Too Late for Tears (1949) Poster

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Solid, Tension-Filled Crime Drama
Snow Leopard29 August 2005
This is a solid and sometimes memorable crime drama, filled with tension, and featuring some pretty good performances from the cast. The noir atmosphere works well, and the story, while perhaps far-fetched at a couple of points, is quite involved and grabs your attention from the beginning.

Lizabeth Scott gets one of her best roles, as a hard-hearted woman who seizes her opportunity to play the male characters against each other so that she can get what she wants. Scott is slightly lacking in the glamour that would make her a really memorable femme fatale, but she has plenty of strength, and her voice works well for the character. Dan Duryea gives one of his many fine noir performances, taking good advantage of his many opportunities with his shady character. Arthur Kennedy and Kristine Miller are both sympathetic as the more innocent of the main characters. Don DeFore's character sometimes seems a little out of place, but he is often crucial in advancing the plot.

The story starts with an unlikely coincidence, with a bag of money that gets tossed into the wrong car. But from there, most of the story developments follow naturally, and the tension is built up rather well as things get more complicated. It's an entertaining movie that has most of the things that fans of film-noir and crime drama would want to see.
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10/10
great acting and story
Brent Trafton24 July 2000
This movie is worth searching for. It features great performances from Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea. This may be Scott's finest role. As the story progresses, she becomes more motivated and corrupted by greed. They sure don't write stories like this anymore! Too bad the production was so low budget and the film quality has deteriorated. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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7/10
Femme Fatale Favorite
mstomaso15 April 2007
Byron Haskin of Arsenic and Old Lace and War of the Worlds fame teamed up with Roy Huggins to create this solid film noir entry. Huggins writing is superb for the genre - neither pretentious nor overly manic. The pace is brisk but not painfully so. And the film is very well conceived, well directed, well edited and very well acted.

The remarkable Lizabeth Scott (Jane Palmer), married to a young Arthur Kennedy (Alan Palmer), is the focus of our attention. The coupled are driving to a friend's house when a car flashes them and its occupant tosses a leather bag with 60,000 dollars into their car and drives off. Jane wants to keep it, Alan wants to turn it in. Soon, this windfall becomes a mixed blessing, as it reveals a rather frightening side of Jane's personality. The plot intertwines noir twists and turns and incessant mystery and, frequently, winds up in unanticipated places.

Lizabeth Scott is PERFECT, and really MAKES this film as much as the intriguing story and successful directing. Don Defore also turns in a notable performance as does Kristine Miller. Dan Duryea was nicely cast in his role as the heavy, but his performance here was just a sliver below his usual par.

This is very nice bit of noir cinema and will satisfy most noir fans, as well as modern crime drama aficionados. Recommended!
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8/10
Lizabeth Scott tries her luck as unregenerate femme fatale in hard-boiled noir
bmacv22 May 2003
Lizabeth Scott did her best remembered work in film noir (more than half of her only 21 screen credits fall within the noir cycle), and became one of its iconic faces. Rarely, however, was she called upon to play the fully-fledged femme fatale, and there's probably a reason for this: She couldn't bring off duplicity.

Her smile had no shadings into wry, or ironic, or smirky; it had but one setting – a fresh, guileless grin that lit up like a Christmas tree. F. Scott Fitzgerald (in his sad screenwriting days) observed of Joan Crawford that you couldn't give her a simple stage direction like `telling a lie' because then she'd give an impersonation of Benedict Arnold betraying West Point to the British. But Scott can't manage even that, which results in confusingly mixed signals when her characters are motivated by malice, like Coral Chandler in Dead Reckoning: Her smile keeps convincing us that she's on the up-and-up.

Her damn smile keeps switching on in Too Late For Tears, even though there's no doubt that she's one hard, cold case. She and husband Arthur Kennedy are bickering one night en route to a party in the Hollywood Hills when suddenly a suitcase crammed with cash lands in their roadster. He wants to turn it over to the police, but she persuades him to think it over, so they check the valise at Union Station. When she starts buying clothes and furs against the checked capital, it's clear she has no intention of surrendering the windfall; we learn that her background was `white-collar poor, middle-class poor,' and that she'd made a previous marriage solely for money.

