Thursday, September 29, 2011

Broken Blossoms (Griffith. 1919)

"Put a smile on yer face, can't yer?"


After seeing, and really enjoying, D.W. Griffith's Way Down East - I was actually incredibly excited to seek out another film by the legendary director. Luckily, the 1077 Films to See Before You Die is filled with movies that Griffith had a hand in. Unfortunately for me, I decided to watch Broken Blossoms.

I do not want to give off the wrong vibe right away - this was not in any way a bad movie. It tells two separate stories and then eventually interlocks them into one tragic love story. A young girl live in the slums with he alcoholic, prizefighting and extremely abusive father. She is frequently and brutally beaten on screen in ways that were considered controversial for the time.

There is also an Asian man who has decided to move to England and teach the ways of Buddha to the Anglo-Saxons. He eventually succumbs to an addiction to opium and resides in the back of his shop in the same aforementioned slum.

As fate would have it, these two paths would cross and the two fall in love with each other. The girl's racist and psychotic father becomes enraged at the thought of his girl with a "Yellow Man". The is where the story turns tragic (or tragically predictable) and all the characters end up losing what they love in the end in a variety of ways. The message being that people should be willing to accept each other regardless of color or creed.

This is a funny sentiment for Broken Blossoms because the man who plays "the Yellow Man", Richard Barthelmess, is not in the least bit Asian. No matter how hard he squints his eyes and hunches his back, there is not a person on the planet who would think Barthelmess is from anywhere near the Orient. I have to admit that this was extremely distracting for me. His performance was an over-exaggeration of stereotypes at the time.

On the other hand, Lillian Gish, as the girl, was superb. I am starting to think that she might be my favorite silent film star. Her performance was emotional and heartbreaking. She was so fragile and frail looking with horrible posture and a general lack of confident body language. Her eyes were often the most noticeable thing on the screen, not only for their beauty, but because there was so much pain and fright in them.

There is one scene in particular that stands out in Broken Blossoms. Near the end of the film, the girl locks herself in a closet to escape the abuse of her father. As the maniac uses a small axe to take the door down, the camera focuses on the poor girl. She is defenseless, out of places to run, claustrophobic and fully aware of her upcoming fate. Critics were originally appalled by this emotionally gripping scene, but it has become one of Griffith's most famous moments as a director. He was able to present and tackle one of the most brutal subject matters in the world.

Broken Blossoms is not a bad movie. In fact, I liked it. I was just disappointed by how small of a scale the film was on. Griffith himself was unhappy with the final product saying that he "can’t look at the damn thing; it depresses me so". This is a decent work from a director capable of much more. Brave? Yes. Gripping? Yes. Special? Not really. Way Down East is a much better movie.

Broken Blossoms: C+

*NOTE* - If you have trouble finding Broken Blossoms you should try searching for it by the original name, "The Yellow Man and the Girl".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Stuart. 1971)

"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be."


There is no substitute in the world for pure and honest imagination. This means that every single movie for children has the potential to be a fantastic journey for the target audience. I have seen several movies made for children in my time as a lover of cinema, but I am yet to have seen a movie that captures what is good about them as well as the classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The whole concept of the film, which is based from the Roald Dahl novel, is a knowledgeable work from the imagination of a child. Though this has now become more known as a "family film", Willy Wonka is the last film for youth that still managed to take them seriously as producers of wishes and dreams. The film never stops to talk down to the audience. Everything is exactly how it should be throughout the entire thing.

The storyline of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is not only memorable, but it is now thought as legendary. A young poor boy named Charlie finds the final golden ticket that will allow him to tour the mysterious and famous factory that is owned and operated by the eccentric Willy Wonka. As the tour is carried on, children are discarded in a variety of seemingly gruesome ways. One boy is sent floating down a river of chocolate. Another boy is taken to a taffy machine to be stretched back to normal size. Perhaps most famously, one of the female children is blown up into a giant plum-like ball of a human.

These punishments are accompanied by the extremely iconic Oompa Loompa musical numbers. As creepy as these little people may seem to the adult eye - they are simple fun plot pushers for children. Their clown-like appearance and goofy antics can be automatically associated with humor in the mind of a child.

