Tag Archives: recommendations

Film Noir Friday: Too Late for Tears

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Lizabeth Scott as Jane Palmer

Too Late for Tears was originally released in 1949 starring Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy and Kristine Miller. The film was Directed by Byron Haskin, written by Roy Huggins and adapted from a serial by Roy Huggins. In the public domain, Too Late for Tears is available to watch on YouTube in pristine condition. An original print was found in France and restored at UCLA. This edition premiered on TCM on July 17, 2015.

After a bag of cash is thrown into their backseat by mistake a husband and wife disagree on what to do with it. Alan Palmer, played by Arthur Kennedy wants to turn it in. His wife Jane, played by Lizabeth Scott, wants to keep the money. Things soon go south for her when she meets Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) who claims the money is his. Jane tries desperately to keep the money, going so far as to kill her own husband and bring Fuller into it. As she grows more ruthless, Jane’s sister in law Kathy (Kristine Miller) becomes suspicious of her so she calls in a man from his past.

Too Late for Tears showcases the perfect example of a Femme Fatale. A beautiful women who pulls the strings even as the anti-hero attempts to gain control. Much like the better known Femme Fatale’s like Barbara Stanwyck’s turn as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity, Jane Palmer seduces a man into helping her get away with the murder of her husband. While Stanwyck’s role as Phyllis was straight up seduction, things for Jane are a little different. There was no original plan for her to do this but she was sick of the mundane life she was leading. Being a house wife was not for her so when given the opportunity to change her life she went for it. She was willing to risk her life and things resulted in murder just so she could hold onto it. Beneath the wide eyed innocence that she seems to pull off so perfectly is a killer who’s main goal is to grab a huge chunk out of life damn the consequences.

When a film is found or restored I will always recommend it. Especially if that film is good or at least interesting. Too Late for Tears is one of my new favorite films of the genre. The main focus is on the female protagonist and while there are big male roles in the film it is the woman that does most of the dirty work. Film Noir has always been one of my favorites due to the complexity of the female characters and this film is no exception. It gives us a character that appears innocent and thirsty for adventure on the surface but beneath it all she is thirsty for a lot more. She shows weakness, strength and a vigorous need to fight back. That vigor however will be her end.

 

10 Films, 10 Decades (Romance)

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Broken Blossoms
Release Date: May 13, 1919
Starring: Lillian Gish, Richard Bathelmess, Donald Crisp
Director: D. W Griffith
Writer: D.W Griffith
Plot: A man leaves his native China to spread the message of Buddha. He meets the abused daughter (Broken Blossom) of a boxer and begins to fall in love with her.
Thoughts: Of course I wish the role played by Caucasian actor Richard Bathelmess was instead played by a Chinese actor. I rarely watch movies where a n Asian character is played by a white actor in yellow face. It is a offensive. However the path this story took surprised me. Griffiths story differed from the original story by Thomas Burke in that it portrayed the Chinese character in a more positive light.
Trivia: Adapted from a story by Thomas Burke

Sunrise

Sunrise
Release Date: 1927
Starring: Margaret Livingston, George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor
Director: F.W Murnau
Writer: Hermann Sudermann
Plot: A women from the city falls in love with a man from the lakeside town she has been vacationing in. She tries to convince him to murder his wife by drowning her in the lake.
Thoughts: I saw Sunrise while in school on a big screen. What better way to watch a movie? I wasn’t very versed in silent film at the time so I wasn’t to keen on watching it. My mind was changed by the end. The film felt very much like the picture inside your head when you read a book.
Trivia: Scenario by Carl Mayer

It Happened One night

It Happened One Night
Release Date: 1934
Starring: Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.
Director: Frank Capra
Writer:Robert Riskin
Plot: A spoiled heiress runs away after her marriage to an aviator. She reluctantly accepts help from a reporter she meets on a bus home.
Thoughts: I have never been the biggest fan of romance. There is however the occasional story that peaks my interest. The chemistry and comedy made for a romantic film with a funny twist.
Trivia: First film the sweep the Oscar’s.

I Marriad a Witch

I Married a Witch
Release Date: 1942
Starring: Veronica Lake and Fredric March
Director: Rene Clair
Writer:Several
Plot: An executed witch from the 17th century possesses a women’s body. She seeks revenge on the distant relative of her persecutor.
Thoughts: I grew up loving Bewitched so it was only a matter of time before I discovered this film.
Trivia: Lake and March did not get along during filming.

Sabrina

Sabrina
Release Date:1954
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden
Director: Billy Wilder
Writer: Billy Wilder
Plot: Infatuated with the playboy son to a wealthy family her father works for Sabrina leaves for Paris where she becomes more sophisticated and elegant. When she returns David finally notices her. The only problem is his older brother begins to fall in love with her and she is starting to feel the same.
Thoughts: What can you say about these three marvelous actors and human beings that already hasn’t been said. I have mentioned Director Billy Wilder several times. He is a favorite of mine.
Trivia: A remake with the same name was released in 1995

Tammy and the doctor

Tammy and the Doctor
Release Date: 1963
Starring: Sandra Dee and Peter Fonda
Director:Harry Keller
Writer: Oscar Brodney
Plot: The third in a series of films. Tammy played by Sandra Dee gets a job as a nurses assistant at the hospital where a friend is having surgery. Peter Fonda plays her love interest.
Thoughts: I caught this film while watching the rest of the series. The first starred Debbie Reynolds in the main role. All of the Tammy films are wholesome fun for the family.
Trivia: A scene in the film references Bernard Schwartz, Tony Curtis’s real name.