Strange men start ringing her doorbell. First Dan Duryea shows up, a blackmailer for whom the payoff was intended. He slaps her around playfully (`What do they call you – besides stupid,' she taunts him. `Stupid will do – if you don't bruise easily,' he purrs back). Quickly Scott maneuvers Duryea into helping him murder Kennedy but still won't tell him where the money's stashed. Though wary, he falls for her, starts hitting the bottle, and grows careless. Meanwhile, Kennedy's sister (Kristine Miller) harbors suspicions about his mysterious disappearance. When the next caller (Don DeFore) shows up, claiming to be an old Air Corps buddy of Kennedy's, she makes an alliance with him to find out what's really going on. And the claim ticket for the money keeps changing hands....

The plot is none too simple, and in consequence director Byron Haskin spends a lot of time trying to keep it clear rather than addressing some questions about character and logic that inevitably arise. Why did the avaricious, manipulative Scott marry Kennedy in the first (or second) place? Why does the sister live so conveniently close? How did Duryea, and for that matter DeFore, find Scott so easily? But few thriller plots are so tightly constructed that they survive rigorous analysis. Too Late For Tears passes muster as hard-boiled, late-40s noir and as one of Scott's hardest, strongest performances, inappropriate smile and all.
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8/10
The Almost Perfect Film-Noir
Claudio Carvalho7 May 2016
In Los Angeles, Alan Palmer (Arthur Kennedy) and his wife Jane Palmer (Lizabeth Scott) are driving to a party when a suitcase is thrown in the back seat of their car. When they open the suitcase, they find a large amount but they are chased by another car and they flee. Alan decides to deliver the money to the police, but Jane opposes and wants to keep it. So Alan decides to keep the suitcase with the money in a locker at the Union Station to decide what to do. A couple of days later, Jane spends a large amount in furs and other gifts for her. Then a man called Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) comes to their apartment and Jane believes he is a detective and let him in; but soon she learns that he is also seeking the money. When Alan returns from his work and finds the shopping, he becomes upset and Jane does not tell anything about Danny. During the night, Alan and Jane go to a boat ride to make amends and she accidentally kills him with his pistol. Danny is forced to help her to dump the body in a lake and Jane reports to the police that her husband is missing. Her sister-in-law Kathy Palmer (Kristine Miller) that lives in the same floor snoops around Jane's apartment and finds the receipt of the locker. When she is sneaking out, she meets the stranger Don Blake (Don DeFore) that tells that is Alan's friend. Meanwhile Jane is seeking the receipt to get the money for her. Why the money was thrown to the backseat of the Palmer's convertible? Who will keep the money? Who are Danny and Don Blake?

"Too Late for Tears" is a great film with all the elements of the film- noir: there is the sordid motive, the femme fatale and many twists. This movie is probably one of the best roles of the gorgeous Lizabeth Scott. The DVD release by "Dark City" has a poor video that needs restoration. But it is worthwhile watching since the story is excellent. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): Not Available on DVD or Blu-Ray
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Well acted film noir.
Jane and Alan Palmer accidently receive a satchel containing sixty thousand dollars that was intended as a blackmail payoff. Alan wants to turn the money over to the police, but money loving Jane wants to keep it. Meanwhile the blackmailer confronts Jane about his absconded payment. Greedy Jane murders her husband and then pretends to make a deal with the blackmailer. However, a ghost from Janes past returns to be her undoing.

Considering that Byron (WAR OF THE WORLDS) Haskin was never a really good director of actors, this film is very well acted. The cast turns in first rate performances, so good in fact that the performers almost make the viewer not notice that this film has a very far fetched, convoluted plot.

I have seen a lot of these "film noirs" and of all of them, TOO LATE FOR TEARS is probably one of the most cynical. Few other films I have seen have this thick air fatalism hanging over it.

Kristine Miller who plays Alan's sister Kathy, is one of the most beautiful women to grace the screen. This the first time I noticed her, and it's a shame her film career was rather short, and rarely had large roles as she had here.