Gene Wilder, who seems to be a perfect fit for every role that he plays, shows a natural progression from Bonnie and Clyde to The Producers to the character that he was born to play, Willy Wonka. His off-beat demeanor and calming vocal style create a soothing and welcoming atmosphere for imagination. It feels as though Wilder himself wants the audience to escape into the character with him. He is never anything outside of perfect in this film. It is a work of genius that an actor like Johnny Depp could never draw inspiration from because it is from a place that values the mind of a wondering youngster.

I am forced to address that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has become a popular film in adult circles for its supposed hidden themes and intense imagery. This can be tied to one particular scene where Wonka takes the children on a haunting boat ride. Though I agree that the scene is intense, I do not believe that it takes anything away from the adolescent perfection in which this picture swims. Children are not stupid. They understand much more than modern children’s movies would give them credit for understanding. This is a scene that lets a child know to expect the unexpected. Young people desire that in their entertainment - or at least they did in 1971.

What this film does is offer up 100% uninfluenced and innocent imagination. The mind of a child is meant to be challenged and introduced to original, funny, scary and outlandish ideas. There is seriousness to the film that children understand. Willy Wonka teaches them lessons to keep for life. It also genuinely entertains them with catchy numbers and colorful sets.

I cannot rave any more strongly about any film that does not dumb itself down for a younger audience. If anything, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory expects its audience to smarten up. This is a responsible introduction for children into the world of brilliant filmmaking. Everything about this film works to some degree. It is almost perfect for adults, but absolutely fascinating for a child.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: A

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Superfly (Parks Jr. 1972)

"Ain't I clean. Bad machine. Super cool. Super mean. Dealin' good. For The Man. Superfly; here I stand..."


There are a ton of different things that can make a film entertaining. Some films bank on interesting characters to be watchable. Other films can gross you out or spark some kind of morbid curiosity inside the audience. Music is another, often underrated, aspect to film making that can help make watching memorable. This is exactly what happens in the classic blaxploitation film, Superfly. The soundtrack, written and performed by the legendary funk artist Curtis Mayfield, is one of the best and most remembered in the history of film. In fact, it is one of the only soundtracks that made more money than the film that it was promoting.

Superfly follows the story of a cocaine dealer named Priest who is looking for his way out of the business. His idea is to get his hands on an abundance of coke and then sell it in a very short time period. The storyline may not seem very original, but this is not a film looking for complexities. Superfly is nothing more than an exercise in style.

Like previously discussed in my write up of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song , the thought of a strong black protagonist was different and scary for the "all white juries" that paid money to see movies. Priest is not quite as radical as Sweetback, but the influence is obvious. They are both products of their ghetto demands and they both have a tendency to outwit "The Man". The biggest difference between the two films is that Superfly is not an anti-white person movie. It tries to legitimately bring the audience into the life of a drug dealer in the ghetto. He is trying for a better life, but his comrades do not see that as a possibility.

Back to the beginning - nothing reinforces the style and vernacular of the time better than Mayfield's soundtrack. He is seen in only a few scenes in the movie, but his music can be heard in almost every single moment of the action. In fact, it has been said that Superfly is simply an overlong music video for the funk legend. Personally, I love the music. There is nothing particularly entertaining about the movie, so the music alone makes it memorable.

Blaxploitation is an interesting genre that managed to raise some significant questions in the film community. Did films like this help to advance the role of African American actors in Hollywood, or did the grit and truth behind the message frighten the mainstream and force these films into the underground. I think it did a little bit of both.

The impact that Superfly had on movies may be questionable, but it still features an amazing soundtrack and some pretty memorable lines of dialogue. It is more about style than entertainment, but that does not mean it is not entertaining. I like Superfly on a lot of levels. But it is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination.

Superfly: C

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nosferatu (Murnau. 1922)

"Blood! Your precious blood!"


When the average cinematic consumer is reduced to seeing the latest crap-fest horror film in theatres, it is almost without question that a true film snob will bring up how they all should have watched Nosferatu. Here is a film that has helped dictate what makes a horror film successful. Though this may not be one of the more immediately frightening films for a person to watch, it is a film that resonates with the audience's desire to be afraid. It also provides the silent era with its most famous monster.

