The Reckless Moment DVD (Region One - playable in North America - the US, Canada, Mexico, etc.) Black & White.
Starring: James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks, Shepperd Strudwick, David Bair, Henry O'Neill, Roy Roberts, Jessie Arnold, Gail Bonney, Pat Barton. Written by Henry Garson, Robert Soderberg, Mel Dinelli. Directed by Max Ophuls.
Director Max Opuls' nuanced, ironic film noir is near perfection. Joan Bennett is a respectable mother in a California coastal town. Family life is proving nettlesome, what with a husband (Henry O'Neill) traveling the globe on business, a teenage son drawn to inappropriate states of attire, and two live-ins, a father-in-law and a cook/housekeeper. The nettle-in-chief, however, is her handful of a daughter Bea (Geraldine Brooks) - who she fancies herself a worldly woman and has taken up with a penniless but pretentious lecher (played wonderfully by Shepperd Strudwick) , who winds up dead. Bennett's battle to cover up the death soon reels with tension. Into the mix ambles beautifully shaded James Mason with an Irish lilt, wanting extortion money for incriminating love letters. Between Mason and Bennett grows strange affection. With voluptuous slow takes, Ophuls creates a rich texture ranging from shabby seaside respectability to the grungy sidewalks of nearby Los Angeles.
An overlooked masterpiece, not to be missed.
"It could happen to so many married women ! A wild web of violence drew them irresistibly toward one another !"