The Film (4.5/5)
Some of the best Film Noirs consist of having a female villain-ess, a lady who uses men to no end until she gets what she wants. This type of female is referred to as a “Femme Fatale”, which is what we have in the classic Film Noir, Too Late for Tears. Lizabeth Scott, as Jane Palmer, is a money hungry, conniving, wicked lady who stops at nothing (including murder!) to keep a large sum of money to herself. It all begins when she and her husband, Alan Palmer (Arthur Kennedy from Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) are driving home when a bag filled with money ($60,000 to be exact) gets tossed into the back of their car. The married couple cannot agree to what should be done with the money. Alan prefers to give the money to the police, while Jane, who we have learned is very much money hungry because she is tired of being poor or middle class, wants to keep it. The person that the money was supposed to go to, Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) appears to get his “dough” back. Before you know it she and Fuller scheme to get the money from her husband, which leads to murders, a double cross, and a mysterious man from her past who comes back to haunt the troubled Jane Palmer.
Too Late for Tears is an outstanding Film Noir; the acting is excellent with great direction, with a very literate story. The film moves along very briskly and leads to an exciting climax. Lizabeth Scott is in great form here, playing the shrewd, vicious Jane Palmer; you will never witness a femme fatale as despicable as she was in this movie, at least in movies from this era. In fact, Dan Duryea’s character, Danny, is also a crooked person, but is just overwhelmed and fearful of just how evil Jane Palmer is. What she does in 100 minutes in this movie is unparalleled. Some other films very much worth watching with the great Lizabeth Scott are Dead Reckoning, Pitfall and A Stolen Face.
Having owned both Image and Alpha Video DVDs of Too Late for Tears, watching this Blu-ray from Flicker Alley is nothing short of a visual treat. The movie, in its original 1:33:1 aspect ratio, now in 1080p with an MPEG-4 AVC encode, is the best that I have seen this move look. While not perfect, with some speckles and grain here and there, and a few blurry scenes, this by far is the best looking release of this movie bar none. Black levels are fine, maybe a little dark in some scenes. But overall, there is no need to hold onto those horrible looking DVDs which are full of jump cuts, vertical lines and other imperfections that have been removed for this release. UCLA Film and Television Archive who did the restoration work is to be commended for making the movie look this good.
The audio which is LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 is very serviceable with no real audio issues detected. The sound really booms during those suspenseful moments when the music hits.
Flicker Alley has provided some good extras. We get an audio commentary by film historian and writer, Alan K. Rode, plus two featurettes; one is titled "Chance of a Lifetime: The Making of Too Late for Tears” and the other is entitled "Tiger Hunt: Restoring Too Late for Tears". Rounding out the extras is a 24 page booklet with photos, poster art, lobby cards and more.
Too Late for Tears is an essential movie to have in your classic film noir collection. It’s a great film, now with excellent picture and audio quality, some cool extras and booklet make this easy declaration – this release from Flicker Alley is very much HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!