Too Late for Tears (1949) Byron Haskin
Alan Palmer (Arthur Kennedy) and his wife Jane (Lizabeth Scott, above) are driving through the Hollywood Hills on their way to a party. Along the way, another car nearly hits them, unnerving the Palmers until they discover the driver of the other car has thrown something into their car: a satchel. Can you guess what’s in the satchel? Money, and lots of it. $60,000 worth. (In today’s dollars, that would equal nearly $600,000.) Once Alan opens the bag and Jane sees the money, her face lights up in a way that’s both beatific and hellish. Her life is never going to be the same.
Alan wants to turn the money in to the police, but Jane wants to keep it. Alan places the money in a locker in Union Station until they can agree on what to do with it. All is well until a man named Danny (Dan Duryea, below right) shows up at the Palmer apartment, looking for the dough.
Too Late for Tears is one of those great noir movies with otherwise normal people doing really nasty things and all for money. Scott has a great time with this role, lying and manipulating her way to what she hopes will be a life of exquisite things and exotic places. Jane doesn’t start out as a femme fatale, but she quickly becomes one and one of noir’s best.
Too Late for Tears was recently restored by The Film Noir Foundation, so a huge round of applause to those folks for keeping this film alive. It looks like we will see a Blu-ray release from Flicker Alley in the not-too-distant future, which is cause for celebration. (And if I remember correctly, that release will include an Eddie Muller commentary.)
If you have this Film Noir Collector’s Edition, you already have Too Late for Tears, but under another name. The film was rereleased in 1955 under the title Killer Bait (not the most appealing title, to be sure). The version I watched on Open Culture was utterly awful. If you can, wait for the Flicker Alley edition, which I’m sure will be wonderful.