Sunday, 13 May 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 137: Sat May 26

The Reckless Moment (Ophüls, 1949): Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, 1pm

This free 35mm screening is part of the Birkbeck Institute of Moving Image's event 'Focus on James Mason' (full details here).
Birkbeck Institute of Moving Image introduction:
A consideration of the work of James Mason, which will include a 35mm screening of The Reckless Moment(Max Ophüls, 1949). Sarah Thomas (University of Liverpool) and Adrian Garvey (Queen Mary University of London) will discuss the actor’s rise to fame as a Gainsborough brute, his uneasy transition to Hollywood, and his long career as a distinguished character actor. Covering performance, stardom, gender, genre and industry, we will examine the homme fatal persona and the struggles for independence Mason faced, which are exemplified in Ophüls’ fusion of melodrama and film noir.We will also mark the publication of Sarah’s study of the actor, a new volume in the BFI Film Stars series.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1949 melodrama from Max Ophuls's postwar Hollywood period is usually overlooked in favor of the masterpieces he would realize upon returning to Europe (
Lola Montes, The Earrings of Madame de . . . ). But it's one of the director's most perverse stories of doomed love, with Joan Bennett as a bored middle-class housewife whose daughter accidentally kills her sleazy suitor, and James Mason as an engagingly exotic Irishman who attempts to blackmail the mother. Naturally, they feel a certain attraction. Ophuls spins a network of fine irony out of the lurid material; Bennett is surprisingly effective as a typical Ophuls heroine, discovering a long-suppressed streak of masochism.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is Mark Cousins' introduction to the film on the sadly missed Moviedrome television series.

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