Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Robert Cummings and Susan Hayward
THE LOST MOMENT (1947). Director: Martin Gabel.

"It's only being with people that makes one lonely."

Publisher Lewis Venable (Robert Cummings) comes to Venice hoping to obtain letters written by the late poet Jeffrey Ashton to the now-aged Julianna Borderau (Agnes Moorehead). Lewis pretends to be an author seeking an atmospheric place to write his novel, and pays an exorbitant fee for rooms in the manor owned by Julianna, who lives with her niece, Tina (Susan Hayward). Both women seem to be keeping secrets regarding Ashton, who simply disappeared many years ago. The Lost Moment sort of uses the basic framework for Henry James' novella "The Ashton Papers," but is turned into an unconvincing psychological mystery with an expected resolution. Cummings [Saboteur] is okay, but not well-cast, and Hayward [I'll Cry Tomorrow] is better as a woman undergoing an identity crisis, while an unrecognizable Moorehead [Dark Passage] certainly scores as the crone-like Julianna. Joan Lorring, Minerva Urecal and Eduardo Ciannelli offer flavorful supporting performances.

Verdict: This dies a slow death long before the conclusion. **.


angelman66 said...

I've always wanted to see this one, ever since a photograph of Agnes Moorehead and her creepy old-age makeup appeared in one of my favorite books, Life Goes to the Movies. This one is rarely if ever on television...

William said...

I found a VHS copy at the NY public library! Moorehead is basically unrecognizable in both appearance and voice -- a very good performance!