Friday, November 27, 2015
Make it a double feature with Far From Heaven and save!
The Hollywood director from whom Haynes’s Far from Heaven takes its most explicit cues is Douglas Sirk, but it’s a movie arguably just as close in spirit to the exquisite, turbulent, gaspingly moving melodramas that Max Ophüls, having fled Germany, made in the U.S. in the years immediately after World War II. The last of these, The Reckless Moment, is one of the filmmaker’s overlooked masterpieces: a suburban nightmare in which a California housewife (Joan Bennett) finds herself entangled with a shadowy Irish blackmailer (James Mason) after her daughter commits a scandalous crime. Sexual and romantic transgressions, acts of passion and restraint, sinister nuclear families with everything to hide: The Reckless Moment occupies strikingly Haynesian territory, rendered with the exacting eye of a master cinematic stylist.