Skip to content

Too Late For Tears (1949)

What’s not to love when Kristina over at Speakeasy challenges me to a Dan Duryea Noir flick that I hadn’t seen? Nothing I can come up with. Now toss in one of the genre’s great femme fatales, Lizabeth Scott plus Arthur Kennedy and I’m hooked.

Welcome to the monthly challenge where Kristina and I send a title to the other to broaden our viewing experience or just catch up with a title that has somehow eluded the other throughout the years as is the case here.

“Here’s to crime. It pays and pays.”

too late for tears poster

On a late night drive Lizabeth Scott and hubby Arthur Kennedy find themselves the recipient of a bag containing thousands of dollars. It’s a case of mistaken identity when their convertible is mistaken for another and the bag is thrown to their car from another passing by. A high speed chase ensues where if you look closely you’ll see our couple drive by Grauman’s. Yes it’s a Hollywood setting.

One look at Lizabeth Scott’s eyes afire when she pours the money onto the bed and we know where this is headed. Especially when she’s at odds with hubby Kennedy over his desire to turn it in to the authorities. He gives in slightly by agreeing to put the bag into a storage unit and holds on to the baggage claim ticket. The ticket will of course play a huge part in just how our plot develops and plays out.

While Kennedy is out of their homey apartment Liz opens the door to find the wonderful tones of Dan Duryea standing in the doorway.

‘Where’s my dough?” This after he finds a stash of furs that Scott has boxed up in a cupboard. She has answers for everything at which point Dan rhymes off with, “You’re smooth honey.” A couple slaps later mixed with a threat and he’s out the door with the promise of returning.

Too_Late_for_Tears__(1949)

Poor honest, hard working Kennedy returns to find the furs and just knows he’s in over his head with a woman who has eyes and desires for the finer things in life and little worries about how to acquire them. When Dan returns to push Liz around while Kennedy is out the script would have us believe that a split is agreed upon over an afternoon escapade in the bedroom.

too-late-for-tears

Liz continues her descent into greed and debauchery when she kills her hubby and seeks out Duryea as a partner with the full intention of turning the tables on him when the time comes. For now she needs Dan to help her locate the claim check for the bag full of money. This is where things are bound to get complicated and go awry just as Liz believes the riches are within her grasp.

Kristine Miller stars here as Kennedy’s sister who believes that Scott is somehow behind her brothers disappearance. When Don Defore turns up as an old army buddy of Kennedy, Miller enlists him to help her seek out the truth.

I’d love to go on with the plot line but I’m not one for playing spoiler here so will come to a halt at this point and look into other aspects of this thoroughly entertaining Noir effort from director Byron Haskin.

too late 1

I have to hand it to Liz Scott here. This is one evil b-t-h she gets to play this time out. From the outset when she lays her hands on the cash her mind is made up that she’ll keep every dime for herself with no intention of letting Kennedy talk her out of it or allow Duryea’s shadowy figure to reclaim it. Her lies are so complete that it gets to the point she actually looks like she believes the lines she’s throwing at the other characters as she digs the hole deeper.

Don Defore gets a good role here in something a bit different than I am used to seeing him in. To me he’s always been something of a Jack Carson type when Carson wasn’t available. But there’s a mystery to his character as well and just what his actual motivation is in regards to nudging Scott towards a confession. Could he be tied up with the cash and working for his own gain? I wasn’t so sure one way or the other and that makes for an entertaining viewing experience.

too late 2

Dan Duryea. Just the name sets up a characterization one should expect from the roles he’s usually assigned to. Here he’s aggressive, threatening and isn’t above taking advantage of Liz in the bedroom. But what adds to his role here is the fact that he’s really a novice when it comes to just how far she is willing to go to hold on to the money. That said, Dan is wonderful in this black and white thriller as he so often was during his long career that saw him move easily from gangland roles to the outlaws of the western. For more on Dan and his films just click here.

TOO-LATE-FOR-TEARS_470x350

The screenplay is credited to Roy Huggins which he adapted for the screen from his own Saturday Evening post serial and was produced by Hunt Stromberg.

Spotting character actors is always a bit of fun for me so make sure you catch a super young Denver Pyle being hit on by Scott after he thought he was doing the initial “hitting.” Once again Scott’s character turns the tables to her advantage even in this small scene with Denver. You’ll also catch sight of former thirties bad boy specialist Billy Halop in a brief role. Halop was at one time a popular Dead End Kid opposite Cagney and Bogie.

Thankfully, Too Late For Tears was recently rescued from deteriorating beyond recognition and played on TCM in an all new reconstruction. I had planned on watching it and when Kristina issued it as a challenge it only added to the fun. Now it’s time to head over to see what Kristina was assigned to check out. It’s an Irene Dunne film that she mentioned she hadn’t yet seen though admitting to being a fan of the leading lady. Just click here to be transported back in time to a real live Speakeasy where the lovely Kristina is dishing out the drinks.

11 Comments »

  1. So now there’s two movie ladies never to go in a boat with (Gene Tierney being the other). Isn’t this a fun nasty movie, with villains just made for each other.

    • Tierney could hook me in with her looks. I’d be a goner. As for Liz and Dan, that’s exactly it. They are just made for each other and she just chews him up.Great Noir fun. Thanks for suggesting this one.

  2. I’ve long wanted to see this film but held off since all reports said the available editions were very poor. I understand the new restoration is to be made available on disc at some point, so I guess I’ll just have to hang on a little longer.

  3. I love how Duryea eventually realises that Scott is even more devious and deadly than he is.
    Great movie and great review.
    And I like how you and Kristina challenge each other every month.

  4. Such a great film! You’ve made me want to see it again.

    I’m glad you didn’t give away too many plot points, for those who haven’t seen this before. Lizabeth Scott is PERFECT in this role.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"For me, cinema is a vice. I love it intimately." Fritz Lang

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"For me, cinema is a vice. I love it intimately." Fritz Lang

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

%d bloggers like this: