The Reckless Moment
Dir. Max Ophüls. 1949, 82 mins. 35mm. With Joan Bennett, James Mason. Ophüls’s last Hollywood film shows his trademark elegantly moving camera and sophisticated use of space, but authentically captures the look, sound and feel of a prosperous yet anxious postwar America and what screenwriter Robert Soderberg called “the American woman—the trapped woman,” a willing prisoner of her family. The Reckless Moment is a complex and ambivalent treatment of suburban values and that controversial icon, the American mother. In this tender, understated love story, the underworld blackmailer threatening a respectable housewife whose daughter accidentally killed a man turns out to be the one person who truly understands and appreciates her.
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