Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Reckless Moment (1949)

From AFI:
"Without telling her family, Lucia Harper drives from her seaside home in Balboa to Los Angeles to warn reprobate Ted Darby to stay away from her seventeen-year-old daughter Beatrice. When Darby agrees to leave Bea alone for a price, Lucia refuses to pay him off, convinced that her daughter will have no interest in a man who would accept that kind of money. Back in Balboa, Bea, who has already spoken to Darby on the phone, does not believe her mother's story and refuses to stop seeing him. Lucia, whose husband Tom is out of town, must handle this problem without his help and forbids Bea to return to art school in Los Angeles. That night, Bea sneaks out of the house and meets Darby in the boathouse, but when he admits that he did ask for money, she strikes out at him in anger with her flashlight. Dazed, Darby stumbles outside and is killed when he falls on top of an anchor. Lucia then discovers her distraught daughter and sends her back to bed. Early the next morning, Lucia finds Darby's body and, not wanting her daughter to be involved in a scandal, dumps the body in the bay along with the anchor that killed him."

From Max Ophuls, the same director who made CAUGHT, in the same year, this film deals with the other side of noir: what happens after the crime. While Leonora from CAUGHT waits all film to find her dark side, here Lucia wastes no time in covering up what she thinks is a murder by her daughter, and this leads her further down the path as she has to cover up her cover-up. Though not as good a film as CAUGHT, it still fits comfortably within the framework of noir and features a female protagonist, a rarity in the genre.

Judgment: noir.

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