Monday, July 19, 2010

TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949)

Lizabeth Scott is a mean, heartless bitch that you don't want to cross. One evening while out driving with her husband she decides she doesn't want to go to dinner with friends after all so she yanks the key out of the ignition and during the ensuing struggle the headlights flash on and off. As fate would have it there's a guy waiting for a car to signal him by flashing on his lights. The mysterious guy quickly drives past and tosses a bag in their back seat. They look and it 60 grand in unmarked bills! Being a cold-hearted, venom-spitting witch, she wants to keep the money, but her husband is a square and he wants to turn the money in. But she ain't going to let that happen, even if she has to kill everybody who gets in her way!

TLFT was obviously filmed on a very low budget, but the story is strong enough and the cast is talented enough to make it work. I especially liked Arthur Kennedy who did a lot with such a small role; Dan Duryea is great, as always, and even gets off a few funny lines. It's not going to be the best noir you've ever seen or even really that original (certain scenes and story elements reminded me of 1944's DOUBLE INDEMNITY), but it's worth a watch, even if just to see Lizabeth Scott hissing like she was channeling Ann Savage from DETOUR! Now that's a compliment!

My biggest complaint would be the cinematography was just average. TLFT could have benefited greatly by some long shadows and John Alton-style camera angles. The cinematographer who worked on this film was William C. (A PLACE IN THE SUN, GIANT) Mellor, so I expected a little more from him.