Written and Posted by Sarah
Too Late for Tears (aka Killer Bait) is a 1949 film noir, starring Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea and Arthur Kennedy. It does not appear to have been remastered on any of the DVD releases so far, so you really get the "noir" feeling. It's still well worth the viewing, though, for any fan of Dan Duryea.
Dan plays a small-time crook in the middle of his first "big job." Blackmail. The price: $60,000 in cash. The movie begins at night on a country road, where Duryea is waiting for his victim to throw a bag full of green-backs into his car as they "pass in the night." Unfortunately for him, the victim mistakes Lizabeth Scott's car for Duryea's and throws the bag into the wrong car.
Don't read any farther if you haven't seen this film yet.
Arthur Kennedy plays the doomed and innocent husband. He gives a good, solid performance. Don DeFore is the hero of the piece and succeeds in tracking down Scott by the end of the film. If you like DeFore, then this is a fabulous showcase for his abilities as an actor. Of course, when it comes to Mr. Duryea --- well, you don't get better. Dan plays his quint-essential "greasy" type of film-noir crook. It's complete with everything: snarl, sneer and slap. By this time, the audiences were accustomed to seeing Dan pay for his crimes in a long-awaited death scene. Too Late for Tears does not disappoint. Scott poisons Duryea with a bottle of stuff that he bought himself, and his reaction is unforgettable. If you're interested in a blow-by-blow synopsis, you'll find one HERE on the TCM website.
I found Lizabeth Scott's acting rather bored and tired. The rest of the cast, however, is top notch. Arthur Kennedy and Don Defore turn in great performances along with lesser-known Kristine Miller who plays Kennedy's unsuspecting sister.
To finish these notes, here is my favorite Duryea line: "At the risk of sounding tedious, just where did you stash my cash?"