One note: If you pay close attention, you will see former "Dead End" Kid leader Billy Halop in small role as a boat attendant.
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10/10
Really terrific, total adventure crime and trickery well done!
secondtake28 April 2013
Too Late for Tears (1949)

This is an amazing movie. It's fast, dramatic, filled with great characters and odd twists, and is edited and filmed with great film noir energy. The fact that it's still only available in a terrible transfer from 16mm copies missing many frames is testament to how well it holds up in even the worst circumstances.

Key here is not only Lizabeth Scott as the key figure in nearly every scene, but her husband Van Heflin (an underrated actor if there ever was one). And then Dan Duryea, who plays the same kind of role in every film but it's a role with few equals.

Don't be fooled. This is pure low brow entertainment--or at least not high brow, the intentions being the usual crime related stuff like greed and deception. And murder. Scott is always a quirky actress, but she is her best here, and she gets better as the film goes on.

You also have to admire the basic plot, and the idea that we would all be tempted if a bag of money dropped in our laps, as it does here.

Now the problem is getting a DVD version that's actually watchable. The Film Noir Foundation is supposedly making a quality transfer from a recently found 35mm print, so we'll see (their web site is no help). This might be one movie to watch on a smaller t.v. so that quality doesn't bother you as much. Even so, it will work you over. Great stuff. I hate to admit I've probably seen this six or seven times, but that's how much it just grabs me and makes me sit every time it gets started.
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6/10
an ordinary woman (lizabeth scott) turns into a film noir femme fatale after she finds herself at the wrong place at the wrong time
dougbrode16 March 2006
In the earliest days of TV, local channels used to fill up all their excess time with low-budget films from indie companies, as the 'majors' initially refused to sell or lease their product to what they considered (at the time) a mortal enemy - the small screen, which threatened to keep their regular customers at home. So for those of us who grew up during the fifties, much of our evening time was spent watching the cheaply made films from the thirties and forties, which - for all we knew at the time - were the important releases of that era. One of the most oft telecast films was Too Late For Tears, a turgid but in many ways fascinating B-budget noir that can't compare to the classics of that genre (this is no Big Sleep, mind you) but never fails to interest a viewer. Perhaps that's because the plot is so unique. Ordinarily, as in The Maltese Falcon and dozens of other noirs, the femme fatale is up to no good from the moment we meet here, and hails from a strange netherworld of dirty money and tawdry eroticism. Here, Lizabeth Scott plays a normal everyday suburban style woman who likely has never even received a parking ticket. But when she an her husband (Arthur Kennedy) find themselves on a lonely stretch of highway at night, a car zips buy and throws a bag of money into theirs - the passerby was expecting someone else, and tossed the loot into the wrong car. The husband wants to turn the money over to the police, but something ignites in the woman - she literally explodes before our eyes into the most deadly femme fatale of all, made all the more alluring by Scott's butch/androgynous sex appeal. The casting is all wrong - Don De Fore, who shows up as a tough guy, should've been the husband, with Arthur Kennedy in Don's role - but there's a great part for Dan Duryea as a sleazy character who falls under Liz's hypnotic spell. A contrived ending hurts the impact, but for noir completists, this is one you have (despite its flaws) to see.
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8/10
Greed, Murder & Identity Issues
seymourblack-111 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It's not unusual for a story to begin with a situation in which a character suddenly finds themselves in possession of a sum of money that isn't theirs but what makes this movie so enthralling is the nature of the character in question. As a child, this woman's experience of being brought up in a middle class family that couldn't "keep up with the Joneses" scarred her mentally and emotionally with the result that when her opportunity to become wealthy came along, she wasn't going to stop at anything to achieve her most cherished ambition. Murder, manipulation and deception are just part of her stock-in-trade as she wilfully damages and destroys the lives of the people around her in a way that's incredibly ruthless, cold-hearted and self-serving.

One dark evening, Alan Palmer (Arthur Kennedy) and his wife Jane (Lizabeth Scott) are driving along a quiet mountain road outside Los Angeles when a bag full of cash is suddenly thrown into the back seat of their car from a vehicle that's travelling in the opposite direction. After being chased by another car for a little while, they successfully escape and head home where they discover that the bag contains $60,000. Alan is nervous about having the cash in his possession and wants to hand it in to the police as soon as possible but Jane is determined to keep the money and so persuades her husband to take a little time before making a final decision on what to do with their windfall. A little later, Alan leaves the bag in a locker at Union Station and puts the ticket in his jacket pocket.

