A blend of melodrama and film noir, The Reckless Moment stars Joan Bennett as Lucia Harper, a suburban housewife whose husband is away on business. Her daughter, Bea (Geraldine Brooks), an aspiring artist, has fallen for Ted Darby (Shepperd Strudwick), a shady older man from Los Angeles who claims to be an ex-art dealer. One night, after a secret rendezvous in the Harpers' boathouse that turns into an argument, Bea accidentally kills Darby. When Lucia discovers his body in the morning, she panics and dumps it in the lagoon instead of contacting the police, who would surely charge her daughter with murder. Her problems only increase when a suave Irish gangster named Donnelly (James Mason) shows up with a package of love letters from Bea to Darby, and blackmail on his mind. With her husband out of town, Lucia has no choice but to give in to his demands, and brings him along on a desperate quest to raise the money that takes them from bank to loan office to pawn shop. Along the way, Donnelly seems to develop sympathy -- even affection -- for her. When his boss shows up to pressure him into finishing the job, Donnelly's surprising decision sets up the film's startling climax. The Reckless Moment was remade in 2001 by Scott McGehee and David Seigel as The Deep End.
by Tom Vick synopsis