Friday, July 27, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- Jane Greer Move Over-Lizabeth Scott’s “Too Late For Tears”

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the film noir Too Late For Tears.

DVD Review

Too late For Tears, starring Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea, United Artists, 1949

Too late for tears is right, probably too late at about age six for our shoot-‘em-up femme fatale Jane (played her is demonic fashion by usually demure, if always husky-voiced, Lizabeth Scott). They, those tears, got all dried up and shriveled as she furtively pushed her way forward in this wicked old world. And every man in sight had better watch out, and not turn his back. Jane Greer from Out Of The Past had better move over because there is a new sheriff (actually anti-sheriff) who is not to afraid put a slug, or six, in a guy who will not do her bidding, or even think about not doing it. There are two kinds of femme fatales in this wicked old world, those with hearts of gold and those with no hearts. Dear Jan e fits the later in surprising interesting B crime noir under review, Too Late For Tears

Yes, some of the dialogue is a little stiff and the copy I reviewed had some technical glitches in it but this one nevertheless held my attention. Partially because cinematically anyway it is easy to “fall” for a heartless femme, especially when she gets those wheels in her head turning madly for whatever is it is she is after (and gets those guns blaring too). Partially as well because the theme of the film, although greed as a driving force in human history has been done unto death, crime doesn’t pay gets a little different workout here as the plot develops and is resolved.

Divorcee Jane (prior husband committed suicide, prompted or not, by his business failures and therefore no dough status made him bum of the month is dear Jane’s eyes) is married to a regular middle class guy, Alan, (with nice digs in Hollywood, 1940s Hollywood) who she had latched onto to make her fame and fortune (mainly the latter). While convertible cruising the Hollywood hills a passing car dumps a parcel in the backseat (good aim) of their car. Turned out there was some serious dough (serious 1940s dough now strictly coffee and cakes money) stashed there as part of a blackmail payoff. Naturally the money hunger wheels start working in Jane’s head (although not in Alan’s for which he would pay dearly, very dearly). She taunts Alan into keeping it at the bus station for a while, although against his better judgment.

Enter the “owner” of the dough Danny (played by Dan Duryea) who wants it back (naturally). The rest of the plot centers on Jane playing off every man who gets in her way, starting with kindred spirit Danny, as she tries to “con” a con. Hubby Alan is the first by a few off-hand point blank shots from his own gun when he decides to turn the dough in. Later, after hubby’s demise, when Danny now knee –deep as an accomplice to Jane’s madness gets cold feet at murder (murder of a woman in this case, Alan’s sister, who is getting suspicious about missing Alan’s whereabouts) he takes the fall, this time with some untimely poison administered by guess who. And eventually trouper that she is, Jan is getting ready to plug a guy who turned out to be her ex-husband’s brother who is seeking revenge (possibly) for his brother’s death before her own untimely death. Whoa! So guys if some husky-voiced dame, a blonde probably, wants to keep some off-hand dough, let her keep it, and for god’s sake don’t turn your back.

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