Nosferatu is one of the first on-screen tellings of the enormously famous "Dracula" by Bram Stoker. The studio was unable to call their character Dracula due to copyright issues, and I would say that they caught a lucky break. Nosferatu is a scary name, and the monster on the screen is terrifying enough to back it up.

It has been argued that silent horror films have a much higher success rate when it comes to making your audience feel "creepy". This is because the audience is completely dependent on the actions of the characters to be frightened. Murnau was not given the luxury of creaking doors and piecing screams. He mastered the concept of horror by timing and his actor rewarded him with one of the most memorable performances in all of horror.

Max Schreck might actually be a vampire. According to legend, he refused to break character after the cameras were no longer rolling. He had bulging eyes and razor sharp teeth that stuck out from any other monster ever seen to that point. Nosferatu is still scary looking - and I am 22 years old.

One major aspect that I like about Nosferatu is how seriously it takes the source material. This is not your everyday Bela Lugosi-type Dracula. Nosferatu is a man who has been cursed by evil. The audience understands that the soul behind the vampire is unwilling to commit these horrible acts of murder.

At the same time, we understand that Nosferatu is a horrible monster. He needs to kill in order to stay alive. That is what a vampire does. He may not have asked to be cursed, but he is cursed nonetheless. He is a monster that needs to be dealt with- he is pure evil.

It is that little moral tug-of-war that makes Nosferatu work for me. The film is no longer scary enough to make adults flee from the theatre, but it is creepy enough to work on all of its own levels. Watching this is like watching a genre come to life.


Nosferatu: B

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Wrestler (Aronofsky. 2008)

"The only ones gonna tell me when I'm through doing my thing, is you people here. You're my family."


I have been a major fan of professional wrestling ever since I can remember. I have witnessed the glory days of the WWF, WCW, ECW and even other national promotions. I have formed parasocial relationships with the many men and women who risk their lives for my entertainment. As a child, wrestlers were my idols. They taught me lessons. They gave me heroes to cheer for and villains to despise. I could even argue that professional wrestling taught me the difference between good and evil.

It seems fitting that one of my favorite all time films would be about a wrestler who loves his sport, or at least the pop he still receives from the crowd. The Wrestler is a deeply emotional and intensely sad telling of the life of Randy "The Ram" Robinson. Once a huge star, Randy is now wrestling out of necessity. He lives in a trailer and spends his free time playing as himself on outdated video game machines. He has burnt the bridges out from under every significant relationship in his life. His daughter hates him. His one love is a stripper who wants nothing romantic to happen between them.

Randy is given the opportunity to wrestle on the anniversary of his most famous and popular match. In bad health and financially dry, he realizes this may be his last chance at glory. Against the advice of his doctor, The Ram accepts the fight. The story follows what leads up to the epic rematch.

The emotion of the The Wrestler rests on the muscular shoulders of its star, Mickey Rourke. There is a palpable reality to his performance that makes the story believable. Like Randy, Rourke was once making the big dollars, but as a legitimate Hollywood leading man. He left acting to become a boxer. Literally beaten, bruised and forgotten about - this is his chance to recapture stardom. Rourke looks and acts the part perfectly. One is forced to wonder if he himself used steroids in role preparation - but would it matter? I have a feeling that The Ram has seen and taken some crazy things.

The story told in The Wrestler is not in the least bit original, but this is not a film that needs tricks and whistles to entertain the audience. Rourke is emotionally draining. Aronofsky's direction is unlike anything that he had ever done before. This is far more focused on the human interaction and the desire to be loved and accepted. He tastefully takes the audience backstage and into the unseen world of the pro wrestler. We are exposed to their secret camaraderie and allowed to see how they plan matches and prepare for what they are about to put their bodies through. It is a human element that has not been done by Aronofsky before or since.

The Wrestler is an unoriginal film, but with originally brilliant performances and a heart-wrenching final moment. The emotional devastation is unrelenting. The audience is given a hero that they may not feel bad for, but The Ram is not looking for your sympathy. Rather, he is begging for your understanding. Performing is his life. And though the events may be scripted, the pain is not. The fans are the only people who seem to realize that.

The Wrestler: A

*NOTE* The Wrestler also features and incredible original song by Bruce Springsteen. Make sure to stay tuned during the ending credits for your chance to hear it in proper context.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Way Down East (Griffith. 1920)

"A simple story for plain people."


