Saturday 20 April 2024

Movie Review: Too Late For Tears (1949)

Also Known As: Killer Bait  
Genre: Crime Noir  
Director: Byron Haskin  
Starring: Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy, Don DeFore, Kristine Miller  
Running Time: 100 minutes  

Synopsis: Married couple Alan and Jane Palmer (Arthur Kennedy and Lizabeth Scott) stumble onto a bag full of ill-gotten but untraceable cash. He wants to immediately contact the police, but she believes this is their big opportunity to be rich, and convinces him to wait one week. They store the bag at a train station, but Jane anyway embarks on a spending spree. With Alan still insisting they need to do the right thing, Jane spots an opportunity to achieve her dreams when criminal Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) shows up to demand his money.

What Works Well: This is an unpredictable noir exploring emotions tested by unexpected wealth. Jane Palmer is an unforgettable greed-driven force of evil, and Lizabeth Scott's searing performance brings an epic femme fatale to life. Jane has never met a man she cannot manipulate, and dark references to her first marriage suggest she has been playing this game for a long time. In Roy Huggins' screenplay (based on his own book), every role surrounding her matters, and the small but effective cast shines with intensity. Alan's sister Kathy (Kristine Miller) and his wartime buddy Don (Don DeFore) gain prominence as the twisty machinations unfold.

What Does Not Work As Well: Some of the plot details are clunkily convenient.

Conclusion: But not too late for murder, seduction, and multiple layers of subterfuge.

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