushed in others. I'm thinking perhaps the demands of Hollywood and a modest budget took a couple courses out of this film.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

The last of director Max Ophüls' Hollywood films, The Reckless Moment doesn't necessarily distinguish itself other than Joan Bennett's intense performance. It's actually a rather unconventional film noir starring Bennett as the well-to-do mother of a teenage daughter who's gotten herself mixed up with the wrong sort of man. The mother goes to confront this man and he offers to stop seeing the girl in exchange for a payoff. When he comes snooping around late one night, the daughter rejects him physically, and the man winds up dead. Desperate to keep her daughter out of trouble, the mother covers up the any evidence the dead man was ever there and and dumps his body off somewhere else. Soon afterward, a blackmailer (James Mason) enters the picture, threatening to expose the girl's love letters to the deceased man if he's not given $5000.

In spite of a somewhat ridiculous storyline, Bennett shines as the no-nonsense, unbending woman who fights to protect the cozy home she's created. The father is completely out of the picture, of course, and it's up to the strong mother figure to keep this structure of civility from crashing down around their ears. James Mason as the charming villain meets the only end he can possibly meet within the film's circumstances. It's a shame for such a strong woman to have to go without the love of a man. Duty tells her to remain faithful to the disembodied voice over the telephone, rather than run off with the charming and dangerously foreign blackmailer, but standards and morals of the 1940s dictates this more forcibly than the heart does.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Taut drama with the always underrated Joan Bennett great as the panicked mother and James Mason just right as the conflicted anti-hero. 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.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The Reckless Moment Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Reckless Moment on our Movie forum!