I understand that the thought of a two and a half hour silent film from 1920 may not strike my readers as something that they have to hurry up and see, but I am going to try very hard to not rave about this film. D.W. Griffith is a controversial, groundbreaking and legendary filmmaker with a tendency to hold women and religion in high regard while promoting the negative and racist images of black people in the early 20th century. Commonly called the first great director in film history, Griffith made a fortune on expensive and epic productions like the infamous The Birth of a Nation (1915) and its rebuttal, Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916).

Though it was still a major hit upon release, Way Down East has sort of become a lesser known release from the great director. Filmed on a staggering $700,000 budget and starring the legendary Lillian Gish, this is a film that properly uses melodrama to create a highly emotional statement on the behavior of men and the treatment of women in the time period.

Lillian Gish shines as a naive country girl who is tricked into a sexual relationship with a rich scoundrel. The scoundrel, Sanderson, throws a fake wedding ceremony and impregnates Anna (Gish). After admitting the marriage was faked, he splits. Eventually the child is born and very ill. The child dies in the hands of his broken, humiliated and abandoned mother.

Things pick up for Anna when she is hired to work as a housekeeper for a man and his family. She even falls in love with the Squire's son, David. This is the beginning of a twisted soap opera-like love story that carries the film.

At two and a half hours, Way Down East seemed to be a very quick viewing. There was never a moment where I was not entertained by the action on screen. The acting is a tad overly dramatic, but you come to expect that from a Griffith picture. There is an epic ending scene that seems to be a bit out of place, but it ultimately works in the end. The one thing that I cannot forgive would be the several key missing scenes.

Having been released in 1920, Way Down East was not as well maintained as some of Griffith's other movies. In the version that I watched there were times when the screen would turn to black with white lettering that read "action missing". The text would go on to explain the missing action, which is nice, but I was so enthralled by the characters that it was a disappointing element.

I do not want to give anybody the wrong impression; the missing scenes do not ruin the film. It was simply a sad note to not get to see as much of Gish's great performance as possible. It makes you wonder what the early film industry thought about their craft. Was filmmaking just a way to make money? Or was it an art to be cherished? It has been said that Griffith was in film solely for the money, but I have a hard time believing that. Whether outright racist or in support of the common man, every film by him that I have seen has an overlying message. Unlike the director's of today, this is a man who said something important in each of his pictures. Agreeable or not, this is an admirable conquest for a director.

Way Down East had serious potential to end up on my sub-list of the 1077, Jake's 10 Perfect Movies. Upon serious thought over the film, I have decided to significantly downgrade it because of the missing scenes. Even after the long running time - I was asking for more.

Way Down East: B+

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blade Runner: Theatrical Cut (Scott. 1982)

"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."


On the Mt. Everest of science fiction in film, you obviously have Star Wars (1977), Metropolis (1927) and maybe even The Wrath of Khan (1982). For me, it is quite easy to place the final head on the mountain. Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is an epic film that can be literally different with every viewing.

The reason I say that is because director Ridley Scott has re-released his sci/fi masterpiece with additional footage and different endings an astounding seven times. This means that there are seven differing versions of the same film. I chose to review the theatrical cut because it is probably the most common, least expensive and most seen cut of the film.

In the year 2019, Los Angeles has become a sort of cultural wasteland. Though the scenery is futuristic, the audience immediately knows that this is not a future that we want for our world. Large corporations have developed the technology necessary to create android humans known as Replicants who look exactly like actual humans. Their purpose was to do strenuous labor. The Tyrell group created the most lifelike version of replicants and gave them increased strength, agility and intelligence. They became dangerous to the people of Earth and were banished to do labor on other intergalactic colonies. Any replicant that returns to Earth will be "retired" by an agent known as the blade runner.

This is where our story starts. Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard - an exhausted former blade runner who has seen his share of hard times. He is "asked" to return to his duties one more time in order to save the world from a particularly violent group of returning replicants - Nexus-6. This sends him on an adventure that includes love, violence and interesting detective work. It is a familiar premise set amongst the futuristic backdrop.

