The Everpassing Moment

The Reckless Moment

The Reckless Moment (1949) is a melodrama film directed by Max Ophüls, produced by Walter Wanger, and released by Columbia Pictures. Burnett Guffey served as the films cinematographer. The film is based upon "The Blank Wall", a 1947 short story written by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. The film The Deep End (2001) is based upon the same story.


California housewife Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) attempts to cover up her daughter's (Geraldine Brooks) accidental murder of an undesirable ex-lover (Shepperd Strudwick). Martin Donnelly (James Mason), a clean-shaven smooth-talker involved in organized crime, discovers the truth and tries to blackmail the family. Complications arise when he realizes his true feelings for Lucia. This was Mason's third U.S. film, after having appeared for director Ophüls in Caught, then Madame Bovary.

Critical reaction

Bosley Crowther's New York Times 1949 review praised the actors but noted, "But it isn't all right with this picture. Although it is rather well staged, with credible location settings in Balboa and Los Angeles, it is a feeble and listless drama with a shamelessly callous attitude. The heroine gets away with folly, but we don't think this picture will.



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