Next morning, Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) who says he's a private detective, calls at the Palmers' apartment and tells Jane that he's come to collect the cash. She tells him that the money's already been handed in to the police and so he leaves but promises to return if her story doesn't check out. When he inevitably returns, they initially argue but then come to an agreement to share the cash. As Jane knows that Alan would never go along with this arrangement, she kills her husband at a nearby boating lake and persuades Danny to help her dispose of the body. Jane reports Alan's disappearance to the police and tells her sister-in-law Kathy (Kristine Miller) that she thinks he's taken off to Mexico with a girlfriend. Kathy, who lives in the same apartment building, doesn't believe this story and becomes very suspicious of Jane.

A man called Don Blake (Don DeFore) who introduces himself as an old wartime buddy of Alan's, soon becomes friendly with Kathy who now has Alan's locker ticket in her possession and together they attempt to find out what's really happened to her brother.

The plot of "Too Late For Tears" (aka "Killer Bait") is complicated by a succession of identity issues which begin with the way in which the money comes into the possession of the Palmers and then becomes even more involved as neither Danny Fuller nor Don Blake are who they originally claim to be (with Danny also posing as Alan at one stage). The main focus of the movie, however, is on its extraordinary femme fatale whose greed for wealth knows no limits. Her ability to manipulate men by either acting seductively or threatening them in some way is remarkably successful with one notable exception and the way in which she overwhelms Danny, sees him transform from being a menacing character to one who becomes fearful and very malleable.

Lizabeth Scott takes full advantage of the opportunities that her role offers as she skilfully switches her behaviours and expressions whenever the need arises and in the process, makes Jane's wickedness and motivations absolutely clear. Good performances from the rest of the cast (especially Dan Duryea) add greatly to the enjoyment but ultimately, this is Lizabeth Scott's movie all the way.
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9/10
Very possibly the most treacherous woman in all film noir
David (Handlinghandel)8 January 2008
Yes, that includes Annie Laurie Starr from "Gun Crazy" and a poisonous tea party of others.

And who better to play her than Lizabeth Scott! Scott is of course a noir icon. But this puts her singular talents to use especially well: She has a hoarse, throaty voice. It can sound scared. It can sound seductive -- as it does often in this film. And it can sound tough.

Scott, an excellent actress, had a unique appearance: She is a combination of pretty little girl and tomboy. She has a strangely flat profile and eyes with dark circles often showing under them.

When we meet her here, she and her husband are on their way to a party. She makes him turn back, because she feels the host's wife looks down on her. We never hear about the party-givers again, but her insecurity and obsession with wealth have been established.

As they drive, something is thrown into the back seat of their car. It turns out to be a duffel bag filled with money.

Her kind, loving husband (that superb actor Arthur Kennedy) wants to turn in to the police. She doesn't. They compromise.

Enter Dan Duryea. He calls her "Tiger." He knows what he's talking about.

Enter Don DeFore. He's an unlikely noir figure but he's perfect here.

I am giving away no plot. It's a movie that doesn't turn up often and I want people to seek it out.

Suffice it to say that the Scott character wants that money. And what she does to keep it could fill a very long book.

What's especially interesting about the character is that she is fleshed out. We understand her good side as well as her bad: We learn a lot about her life history. We may waver and feel sorry for her at times. But make no mistake: Jane Palmer (her name in the film) is a very, very naughty girl.
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6/10
This tiger was pure poison
danielj_old9991 September 2005
One of the definitive marks of a film noir for me has always been the presence of a morally vacuous, poisonously stupid, pathologically lying, cold blooded murderess who sucks (or attempts to suck) all associated with her(esp. men) into a whirling abyss of nothingness. This one fits the bill, as noir as they come. Fools you, too: at first I was turned off by the film because Scott and the Plott just seemed stupid and uninteresting...boy does she get interesting...film ramps up in quality quite remarkably after the first twenty minutes or so...from then on a nice toxic mix which kept me suspended until the end. Then again maybe I'm not bright.