In terms of a genre, Blade Runner is obviously science fiction. But why does it have to stop there? I see the film as a noir set in the future. It is a definitive example of the neo noir movement. Ford's narration, moral questions and the dangerous love affair all share a significant noir sentiment. It was extremely neat to see these two classic genres meet in such a well crafted way. Hampton Fancher and David Peoples wrote a very ambitious and detailed screenplay that carried over even after the controversial studio cuts.

Music is also a major contributor to the success of Blade Runner. Ridley Scott famously wanted to make the future seem neo-futuristic. He wanted everything to seem old, but new again. This is exactly what the composer, Vangelis, was able to accomplish. An Academy Award winning composer, Vangelis used his synthesizers to produce a fluent and robotic melody in strange signatures. It has been described as a sort of "electric noir" by some, and it perfectly compliments the acting, themes and effects.

I think everyone initially has the same thought during the intense battle scenes - why did the Tyrell corporation need to make such realistic looking robots with increased everything? How did they not see the threats that could come out of this project? They should have made some outlandish looking robots that could very easily be distinguished from humans. Though you will undoubtedly question Tyrell's brainpower, it is not a big enough detractor to make the movie not work. It is the small details that keep a film from being perfect.

Yes, the theatrical cut of Blade Runner is widely considered to be the worst version of the film. If that is the case then Ridley Scott is a genius. I have not been this entranced by a universe since the first time I saw Star Wars. The ending of this version needs work, but it did eventually get it right.

Blade Runner: Theatrical Cut: B+

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vinyl (Warhol. 1965)

"Edie Sedgwick..."


One of the most frustrating things about the 1077 would have to be the "art films" that the author threw in for the purpose of torturing the book's readers. Do not get me wrong, I have enjoyed watching some things like Wavelength and Hold Me While I'm Naked. But some films have been a little on the too unconventional to be good list.

At this point in my life I have seen worse and stranger films than Andy Warhol's Vinyl, but I cannot say that improved my veiwing experience. The film is the pop-artist's interpretation of Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange" and was made six years before the much more famous Kubrick version. Why is Vinyl not as memorable as the widely known and accepted 70's adaptation? The answer to that question is easy - Warhol's version sucks.

Vinyl does follow the basic story of "A Clockwork Orange". Victor is a troubled youth who is taken in and made subject to a terrible experiment that makes him submissive to violence. If left at this, the movie would have been kind of neat, but poor production quality and significant artistic liberties make this an unusual and uncomfortable experience.

In this film, the camera hardly moves. All of the characters exist is the same small space and world. Warhol's camera is the dictator over what is important, and it never allows the viewer to get a full sense of what is going on. This creates a cramped and almost unwatchable series of events that are sort of explained, yet hardly audible.

The acting is almost laughably bad. The cast is made up of Andy Warhol's Factory regulars, and I would be surprised if any of them knew how to properly play a character. Some names that may shout out to art snobs are Gerard Malanga (in the lead role) and Ondine (as Scum Baby). Watching these "famous" socialite figures bumble through their lines is sometimes hilarious. You can hear voices off screen feeding lines to the actors. If they forget what they are saying they will just stop and move on to the next part. It is unbelievable that Vinyl got as far as it did in production.

But that ties in to what makes Vinyl sort of interesting. This is not a film that was rehearsed ahead of time. The actors did not know their lines or cues or anything before Warhol put the camera on them and shouted action. Heck, it does not even have an opening or ending sequence of credits. All we open and close to is Warhol yelling the names of the cast and crew from off camera.

There is also a very strange homosexual sadist scene around the end of the picture. I cannot confirm or deny whether or not the source material contained any sexual undertones, but Warhol must have seen them in there somewhere. I am not sure why they decided that leather masks and wax burning was the way to go, but I remember the torture scene in the novel to be a bit less...weird.

One positive note about Vinyl is that the audience gets to see the beautiful Edie Sedgwick throughout the entirety of the action. She serves as almost a part of the set. She does not speak, but she smokes and dances and forces the audience to pay attention to her. It is no doubt that Warhol wanted her to be a star. She has a mesmerizing quality about her. Knowing the story of her tragic life and death, it was almost sad to see her first on-screen appearance. She did not look as though she knew what she was getting into with the Factory. Even if she did, she was out of place.

