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Too Late Blues (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama | 28 March 1962 (France)
Ghost is an ideological musician who would rather play his blues in the park to the birds than compromise himself. However, when he meets and falls in love with beautiful singer Jess ... See full summary »


John Cassavetes




Complete credited cast:
Bobby Darin ... John 'Ghost' Wakefield
Stella Stevens ... Jess Polanski
Everett Chambers Everett Chambers ... Benny Flowers
Nick Dennis ... Nick Bubalinas
Vince Edwards ... Tommy Sheehan (as Vincent Edwards)
Val Avery ... Milt Frielobe
Marilyn Clark Marilyn Clark ... Countess
James Joyce James Joyce ... Reno Vitelli
Rupert Crosse Rupert Crosse ... Baby Jackson
Mario Gallo ... Recording Engineer
Alan Hopkins Alan Hopkins ... Skipper Camez (as J. Alan Hopkins)
Cliff Carnell ... Charlie
Richard Chambers ... Pete (as Richard O. Chambers)
Seymour Cassel ... Red
Dan Stafford Dan Stafford ... Shelley


Ghost is an ideological musician who would rather play his blues in the park to the birds than compromise himself. However, when he meets and falls in love with beautiful singer Jess Polanski, she comes between him and his band members, and he leaves his dreams behind in search of fame. Written by David Gibson <djg6@ukc.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

band | love | ghost | park | musician | See All (96) »


The Bold Story Of A Man Caught Between Two Strange Loves!




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Cassavetes hated this film. He had this to say after it's release: "I didn't know anything about directing at a major studio, so Too Late Blues never had a chance. I should have made the film my own way - in New York instead of California, and not on an impossibly tight schedule, working with people who don't like me, didn't trust me and didn't care about the film. Too Late Blues was shot in exactly 6 weeks....but I couldn't because I had to follow the shooting schedule. So the film you saw is incomplete and a wreck." See more »


John 'Ghost' Wakefield: Whoever told you that's what you had to do in order to reach somebody?
Jess Polanski: Are you kidding? Just where do I stand without my body, huh? Tell me that!
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Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Michael Feinstein (2015) See more »


Like Lasagna
Music by David Raksin
Duet performed by Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne
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User Reviews

A terrific and underrated classic
20 March 2016 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

John Cassavetes produced and directed "Too Late Blues", as well as co-writing it, in 1961. It was his second film, after "Shadows", but he never really rated it, feeling the studio imposed restrictions on his 'style' and that the end result was too conventional. It wasn't. It may not be quite in the same class as "A Woman Under the Influence" or "Opening Night" but it is still remarkable in its free-wheeling, semi-improvisational way.

It's about jazz musicians and in particular Bobby Darin's pianist and Stella Steven's singer and their on-again, off-again romance. They are both terrific, particularly Stevens, (I think it's one of the great overlooked performances by an actress in the movies), and there is an equally brilliant performance by Everett Chambers as Darin's Machiavellian agent. Indeed the entire supporting cast are outstanding confirming, even at this early stage, that Cassavetes was a great director of actors. The superb black and white photography is by Lionel Lindon and naturally there is some great jazz on the soundtrack.

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Release Date:

28 March 1962 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Too Late Blues See more »


Box Office


$375,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)
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