The Reckless Moment

Director: Max Ophüls
Year Released: 1949
Rating: 2.5

Dutiful Mom (Joan Bennett) hides the corpse of her daughter's much older lover by throwing it in a lake, because that's what Mom is supposed to do when Dad's out of town - later, a blackmailer with a heart of gold (James Mason, recently back from kissin' the Blarney Stone) tells her that he has evidence against her daughter (letters!) and wants $5k for them. Rather skimpy on character development, this is all plot all day long, and rather brisk plotting at that - instead of settling in and examining these characters (Mason and Bennett fall for each other ... just because), it races forward as if it couldn't afford to be a second over 82 minutes (which makes me think the studio had a hand in editing). The class issue is raised briefly - a relationship cannot possibly exist between a low-class immigrant and an upper-class woman - but it's more an examination of how far parents will go to protect their children. The McGehee and Siegel remake (with Tilda Swinton) is not an improvement.