Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 June 05 • Friday

The Film Noir Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive have been doing great work in restoring and making available some lesser known or long lost movies.

Too Late for Tears (1949) is one of the best so far.

This is really Lizabeth Scott's movie. She plays a bored and frustrated housewive on the edge. In the opening scene she and her husband are going to another couple's house for yet another dull and, for her, excruciating evening.

Desperate to make her husband turn the car around and take her home, she almost causes an accident. And the erratic driving ends up getting them mistaken as the intended recipient of a large cash payoff that's meant for a gangster.

Scott's character is transformed by the money and, tellingly, she takes the wheel now and out drives the gangster who was supposed to get the money in a hair-raising night-time chase.

For her this is the start of a new life and the only chance to make up for the desperations and deprivactions of the past.

Nobody's going to stand in her way. Not even the gangster himself, played by Dan Duryea, who tracks her down and demands the money back.

He's a tough guy, violent and experienced and accustomed to getting his way by force and intimidation. But he's severely underestimated his opponent here. Lizabeth Scott's character is a force of nature, more like something out of Greek or Roman mythology than post-war California.

I won't ruin anymore of the story. But film noir enthusiasts need to see this.