“The Return of Lost Noir Classics” = Too Late for Tears, Blu-ray (1949/2016); Woman On the Run, Blu-ray (1950/2016)

Two classic film noir features from around 1950, beautifully restored by the UCLA Film & TV Archive and distributed by Flicker Alley.

“The Return of Lost Noir Classics” = Too Late for Tears, Blu-ray (1949/2016)
Woman On the Run, Blu-ray (1950/2016)

Too Late Cast: Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy
Director: Byron Haskin
Studio: Republic Pictures/ Streamline Pictures/Flicker Alley FA0046 (5/17/2016) (2 discs)
Video: 4:3 Black & White 1080p HD
Audio: English, PCM mono
Extras: Audio commentary track by writer, historian, and film programmer; “Chance of a Lifetime: The Making of Too Late for Tears,”Tiger Hunt: Restoring Too Late for Tears,” 24-p. printed souvenir booklet
Length: 102 min.
Rating: *****

Woman on the Run Cast: Ann Sheridan, Dennis O’Keefe
Director: Norman Foster
Studio: Fidelity Pictures/ Flicker Alley FA0047 (5/17/16) (2 discs)
Video: 4:3 Black & White 1080p HD
Audio: English, PCM mono
Extras: Audio commentary track by author, cinema historian and noirchaeologist Eddie Muller; “Love in a Roller Coaster: Woman On the Run Revisited,” “A Wild Ride: Restoring Woman On the Run” “Woman On the Run Locations: Then & Now,” “Noir City” – SF – doc. on the only film noir film festival; 24-p. printed souvenir booklet
Length: 79 min.
Rating: ****

These two films are the first in what plans to be a series of collaborations between the Film Noir Foundation, which puts on the annual Film Noir Film Festival in San Francisco, and Flicker Alley distributors. Both are resurrections of a couple of the great missing films from the film noir era, in lovely remasterings that are far superior to the terrible versions of both which have been available in the past.

The first is really a great film entirely on its own, with Lizabeth Scott and slimy Dan Duryea colliding after Jane Palmer and her husband mysteriously have a bag with $60,000 in it dropped into their car. Shady Duryea claims the money belongs to him, and Jane won’t let go of it – thinking it can bring her the luxury she craves. She becomes clearly one of the worst female villians in the history of Hollywood.

The thrilling story was originally a serial in the Saturday Evening Post and makes for a terrific noir genre with an over-the-top ending. Definitely worth seeing.

Woman on the Run was thought totally lost in a 2008 fire at the studio, but the lost gem was rediscovered in a good print and this is it. It was thought to have been financed by the actress Ann Sheridan herself when she couldn’t get support anywhere else in Hollywood. It was entirely shot in 1950 San Francisco, which is made to look as dangerous as any other big city at night, and the extras feature on SF then and and now is fascinating – especially to one who spent 40 years there, as I did.

There are a lot of shots of the Sheridan character on a roller-coaster, which she obviously didn’t like very much. They had to do those at the beach carnival further south in California because it had moved there from San Francisco. It’s an unusual film noir because it has a happy ending: the wife and husband who are verging on Splitsville are brought together again by the unexpected results of the police trying to bring down a killer who the husband has seen.

—John Sunier

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