The Reckless Moment

NR, 82 min. Directed by Max Ophüls. Starring James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., July 5, 1996

The last film directed in Hollywood by the great European film stylist Max Ophüls in 1949 is a melodramatic suspense story about love, blackmail, and a mother's love for her daughter. James Mason unleashes all his nasty charms on a young married woman from a wealthy family, but his blackmail plans are foiled by the woman's wily and protective mom (Bennett). Anyone with the slightest itch to see this movie should grab the opportunity, since The Reckless Moment is not available on video and who knows when the next chance might come around.

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More Max Ophüls Films
Lola Montès
The opulent Lola Montès was Ophüls' final film. His swan song was the most expensive movie produced up until that time in France, and was butchered by his producers after a disastrous premiere. Only recently, the complete CinemaScope film has been restored. Ophüls uses the story of this notorious mistress to kings and artists (among them King Ludwig I and Franz Liszt) to examine the world of artifice and spectacle.

June 20, 2019

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Echo in the Canyon
History of the Laurel Canyon folk-rock scene gets lost in its own winding paths

June 21, 2019

The Last Black Man in San Francisco
A gentle, poetic look at gentrification that shimmers with the winds of history

June 14, 2019


The Reckless Moment, Max Ophüls, James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks

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