I wish the film quality were better on this, hovers around the barely tolerable.
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6/10
DeFore Saves This Story
ccthemovieman-131 August 2006
This film noir was turning out to be a big disappointment but picked up the pace nicely with some interesting twists when Don DeFore's character "Don Blake" entered the story

Meanwhile, Lizabeth Scott ("Jane Palmer") was convincing as the femme fatale and Dan Duryea ("Danny Fuller") was his normal entertaining character complete with some good, wisecracking lines. However, DeFore is the guy who rally snaps this film out of the doldrums.

This is a story of greed and what it can do to people, particularly if they aren't that moral to begin with!

It's nice to see this out on DVD, although, from what I have read elsewhere, I don't believe a decent print of this movie has been made available.
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9/10
What do I call you besides stupid?
krorie18 March 2006
The title "Too Late for Tears" sounds like one for a bad daytime soap opera. The reissue title "Killer Bait" goes too far in the opposite direction, giving the potential viewer the idea that he/she is about to watch a sleazy cheapie. In reality this is one of the best film noir thrillers of them all. When one thinks of the ideal femme fatale, someone such as Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity" comes to mind. But there were few better than Lizabeth Scott. She came on red hot but turned out to be ice cold. She could jab an ice pick in some dude's back then slowly lick the blood off, sort of like the Rolling Stones song, "When you play with me, you're playing with fire."

The theme of "Too Late for Tears" is ageless: the love of money is the root of all evil. What would happen if on a lonely deserted highway in the middle of nowhere a stranger drove by and threw a bag filled with money into the backseat of your car? How would that one mistaken turn change a person's life? This film explores the idea from the standpoint of an incompatible couple. One, a hard working Joe trying to make an honest living and provide his wife with the necessities of life; the other, a seemingly happy spouse but whose heart and soul are filled with rage for being without the niceties of life that others have, especially a few of her husband's friends.

To complicate the story, the person for whom the bag of money was intended arrives on the scene soon enough to get the couple's license plate number. He thinks he can just walk in and grab the money by using muscle and intimidation; that is, until he meets Jane Palmer (Lizabeth Scott) who has a few notions of her own concerning how to deal with greedy gangster types. More complications turn up when the husband's sister enters. She is also a nosy neighbor wanting to know just what is going on. A tall dark stranger arrives who says he's an old friend of Jane Palmer's husband? But who is he really? All this leads to murder and one crazy twist after another until the unexpected denouement in Mexico.

The script by Roy Huggins crackles and bites, for example, Jane Palmer asks Danny sarcastically, "What do I call you besides stupid? To which Danny Fuller throws back, "Stupid will do if you don't bruise easily."

What acting from a stellar cast. Scott has already been mentioned. Dan Duryea as Danny Fuller looking for his money is as egregious as ever, this time outmaneuvered by the wiles of a beautiful doll. The always underrated Don DeFore plays with élan the clever Don Blake with something to hide. Arthur Kennedy makes the most of his limited role of the uncomplicated yet crafty husband Alan Palmer, unfortunately not crafty enough. Even Kristine Miller is good as Alan Palmer's sister, Kathy, who discovers more than she bargains for when she begins to investigate her brother's disappearance. The supporting cast gives its all in many small parts that shine, especially the young Denver Pyle as a hotshot womanizer at the terminal who thinks he has a pickup until he reads between the lines.

With a better title, a bigger budget, and stronger promotion this neglected gem would surely be on every critic's list as one of the classic film noir flicks. As is, the noir fans may have problems tracking it down. It's worth the effort.
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7/10
It could have been a classic
pmcenea17 September 2004
This is a well-plotted movie with many twists and turns. Dan Duryea's role was a notch below the demonic type he usually played in noirs, but he carried it brilliantly, especially the drunk scene. His delivery of the "don't ever change, Tiger..." line alone was worth the price of admission.

Arthur Kennedy and Don DeFore were more than competent, although I felt DeFore didn't fully extend himself, but I wouldn't go to the wall with that opinion.

Kristine Miller didn't have that much screen time but made the most of it, although had a few flat scenes.

