The Reckless Moment (1949)

by guest writer

The month of November is dedicated to Max Ophüls. The Reckless Moment marks the last US directed by the German-born filmmaker. It is an unusual film noir, bringing a twist to the genre: the absent male character. Although Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) is a married woman, we don’t feel an influence exerted in any way by the man in her life. Instead, the male role is assumed by Lucia, who proves mighty competent in extricating her daughter from extortion.

Martin Donnelly (James Mason) makes his appearance in the film as a blackmailer. His role is remarkable due to the changes within the character. He is suddenly driven from wealth desires to feelings of love. Max Ophüls’ portrayal of a middle class woman as opposed to a poor Irish man is rich in revealing unforgettable performances from both Joan Bennett and James Mason.

photo: still from the movie, production credits

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