The Lost Moment

  • 1947
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Based on Henry James's novel The Aspern Papers, this was adapted by a radio scribe and directed by a radio actor so there is lots of dialog and not that much visual excitement. Cummings is an American publisher who is told of the existence of a cache of love letters in Venice that were written by a missing poet. This intrigues Cummings, so he goes to Venice...read more

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Based on Henry James's novel The Aspern Papers, this was adapted by a radio scribe and directed by a radio actor so there is lots of dialog and not that much visual excitement. Cummings is an American publisher who is told of the existence of a cache of love letters in Venice that were

written by a missing poet. This intrigues Cummings, so he goes to Venice under another name and meets the recipient of the love letters, Moorehead (as a 105-year-old woman, in a triumph of makeup), and her niece, Hayward. Cummings finds Hayward attractive (who wouldn't?), but she shows him little

more than disdain. The old house is creaky and frightening and Cummings stays on, learns that Moorehead is blind, and does his best to placate Hayward. Loring, a maid, agrees to aid Cummings in his quest. Then the weirdness begins. Cummings hears piano playing one night, decides to investigate,

and finds Hayward at the keyboard in sort of a trance. She thinks that Cummings is the missing poet and that she is her own aunt. Cummings calls on the local cleric, Ciannelli, who explains that Hayward's mind is askew because of the love letters and the still-missing poet. Cummings attempts to

bring her out of her fog with wining and dining, then, once he's learned the location of the letters, steals them. Hayward goes into another fuzzy state, looks for the letters, and can't find them, so she attempts to kill Moorehead because she suspects the old woman took them. Cummings arrives,

admits he took the letters, and then Moorehead says the poet isn't missing at all; he's dead, and she killed him when she believed he was going to drop her. (There's a spot in the garden where nothing grows. That must be the grave.) Hayward hits the carpeted floor in a dead faint and Cummings

takes her outside as the blind Moorehead tries to find the letters, which Cummings dropped on the floor. In doing so, she knocks over a candle that sets the place on fire. Cummings does the brave thing by going into the inferno to save the old lady, but it's not soon enough and she dies. The death

of Moorehead causes Hayward to come out of her mental fog forever. The picture ends with Cummings and Hayward watching the old house burn. Hayward and Gabel didn't agree and the battles on the set were heard across the city. Some good suspense and excellent acting by all concerned, but a

disappointment at the turnstiles. Hayward was 29 at the time and never more ravishing.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Based on Henry James's novel The Aspern Papers, this was adapted by a radio scribe and directed by a radio actor so there is lots of dialog and not that much visual excitement. Cummings is an American publisher who is told of the existence of a cache of lo… (more)

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