For Reel

The Reckless Hour (1931)
June 28, 2015, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: John Francis Dillon
3 Stars
The Reckless HourThe first shot of The Reckless Hour is a medium shot of star Dorothy Mackaill lounging on a couch and filing her nails. It instantly communicates her apparent wealth and status, which is only further accentuated when she announces to what appears to be her maid that she’s getting prepared to, “join the ladies.” A las, it is revealed that it was a game of misdirection, and that Mackaill is actually a department store model who lives with her family in poverty. The Reckless Hour plays like a morality tale for young women who are susceptible to the charms of shameless womanizers, but it has the benefit of a star whose great talent was in giving her victimized characters a certain grace and dignity. She delivers one of her more affecting performances of her sound career, even if she is hampered by the fairly limp material. As an added handicap, Joan Blondell is there to steal the show as her brazen sister (as she also did when they shared the screen in The Office Wife). Whereas Mackaill is wrought as humorless and naive, Blondell brings the expected sass to a small role. Fans of Blondell’s will instantly be won over by a scene in which she crudely answers a phone by barking, “Well, come in! It’s your nickel!”

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