The Reckless Moment (1949)

The Reckless Moment (1949)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Reckless Moment Photos

Movie Info

Living in upper-middle-class luxury, Joan Bennett discovers that her daughter has been seeing an unscrupulous older man. The man attempts to blackmail Bennett with the packet of letters written by her daughter. When a struggle with the man results in his accidental death, things get even more complicated.
Directed By:
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James Mason
as Martin Donnelly
Joan Bennett
as Lucia Harper
Geraldine Brooks
as Bea Harper
David Bair
as David Harper
Henry O'Neill
as Mr. Harper
David Blair
as David Harper
Roy Roberts
as Nagle
Paul E. Burns
as Desk Clerk
Dan Jackson
as Drummer
Danny Jackson
as Drummer
Billy Snyder
as Gambler
John Monaghan
as Policeman
Peter Brocco
as Bartender
Joe Palma
as Card Player
Ann Shoemaker
as Mrs. Feller
Everett Glass
as Drug Clerk
Buddy Gorman
as Magazine Clerk
Charles Marsh
as Newsman
Body Davis
as Tall Man
Gail Bonney
as Woman
Pat Barton
as Receptionist
John K. Butler
as Pawnbroker
Kathryn Card
as Mrs. Loring
Pat O'Malley
as Bank Guard
Joseph Palmas
as Card Player
Charles Evans
as Bank Official
Jessie Arnold
as Old Lady
Boyd Davis
as Tall Man
Celeste Savoi
as Waitress
Norman Leavitt
as Second Postal Clerk
Joe Rechts
as Newsboy
William Schallert
as Lieutenant
Al Bayne
as Man
Ed Pine
as Man
Sue Moore
as Woman
John Roy
as Man
Joe Recht
as Newsboy
Mike Mahoney
as Policeman
Glenn Thompson
as Policeman
Harry Harvey
as Post Office Clerk
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Critic Reviews for The Reckless Moment

All Critics (3)

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

August 12, 2009

A very engaging thriller...

Full Review… | March 12, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Reckless Moment

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.

Devon Bott
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
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


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
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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