Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Flicker Alley - TOO LATE FOR TEARS and WOMAN ON THE RUN on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Flicker Alley - TOO LATE FOR TEARS and WOMAN ON THE RUN on Blu-ray

TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949; Byron Haskin)
I've said many times that I very much enjoy my film noir dripping with fatalism. I find the genre is best served with the mounting tension of withheld secrets that may come to light and ruin things for one of our main characters. This is a little odd in that I can be a bit of an anxious person myself, so one might think that such story lines would cause great distress in my fragile mind. Not the case though and I can tell you the exact moment this movie really hooked me. There's a point where Lizabeth Scott hugs her husband (the great Arthur Kennedy) after not telling him the whole truth and we can see in her face the concern of what may happen as a result. You see the plot hinges on a bag of loose cash that ends up mistakenly in the car of a married couple (Scott and Kennedy) and what the money does to their marriage. Once the money is in the picture, it changes things. The couple bickers about whether to turn it over to the police, but she eventually convinces him to stash it in a locker at  a local train station for a short while while they think about what they want to do with it. Enter the goon (Dan Duryea). Where large amounts of money in bags are concerned, there's usually a goon or two looking for it.This goon is charming, but also convincingly menacing and prone to entering the couple's apartment unannounced and when the wife is home alone. One thing leads to another and it becomes unclear who is playing who and if money corrupts absolutely. It's got all the stuff of a good noir. Sex, money, crime and general dishonesty. Dan Duryea is right in his proper wheelhouse playing a charismatic and fast talking hoodlum and Lizabeth Scott has the delightful ability to play innocent and turn on a dime to deceitful and scheming. She's really amazing and this movie showcases that well. Even though I had heard of this one, it was a new noir viewing for me and one that I enjoyed very much. Lots of "twists and turns" as they say and a solid ending. Lots of films like to lay claim to some surprising narrative curves, but this movie truly went places that I didn't totally expect (as well as some that I did - whilst going further than usual). It will absolutely end up on my favorite film discoveries of 2016 list without a doubt. High recommend.
Special Features:
Flicker Alley continues their Criterion-level packages here with a nice set of extras.
-Audio Commentary Track - By writer, historian, and film programmer Alan K. Rode.
-“Chance Of A Lifetime: The Making of Too Late For Tears” – Produced by Steven Smith and the Film Noir Foundation and featuring Eddie Muller, Kim Morgan, and Julie Kirgo, this mini-doc offers a behind-the-scenes examination of the film’s original production.
-“Tiger Hunt: Restoring Too Late For Tears” – Produced by Steven Smith and the Film Noir Foundation, this is a chronicle of the multi-year mission to rescue this “lost” noir classic.
- A 24-Page Souvenir Booklet – Featuring rare photographs, poster art, original lobby cards, and an essay by writer and noir-expert Brian Light.

TOO LATE FOR TEARS Trailer from Flicker Alley on Vimeo.

WOMAN ON THE RUN (1950; Norman Foster)
This movie opens with some great noir tropes right out of the gate. A blackmail proposition, a murder and a witness to said murder. It all gets going quickly out of the gate here and I like it when a film wastes no time like that. In this case, the witness to the murder is a man out waking his dog (more about the dog later). When questioned by the police and told he will have now have to testify against the mob, the man makes a swift dissapearing act to avoid said responsibility. The cops are left to talk to the man's wife (Ann Sheridan) about where he might be hanging out. Since their marriage is apparently not in the best shape, she's not much good to the cops and eventually gives them the slip. That doesn't stop a nosy reporter (Dennis O'Keefe) from tailing her to try to get the exclusive story on the husband though and thus an antagonistic flirtation begins. It's mostly platonic though as the duo both just really want to find her husband. All they have to go on is a cryptic letter that the husband got to her that refers to someplace in their past where he indicates he'll meet her. The film takes place in San Francisco, so there's lots of Sheridan and O'Keefe hoofing it around town trying to figure out where the husband might be holed up. The cops are always trailing both of them trying to get a line on the husband as well.
I am a big dog person, so movies with dogs in them tend to have a little edge when attempting to curry my favor. There's few better movie dogs than 'Asta' - Nick and Nora's pooch from the THIN MAN films. WOMAN ON THE RUN has 'Rembrandt', a charming mutt mix with some personality. Ann Sheridan says he got the name because her husband said that that would be the closest they'd ever to to owning one. Sadly the pup isn't in the movie enough, but the movie makeup for it with an interesting climax. It takes place at a pier amusement park and involves a rollercoaster. Memorable stuff. Also a surefire candidate for my 2016 film discoveries list.
Special Features:
-An Audio Commentary Track – By author, cinema historian, and “noirchaelogist” Eddie Muller.
-“Love is a Rollercoaster: Woman on the Run Revisited” – Produced by Steven Smith and the Film Noir Foundation, this mini-doc offers a look into the making of the film, from script to noir classic.
-“A Wild Ride: Restoring Woman on the Run” – Produced by Steven Smith and the Film Noir Foundation, this stranger-than-fiction document of the film’s restoration is a thriller in itself.
-"Woman on the Run Locations Then and Now" - City Sleuth (aka Brian Hollins) leads a virtual tour around San Francisco hunting down the many locations used during the production of Woman on the Run.
-“NOIR CITY” – A short documentary directed by Joe Talbot about the annual NOIR CITY film festival presented by by the Film Noir Foundation at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre
-A 24-Page Souvenir Booklet – Featuring rare photographs, poster art, original lobby cards, and an essay by the one and only Eddie Muller.

WOMAN ON THE RUN Trailer from Flicker Alley on Vimeo.

The bottom line is that both of these discs would make excellent additions to your classic film collection. Fans of the Criterion Collection need these two. You can order them both here:

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