Lizabeth Scott, in my opinion was pretty bad. The more tense the scene was the more low-keyed and withdrawn she seemed to become. It seemed that she didn't have any feeling for this character at all...one can only imagine what Joan Crawford would have done with the role. Having said all this, I am going to lay most of the defects at the feet of the director, Byron Haskin. While the characters of Duryea and Kennedy were well defined, the rest seemed to be struggling to find their respective levels. At the end of the movie, I felt like I had been cheated. In a lot of senses the movie is almost unique and should enjoy a larger noir status, but it is a classic case of having all the elements and not having them put in their proper places.

My conclusion? Watch it, you'll enjoy it, but it could have been so much better.
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9/10
Riveting Exploration of the Dark Side of Human Desire
zooey-sophia17 June 2017
Every scene is absolutely exciting, offering us something to ponder about who we really are as human beings and what we'd do if we had the chance to fulfill our desires! The direction is fierce and the viewer is not let off the hook for even a moment. The mood is heart pounding with Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea edging to out manipulate the other, delivering some of most thrilling dialogue written for a noir: "Don't ever change, Tiger. I don't think I'd like you a heart". Set against the brilliant dark and seedy landscapes that make noir terrific, Too Late For Tears is an excellent noir and a great example to get someone interested in the genre. It is terrific that the Film Noir Foundation has restored this and released it on BluRay. It it is one of my all-time favorites and certainly ranks among the top of the genre.
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8/10
" Roguish Dan Duryea is No Match For Lizabeth Scott "
PamelaShort26 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have recently read a long overdue restoration is under consideration for this wicked film noir. Lizabeth Scott plays a middle-class housewife who turns into a cold blooded killer when a bundle of money literally drops into her lap. This a very gritty story with Lizabeth Scott, who gives a mesmerizing performance as one of film noir's wickedest femme fatales ever. Even Dan Duryea's sleazy character is no match for this malevolent woman, obsessed with keeping the found fortune for herself. She bumps off husband Arthur Kennedy pretty quick, and eventually poisons the menacing Duryea. But she still has to deal with a suspicious sister-in-law Kristine Miller and a snoopy questioning Don Defore. Too Late for Tears is the quintessential film noir, full of treachery, backstabbing, murder and sleaze. Lizabeth Scott definitely deserves the title " Queen of Noir." If you enjoy a dark noir story, this film certainly fits the bill.
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8/10
Film Noir with a Female Loser in the Middle
mbanak5 July 2010
My 6th Noir in a self-managed study of Noir.

The web of deceit weaved by this crazy blond is a marvel to behold. Her brazen disregard for common sense, and the way she controls people around her, make her quite hate-worthy, which would make the actress Lizabeth Scott pleased to know.

Kristine Miller stole my heart with her grace and femininity as the innocent in-law, trying to make sense of the mad house of characters dropping in and out of her brother's apartment.

The toxic, manipulative love/hate relationship portrayed by Dan Duryea and Lizabeth Scott radiated sparks of electricity. See if *you* can figure out where that thing is headed. Only one of them can get the upper hand in this caper.

As I watched the version on Archive.org, I found myself wondering, "How are they going to wrap this up with only a few minutes to go?" knowing the clock is running out only heightens the tension of this nifty Noir.

Why aren't more people suspicious around such toxic characters? Maybe we all dread looking behind that curtain. Classic tragedy speaks to this.

This is some excellent story-telling, and is highly recommended.
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9/10
Keeping Up with the Joneses
evanston_dad22 May 2015
Though listed here at IMDb as "Too Late for Tears," the version I saw went by the much better title, "Killer Bait."

Whatever you want to call it, this is low-budget film noir at its best. Lizabeth Scott plays one of the most fatale femmes in noir history, a housewife whose desire to keep up with the Joneses turns her into a mercenary murderer. Through the kind of chance accident that so often kicks off the plots of films noir, she and her husband (Arthur Kennedy) become custodians of $60K that was going to be used to pay off a blackmailer. Not surprisingly, the blackmailer comes calling to collect, and he's not surprisingly played by Dan Duryea, who played sardonic unctuousness better than anyone. He thinks he can bully these inexperienced nobodies into giving him the money back, but he has no idea what he's in for with this no longer very demure housewife. Indeed, the film almost makes a joke out of how scared Duryea becomes of her, feeling the need to have a gun on him any time he's going to meet up with her.

