Too Late For Tears (1949)

Lizabeth Scott shows why she was one of the most popular femmes fatales of the post-war years in this delightfully duplicitous suburban film noir. She stars as a seemingly normal woman whose life changes when she and her husband (Arthur Kennedy) accidentally discover a suitcase full of stolen loot. He wants to turn it in to the police but she convinces him to stash it at Union Station until she can change his mind. When a grifter (Dan Duryea) comes looking for the cash, things turn complicated— and homicidal. Scott was no stranger to film noir, she had even worked previously with director Byron Haskin on I Walk Alone (1948) with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. Her sultry features and husky voice perfectly fit both of the genre’s female archetypes: the good woman and the femme fatale. In this film, she pours on the allure, turning the usually savvy Duryea into putty. Her performance is one of the main reasons the film has built a cult following over the years. Sadly, this film noir is less known today than other classics of the genre because the copyright owners allowed it to fall into public domain, leading to a glut of badly degenerated video—until Eddie Muller’s Film Noir Foundation funded a complete restoration last year.

(d. Byron Haskin, 99m, 35mm)