Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Forgotten Movies: RECKLESS MOMENT




I have been anxious to see this film since I read the book THE BLANK WALL by Elisabeth Sanzay Holding last month. This is a strange clip but the rest were too long.

Lucia Harper: You don't know how a family can surround you at times. 
Martin: Do you never get away from your family? 
Lucia Harper: No. 

In some ways, this quote is at heart what the book and movie is about because in it a woman continues to tend to her family responsibilities both large and small throughout a tumultuous situation. Joan Bennett plays a mother of two teenagers suddenly called into action to protect her daughter from an unscrupulous man. From her first actions, she begins a slide toward total ruin but somehow through devotion and ingenuity manages to save herself and her daughter. James Mason plays the villain, who is unexpectedly, smitten. 

There are scenes of bucolic family life interspersed with frantic attempts by Bennett to raise money and take care of various threats to the family. This makes for some difficult but interesting transitions. 

Max Orphuls directed this, along with three other films in Hollywood. It is better than the B movie it was intended, no doubt, to be because the source material is strong and original. Geraldine Brooks plays the daughter with a sexuality and hysteria that you won't see again for a decade or more. There are some clunky transitions here and there and I can imagine a better movie with Barbara Stanwyck, but on the whole, it is a pretty fine drama. 

9 comments:

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Terrific little movie Pati. by the way, THE DEEP END in a much better than average remake, starring Tilda Swinton and Goran Visnic.

Anonymous said...

I saw this a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I thought Ophuls made an American B-movie with the sensibilities of a European film--the emotional entanglement between Bennett and Mason were far more ambiguous than an American director would have presented. I also liked the daily lifestyle touches, such as when Bennett goes to a pawn broker or a loan company (presumably the equivalent of today's payday loan places). I think in most movies, these transactions would have been presented with melodrama, something almost evil; instead they're presented simply as businesses--albeit the kind that upper-middle-class Bennett has never had to frequent before. I especially liked the scene in the loan office--the loan officer is a woman and if you look in the background you can see there's a family in the next office with a young child playing on a chair. I thought the whole movie was very well done.

Deb

pattinase (abbott) said...

According to my list, I saw THE DEEP END but retain little memory of it, Have to see it again.

Yes, Deb, what made it work so well was the care that went into the presentation of the small details. And I too couldn't take my eyes off that same scene, which played like a documentary rather than a Hollywood movie.How many directors bother with what's playing in the backdrop.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I'll admit I've not seen this one, but it sounds like interesting social commentary as well as a movie plot. Thanks for reminding me of this one.

Anonymous said...

My memories of this are tied up with THE DEEP END as I saw the latter within the last couple of years and the original probably in the 80's.

I'm much more of a James Mason fan than a Joan Bennett fan.


Jeff m.

Charles Gramlich said...

Don't believe I saw this one.

George said...

This is new to me. I'll be looking for it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

TCM runs it fairly regularly. You can ask them to remind you when a movie will be on.

John said...

I enjoyed htis moive when I saw (at lon glast!) for the first time only a year ago. Though I prefer Joan Bennett in her temptress mode (SCARLET STREET, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, ) than as Lucia Holley she does admirable work.