Thursday, May 26, 2005

DVD: Too Late For Tears/Killer Bait (1949)

It’s the same movie. Turns out I’ve got two copies of it. It goes by the first title on a set of ten gangster movies I picked up for a song at Tower Records, but it answers to the second on Questar’s “Killer Classics” film noir collection.

Neither title really works. Which is unfortunate, because the film itself is a corker.

Bickering couple Lizabeth Scott and Arthur Kennedy accidentally intercept a bagful of cash meant as a blackmail payoff. Liz wants to keep it, which strikes Arthur as a surprise. Poor, foolish Arthur. I mean, she is Lizabeth Scott. When Dan Duryea turns up looking for the money he conned fair and square, we learn just how much Lizabeth Scott Lizabeth Scott can be.

The script – fiendishly inventive, cranking out surprises right up to the end – is by Roy Huggins, one of the true geniuses of television. Check out those credits: 77 SUNSET STRIP, MAVERICK, THE FUGITIVE, THE ROCKFORD FILES. His storytelling savvy is fully in evidence here.

Whatever you call this movie, it deserves to be better known. It also deserves a better video presentation. Neither of my copies looks that great.

Book: 361, by Donald E. Westlake (1962)

I’ve sung the praises of both Hard Case Crime and Donald Westlake many times. This reprint of one of his early novels is a case of two great tastes that taste great together.

So instead of repeating myself, I’ll just say that I’m thrilled this book mentions Bohack’s, a now-defunct New York supermarket chain that Rosemarie has never heard of. Proof that I didn’t imagine shopping there.

Miscellaneous: Link

Finally, a loving tribute to one of the longest-running shows on TV.