"Killer Bait" is an example of why I love noir. These films were cheap and obscure. They weren't made to be big money makers and there wasn't as much need to make them crowd pleasing. For that reason, they're more honest than the big studio products of the time, cynical about American life in a way that other movies at the time weren't allowed to be. In this film, that pressure to conform to "normal" middle class existence in the post-war years, and the need to define one's success relative to others in materialistic terms, is enough to make one kill. Lizabeth Scott's character is American capitalist society taken to nightmarish extremes.

Directed by special effects wizard Byron Haskin, who proves that he's as at home in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles as he is on the surface of Mars.

Grade: A
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8/10
I'll give it an 8 for never letting up
cluciano6315 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I came across this movie posted on youtube and really was pretty much glued to it. It is tense and well-acted, although at times so dark it was difficult to see what was going on, but that could be due to the copy posted, not sure. Reminded me of Robert Mitchum once saying about one of his noir movies, that it was so dark on set, they had to light a match to see one another.

Lizbeth Scott plays a woman ruled by her desire for money. She wants to keep the money that was inadvertently tossed into the back of the car she and her husband were driving in so badly that she will kill him if necessary. And of course it is. She just takes him out onto a little boat on a small lake and shoots him. Then she picks up the money's real owner, who is already after her for the loot (a creepy Don Duryea), to replace him in the boat, so that the boat renter guy won't notice her coming back alone, lol.

Speaking of acting, the gal who plays the husband's sister Cathy is terrific and great-looking too. Name of Kristine Miller, I've never seen or heard of her before. Hard to look elsewhere when she is in the scene. What happened to her? Lizbeth is tightly wrapped in this film, even for her.And she is on crazy street this time. It is a little incredible just what this woman will do to keep that bag of cash, body count no issue. She kind of reminds me of Lauren Bacall on steroids. You just know she has to come to a bad end and can't wait to see how they'll do it. She's too bad to get away with her deeds, even in a noir.

And bad end does come...in a slightly cliché, awkward manner but it does the trick.
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8/10
See Lizabeth Scott as perhaps the most awful female character in Film Noir history!
MartinHafer27 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Wow--this was a really enjoyable film to watch. And while the plot at times was far from perfect (it seemed a bit overlong and occasionally the characters behaved unrealistically), the character played by Lizabeth Scott was so awful, so malevolent and so selfish that this is a truly standout Noir picture. This is the sort of dame who you just love to hate! I think she was even more awful and conniving than Eva Gardner in THE KILLERS--now that's a "bad girl"! Her performance made the picture. Sure, all the others were great as well, but she stood way out front in my mind. In fact, she was so unredeemingly awful, that Dan Duryea's character was actually afraid of her--and that says a lot because usually Duryea is the sleaziest and slickest character actor in the Noir films in which he appears!
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7/10
Terrific Noir with a great central performance
Tom Dooley4 October 2016
Made in 1949 this is one of those films that is a must for all noir fans. Do be warned though as this fell out of copyright some years ago and was widely duplicated – often very badly – but this is the restored version and is an absolute gem.

Late one night a couple are driving to a party that is far from inviting when a slow car tosses a bag into their open top car. The bag is choc full f cash. The wife is Jane Palmer (Lizabeth Scott) and she decides that she is going to hang onto the cash – despite what her husband wants. So she decides to convince him to keep it. He is cut from a different cloth and it soon becomes apparent how far she will go to keep it.

Now Lizabeth Scott is a show stealer here and that is even though everyone else is great too. She is so convincing as the manipulative and self centred vixen and I just loved it. As I said earlier watch out for poor copies or better still get the restored version. For those of you that love fashion, there are some timeless and elegant gowns on display here too and the men all wear zoot suits so you can't win 'em all. This is a must for all fans of the genre and one that has aged with style.
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8/10
Super Cast, Thrilling Story
Rainey Dawn24 May 2016
A true film noir and a very exciting watch. Super casting, thrilling story. Lizabeth Scott in one of her best performances. Well worth watching if you love a good crime drama.