Vinyl is not the least entertaining movie that I have ever seen, but I cannot understand why it has been deemed significant. Yes, an Andy Warhol telling of "A Clockwork Orange" might seem interesting to the everyday moviegoer - but the horrible acting, sound quality and direction makes the whole thing not worth the time.

If this film had been directed by anybody else, I doubt the public would have ever even heard of it. I would have been okay with that. Pop-art and the fifteen minutes of fame may be the good things that Andy Warhol brought to the world, but Vinyl is a bad movie. I would rather look at the soup can for 70 minutes....

Vinyl: F

Friday, September 2, 2011

October: Ten Days That Shook the World (Eisenstein. 1928)

"We have the right to be proud that to us fell the good fortune of beginning the building of the Soviet State and, by doing so, opening a new chapter in the history of the world."


From the start of Sergi Eisenstein's October the audience can tell that they are watching something dramatic. This is a film that chronicles the events of the Russian revolution in the early 20th century.In other words, this is another pro-Bolshevik film that was commissioned by the Soviet government to honor themselves.

Eisenstein was chosen to direct this documentary of sorts because of the national acclaim he had gathered from The Battleship Potemkin, but this film did not match the international success. For years, film snobs and movie nerds have discussed why this film did not reach the same massive audience. For me it was simply an uninteresting film. I am not a Soviet. And though I respect their culture, Eisenstein's frantic shooting style was confusing for me due to my lack of cultural understanding.

Though the story was relativity lost on me, the style of the brilliant Russian director was extremely noticeable. His entire concept of the "intellectual montage" was put on display throughout October. He believed that montage is "an idea that arises from the collision of independent thoughts [wherein]each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other".

Seeing the film on Netflix.com may have been a mistake. As pretentious as it has apparently become, I legitimately enjoy a well made silent film. The version that is available on instant has been reedited and severely Americanized. I was forced to wonder how much of the original film I was even seeing. This did not make the film any more or less entertaining, but it did make the film easier to get lost in.

October is not a boring film. It is leaps and bounds more entertaining than Earth. It is also a neat venture into the romanticized history of Russian government. I guess my only issue is that it seems to be targeted at only a 1928 Soviet audience. The film is dated, unlike Potemkin.

October: C

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Reckless Moment (Ophüls. 1949)

"You don't know how a family can surround you at times."


Have you ever watched a movie and, though you enjoyed it, yearned for a more rewarding ending? Max Ophüls' The Reckless Moment is a perfect example of that experience. This is an interesting film noir-esque drama with some significant performances from the cast, but the story seems to have left me unsatisfied and disappointing.

The Reckless Moment tells the story of Lucia Harper. She is a dedicated mother who gets mixed up in a murder mystery through a series of misjudged events. Though she and her family had nothing to do with the dead body in their backyard, Harper has reason to believe that the man was murdered by her daughter. She then goes to great lengths to protect her family.

Joan Bennett is perfect for this role. Her voice and posture remain strictly rigid while the world crumbles around her. It was almost as if she did not hesitate before accepting the role of protective mother. I am not sure if it is intended, but the audience may also get a selfish undertone from Bennett's performance. Though we are not introduced to an All That Heaven Allows type of country club judgmental system, an intelligent viewer can see the multiple reasons why the police were not called.

The shining performance in The Reckless Moment is given by a subtle and debonair James Mason. As Eddie Izzard has said several times, Mason has the voice of God. Listening to his Irish-accented character talk is easy and pleasing to the ear. His calmness in tone, as a gangster out to blackmail Lucia, makes the entire film seem more on edge and alarming.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Reckless Moment is its unconventional spin on film noir. In all of the noir that I have seen, I am not sure if I have ever seen a female protagonist. This is not a vixen causing mayhem, but rather a strong female lead who is trying to make up for her follies. When you look at the continued work of Max Ophüls, it makes sense that he would do a film with a strong female lead. The working noir the audience sees is a testament to his talent as a director.

Nothing about this film is extremely memorable. In fact, Mason may be the only GREAT thing about it. When looked at through the definition of its specific genre, The Reckless Moment is an intriguing piece of cinema. I wanted more from the ending, but the beginning and middle were good enough.

The Reckless Moment: B-