Reckless is a hodge-podge of melodrama, backstage and quasi-musical. It includes a cinematic recreation [from a story by Oliver Jeffries] of a recent newspaper melodrama involving a torch songstress and a posthumous heir to a tobacco fortune, but it’s a rambling affair in toto.
Direction is as haphazard as the story. The showfolk are ridiculously white-washed and the socialites are made out consistently caddish. It’s one of those things.
From the moment the infatuated Franchot Tone buys out the whole evening’s performance and sops up champagne in the audience while solo-appreciating the performance, up until the elopement, which culminates in his suicide, it’s ever make-believe. William Powell is an equally vague character. A combination sportsman-philanthropist, he’s subsequently influential enough to b.r. and angel the musical comedy which spell the girl’s professional comeback.
Instead of a torcher, Jean Harlow is a dancer, yet for the climatic situation she’s the fulcrum of a dramatic song number – strongly reminiscent of the real-life counterpart. Rosalind Russell as a jilted girl and Robert Light as her brother alone make their chores ring true.