Jane Palmer (Lizabeth Scott) and her husband Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) are an average couple that has gone out one evening. While driving along in their convertible, a suitcase is hurled into their backseat and next they find themselves being chased. Once the car chase is over and they are safe they realize they have $60,000 in their possession and must figure out what to do with it. Jane's true colors starts shining as she refuses to give the money to the police and tell them what happened - Jane is willing to murder if it means she can keep the money.

8.5/10
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10/10
****
edwagreen5 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Surprised that Arthur Kennedy, who was a best supporting actor Oscar nominee the same year for "Champion," had a relatively small but pivotal part in this excellent film noir.

Lizabeth Scott is tremendous as the cunning, vicious murderer who with husband Kennedy have money thrown into their car and they decide to keep it. Kennedy, as the reluctant husband, is quite good in the part.

When Dan Duryea shows up, things begin to go downhill for our couple as Duryea had thrown the money, that is, blackmail into their car. He begins a love relationship with Scott which ultimately leads to Kennedy's death. Surprisingly, the Duryea character becomes much weaker as the picture goes on, until he also falls victim to the Scott woman, who will stop at nothing to keep the money.

Wait until you see who Don De Fore really is in the film. A tense, exciting and often riveting drama.
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Gritty Little Noir
dougdoepke7 August 2011
No need to recap the convoluted plot. The movie's a sleeper among noirs, thanks mainly to an unpredictable and well thought-out screenplay from writer Huggins. Just when you think you've got things figured, you don't. I especially like the way Huggins subtly reverses Jane's (Scott) and Danny's (Duryea) competitive relationship. Watching the two circle each other is like watching two hungry sharks. Apparently, they want to mate but don't dare get too close. Note too, how effectively director Haskin uses the stylish wide-brimmed hats to veil the identity of men entering a room. I don't recall this clever effect in any other film. This is also one of the few noirs to make the central character a woman (Jane) instead of a man.

Then too, it's a very well cast movie. Duryea is of course Duryea, a major icon of noir. On the other hand, Scott was always more a presence than an actress. Still, her presence here is used to good effect as a greedy spider woman, even if she doesn't achieve much depth. But I especially like the underrated Don DeFore. His trademark nice guy is also used to good effect in what turns out to be something more than just a nice guy. (Be sure to catch ex-Dead End kid Billy Halop as the cranky boat manager.)

I guess the only missing element from classic noir are the angular shadows of moral ambivalence. Haskin does film a number of night scenes, but I don't spot the classic lighting. Perhaps that's because his specialty as a director was science fiction and adventure films. Anyway, I'm not sure why this withering little drama hasn't achieved more recognition. Maybe it's because it was an independent production without studio backing. But whatever the reason, the movie remains a gritty little noir worth catching up with.
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7/10
good noir, good cast
blanche-222 August 2013
Lizabeth Scott sinks her teeth into the role of a ruthless woman in "Too Late for Tears," also known as "Killer Bait," a 1949 film directed by Byron Haskin and written by a man who later became a very popular TV writer-director and creator of some top series, Roy Huggins.

The film also stars Dan Duryea, Don DeFore, and Arthur Kennedy.

Scott plays Jane Palmer, the wife of Alan Palmer (Kennedy) - while driving one night, someone from another car throws a satchel into their car. It turns out to be $60,000 (the equivalent of $598,000 today). Alan doesn't want anything to do with it, preferring to take it to the police, but Jane wants to keep it and spend it. Finally she convinces him to hide the money and wait for a time.

Jane, it turns out, is one tough cookie, and without giving much away, let's say that getting her hands on that money becomes her full time job, and she's determined that nothing and no one will stand in her way. Unfortunately for a few people, they stood in her way.

Really terrific noir set in Hollywood, with Dan Duryea playing a sleaze, but actually less of a sleaze than Jane - he's more of an opportunist than evil; Don Defore is friendly and unassuming as a friend of Alan Palmer's, and Arthur Kennedy, one of the finest actors in film, is just plain wasted. Perhaps this was a film he had to do in order to fulfill a contract, or it was a loanout on trade - it was a waste.

It's Scott's film, and with her husky voice, lovely smile and pouty lips, she's able to, at first anyway, hide a core of steel underneath.

Very good. If you're a fan of film noir, see this one.
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