Too Late For Tears (1949) – A Review
If you find yourself in the middle of a film noir you’ll probably think you have it made at first. A seemingly great, golden stroke of fortune smiles down on you randomly. There doesn’t seem like there could possibly be any drawbacks to it. Sure it might look shady, but what the heck it’s worth the risk.
Plus, you’re starring alongside a beautiful woman who seems to be completely in love with you. Life is sure great huh? Well, you better take a step back, really look at the situation and keep one eye on her the whole time and not trust her for a minute!
The classic femme fatale has made many oblivious leading men fall for her trap. It’s one of the staples of a film noir and they’re one of the most fun elements to it. Too Late For Tears (also known as Killer Bait) certainly adds another one to the list.
I didn’t know anything about this film when I started watching it. That’s a rare thing for me nowadays. All I knew was it was a film noir and a seemingly sweet couple find a suitcase of money. That’s all…. and that’s where the story just starts. It was directed by Byron Haskin and written by Roy Huggins who would go onto a long prolific career of television writing.
I’d rather not get into a great deal of detail about the story. The fun is seeing how things escalate and unfold. Let me just say, it’s a very satisfying entry in the noir genre.
What I will say is what you already should know in a film noir – when it comes to a huge amount of money greed always comes into play and brings out the characters worst traits. A suitcase full of money is great motivation for folks to start lying, killing and covering things up.
Alan Palmer (Arthur Kennedy) and his wife Jane (Lizabeth Scott) randomly get handed said suitcase and it doesn’t take too long before pressure starts mounting. No nonsense Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) is looking for it, a mysterious friend (Don DeFore) from Alan’s past suddenly shows up and Kathy Palmer (Kristine Miller), Alan’s sister starts to wonder why the couple is acting so strange.
It’s fun to watch all these characters try to play each other, either trying to get the money or just trying to find out the truth as to what is going on.
Jane is the most interesting character who turns into an extremely conniving and dangerous character. Even Duryea, who played his share of tough guys onscreen and is a favorite of mine, looks to be outmatched by Scott’s ruthlessness. She plays real hardball and is willing to goto any lengths to hold onto this suitcase.
Fair warning – the copy I watched from Netflix was pretty awful looking. Film frames and sound got choppy in parts, but I was still able to follow the story pretty clearly. I think it might be the best version of the film out there unfortunately.
If you’re a fan of the noir genre you should check this more obscure movie out. It’s not like we haven’t seen a lot what befalls on these characters in noir before, but it’s done very well and it kept me interested to see how it all turns out in the end.
Hey, here’s the whole movie to watch!