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Too Late for Tears


This is pure noir. Lizabeth Scott and Arthur Kennedy are a couple who receive a satchel full of money that was intended for someone else (Dan Duryea). He wants to turn the cash over to the authorities; she wants to keep it---no matter what the consequenses: "Jane, Jane, what's happening to us---what's happening. The money sits down there in an old leather bag and yet it's tearing us apart. It's poison, Jane. It's changing you, it's changing both of us." "Chances like this are never offered twice. This is it. I've been waiting for it---dreaming of it all my life, even when I was a kid."

Too Late for Tears is a 1949 American film noir directed by Byron Haskin and starring Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea and Arthur Kennedy (actor). It tells a story about a woman who steals a suitcase of $60.000 and goes on a killing crime spree. The screenplay was written by Roy Huggins, developed from a serial he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post.
The film was reissued as Killer Bait in 1955. Too Late for Tears has been in the public domain for many years; there are several different edits of the film with different running times.<></> On January 25, 2014, a restored 35mm print was premiered by the Film Noir Foundation at Noir City 12 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The film was restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Film Noir Foundation. The restoration combined 35mm dupe negative elements from France with some material from surviving prints. No Blu-ray release has been announced.


Jane and Alan Palmer (Scott and Kennedy) are driving to a party in the Hollywood Hills one evening when someone in another car throws a suitcase stuffed with cash into the back seat of their convertible (car). They are chased by yet another car for a short time but get away. Back at their upper-middle-class Hollywood apartment they find $60,000 inside the suitcase. Jane wants to keep the money, but Alan wants to take it to the police. Alan places the suitcase and cash in a locker at Union Station (Los Angeles), hoping he can sway Jane into willingly giving the money to the police.
A few days later while Alan is at work, Danny (Duryea) shows up at their apartment, tells Jane he is a detective and quickly learns she has the money and has already begun spending it. Her husband Alan likewise becomes upset when he finds she has been running up bills, clearly planning to spend their new-found, ill-gotten wealth. With her heart set on keeping the money, she makes a deal with Danny to split the money. Hoping to kill him, she lures Danny up into the hills but he doesn't trust her and flees.
She later asks a now-wary Danny to meet her in the evening at MacArthur Park near downtown Los Angeles, where she and her husband Alan take a romantic boat ride. Jane has planned to kill her husband Alan in the boat but is stopped by a pang of guilt and begs him to take her to shore, then blurts out that she wants to send the claim check for the locker to the police. Unaware of why his wife is upset, Alan wants to carry on with the boat ride. Hoping to find cigarettes, he picks up her bag and his own gun falls out. The startled look on his face tells Jane he knows straight off what she had in mind, she fearfully grabs the gun, they struggle and she shoots, killing him. When Danny sees the body he doesn't like the notion of being tangled up in a murder, but Jane threatens to tell the police he killed her husband unless he helps her. As she planned earlier, after dumping the body in the lake they leave the park together so as to mislead witnesses into thinking she left with her husband, whom she later reports as missing.
Don Blake (DeFore) claims to be an old army buddy of Alan's and in Los Angeles by happenstance. Whilst looking into what happened to Alan, Don falls in love with Alan's younger sister Kathy, who lives in the same apartment building and has growing worried about Jane. Jane finds out that Don never knew Alan and hits him over the head with a pistol. Having retrieved the cash out of the locker at Union Station, she meets a wholly drunken Danny at his apartment and says she needs him to help her run away. Danny tells Jane he knows he still can't trust her, but that he has fallen in love with her and that money was a "once in a lifetime" blackmail payoff from an Insurance fraud. She kills him with a poisoned drink.
After finding Danny's body, the Los Angeles police tell Don that if he wants them to drain the small lake at Westlake Park in search of Jane's missing husband, he must pay thousands of dollars. Meanwhile Jane flees with all the money to Mexico City, where Don finds her at the posh Reforma Hotel living in a lavish Penthouse apartment. Thinking he is either after the money or with the police, Jane pleads with him to take half. Don tells her he is the brother of Jane's earlier, first husband Bob Blanchard and that he now understands how she could have driven him into killing himself. As Mexican police detectives rush into the room, Jane quickly backs away in tears onto a balcony, then screams as she falls over the railing to her death.


  • Lizabeth Scott as Jane Palmer
  • Don DeFore as Don Blake/Blanchard
  • Dan Duryea as Danny Fuller
  • Arthur Kennedy (actor) as Alan Palmer
  • Kristine Miller as Kathy Palmer
  • Barry Kelley as Lt. Breach


=Critical response=

When the film was released The New York Times wrote positively, "If proof be needed at this point that money is the root of all evil—a theme, incidentally, which has been the root of more than one motion picture—then Too Late for Tears, which came to the Mayfair on Saturday, is proof positive. For producer Hunt Stromberg, director Byron Haskin and scenarist Roy Huggins, who adapted his own Saturday Evening Post serial, herein have fashioned an effective melodramatic elaboration of that theme. Despite an involved plot and an occasional overabundance of palaver, not all of which is bright, this yarn about a cash-hungry dame who doesn't let men or conscience stand in her way, is an adult and generally suspenseful adventure."

See also

  • List of films in the public domain

  • Category:1949 films
    Category:1940s thriller films
    Category:American films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:Film noir
    Category:Films directed by Byron Haskin
    Category:Films set in Los Angeles, California
    Category:United Artists films

    More Public Domain Movies