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Harold and Maude
Release Date:1971
Starring: Bud Court and Ruth Gordon
Director: Hal Ashby
Plot: A black, romantic comedy Harold and Maude centers around a young man intrigued by death and his eventual relationship with a 79 year old women who lives life to the fullest.
Thoughts: I first heard of this film in my early teens and as you can imagine I wasn’t really intrigued. Then I got a little older and caught the film on television. From the first scene I was fascinated  by the overall plot and atmosphere of the film. Even if you don’t enjoy your typical romantic films you may find yourself loving this one.

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Gregory’s Girl
Release Date: 1981
Starring: John Gordon Sinclair
Director:  Bill Forsyth                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Plot: In this coming of age tale set in Scotland Gregory must compete for the affections of Dorothy the center forward on his school’s football team.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thoughts: I first caught this film on TV. Sadly it was in the middle of the film but I ended up catching it in full awhile later and fell in love with the adorably awkward John Gordon Sinclair.

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You’ve Got Mail
Release Date: 1998
Starring: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
Director:Nora Ephron                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Writers: Nora and Delia Ephron                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Plot: You’ve Got Mail is an adaptation of the play Pargumeire and the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner. It is an updated concept using email instead up letters. The two admirers are unaware of that they know each other away from there computers and are not to fond of each other in there daily lives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Thoughts: You’ve Got Mail reunites Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in their third film together. Still igniting with chemistry You’ve Got Mail is a must see for all lovers of Romantic Comedies.

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Chocolat
Release Date: 2000
Starring: Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp                                                                                                                                                                                              Director: Lasse Hallstrom                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Novel by:    Joanne Harris Adapted by: Robert Nelson Jacobs                                                                                                                                                                Plot: A mother moves to a small French town with her daughter. She opens a Chocolate shop and her sweets begin to change the lives of the town’s people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thoughts: One of my go to movies on a down day Chocolat is one of my top five Romantic films.                                                                                           Photo Source: http://www.impawards.com/2000/chocolat_xlg.html

Ten Film Recommendations

1. The Court Jester

Released in 1956 The Court Jester covers several genres. It’s a musical-comedy period piece with adventure and a tad bit of mystery thrown in. A young Angela Lansbury appears as the Princess. It stars Danny Kaye in the main role.

2. Strangers on Train

Often mentioned as a inspiration to criminals in crime shows and mysteries Strangers on a Train is one of Hitchcock’s best. Starring Farley Granger as Guy and Robert Walker as Bruno. Strangers gave us a sympathetic villain.

3. Sullivan’s Travels

Directed by Preston Sturgess, starring Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea Sullivan’s Travels is the story many of us can relate to in our own way. McCrea’s character is a Hollywood comedy director who wants desperately to try his hand in drama but the studio refuses. He goes out on the streets for inspiration where he meets lakes character. Haven’t you ever wanted to try something new and have people mock you for it?

4. Leave Her To Heaven

Based on a novel of the same name Leave Her To Heaven stars Gene Teirney in the main role. It also stars Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain and a pre-horror Vincent Price. It revolves around a young women’s obsessive love and jealousy that causes her to commit several crimes.

5. The Third Man

Stars Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles.  You will come across this film on a series of Greatest film lists and they would all be right. The Third Man is an intense thriller, its a mystery and a Film Noir full of shady characters. You won’t know who to trust. I mentioned this film on my greatest film entrances of all time.

6. The Apartment

A Billy Wilder classic staring the every man himself Jack Lemmon with Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray. The Apartment is a drama with comedic elements that taps into our everyday life and what we do to get ahead.

7. Sabrina

A classic among romantic films Sabrina was remade in the 1990’s and is adapted from the play Sabrina’s Fair. Sabrina stars Audrey Hepburn in the title role opposite William Holden and Humphrey Bogart who play brothers. It’s a romantic for those who aren’t always into them.

8. Algiers

You may find your self looking at the screen with a rather funny expression wondering “Where have heard that voice before?” Thats because if you know Pepe Le Pew you know Charles Boyer as Pepe Le Moco in Algiers a remake of the French film Pepe Le Moco. The film also stars Hedy Lamarr. Algiers inspired the more popular film Casablanca.

9. Annie Hall

A romance film with a neurotic and awkward atmosphere like only Woody Allen could do.

10. A Patch of Blue

If you haven’t heard of this film I am not surprised. I came across this film for the first time when I was reading about Sidney Poitier it was only a coincidence that a few days later I would be watching the film on TCM. A Patch of Blue hits you where it hurts. A young women lives with her grandfather and prostitute mother played by Shelley Winters who won an  Oscar for best supporting actress for her role. The young women is left blind by an accident during one of her mothers liaisons and is also believed to have been raped by one of her mother clients.  While sitting in the park one day she  meets an African- American doctor played by Sidney Poitier. Soon a beautiful friendship is born and both their lives are changed for the better.

A Royal Affair

Starring Mads Mikkelsen as the real life Johann Struensee. A Royal Affair is based on a true story set in the 18th century. Centered around the affair between Royal physician Struensee and Caroline Matilda of Great Britain the wife of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark. What first drew me to this film was Mads Mikkelsen. I am a Hannibal fan after all. I also find period pieces beautiful and intriguing.  There are several period pieces that depend far too heavily on the clothes and make you all too aware of the setting. A Royal Affair however goes in the opposite  direction, I almost forget I am watching a film set several years in the past. I find myself relating to the characters. Especially that of Caroline, an open minded young women. Though some may see the King as a villain he is not. In my eyes he is very much a victim. As I watched the film I began to feel sorry for the king. The way he often treated Caroline was appalling and he could easily be seen as nothing more than a spoiled brat but that is not the case here. There was a part of me that could identify with his character. This show me that a great deal of the success of this film was the way they handled this character. Instead of being a caricature he was represented as a human being suffering from a mental illness. If you are a fan of period pieces I recommend A Royal Affair.

Note: This film is Danish.