- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

Frequent '40s femme fatale Lizabeth Scott gives a terrific, emotionally feral performance in director Byron Haskin's edgy 1949 noir Too Late for Tears, new from the busy archivists at Sinister Cinema. It's our Video pick of the week
"Too Late for Tears" ($16.95 VHS only, 541/773-6860, www.sinistercinema.com) gives us Miss Scott as the dissatisfied Jane Palmer, who seethes over her drab station in life as the stifled wife of decent but unambitious white-collar guy Alan (Arthur Kennedy). When a satchel full of serious money falls from the sky (actually, a passing car) and lands in their convertible, the "lucky" couple agree to stash the unexpected bounty in a bus-station locker until they decide its fate.
The illicit loot's owner, tough guy Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea, aces as always as an understated lowlife), comes sniffing around, and Jane only too eagerly forms an uneasy alliance with the hood. It's Danny, though, who learns he's in over his head as Jane plots to eliminate all obstacles to her sole possession of the pesos, even when Alan's inquisitive former service buddy Don Blake (Don DeFore) makes the scene. Further twists and turns heighten the tension in this underrated winner, which also played under the handle "Killer Bait." Vintage noir hounds will want to pounce on "Too Late" posthaste.
Among Sinister Cinema's recent raft of backdate releases, we also recommend the wacky 1946 "B" crime caper They Made Me a Killer, starring Robert Lowery, and 1948's Open Secret, featuring John Ireland as a photographer who uncovers a vicious nest of anti-Semites in a grim but gripping expose littered with some of the seediest black-and-white noir sets we've ever seen.

Killer thrillers
In new thriller developments, Miramax sets a mid-August date for actor-director Todd Field's critically acclaimed dramatic thriller In the Bedroom, starring Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei. 20th Century Fox proffers the military-courtroom suspenser High Crimes, with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd (not to be confused with High Stakes, starring Dennis Farina and due from MTI Entertainment).
Also on their way are Jennifer Esposito and Robert Patrick in Backflash (Dimension); Kiefer Sutherland and Radha Mitchell in Dead Heat (Lions Gate); Sean Young in The House Next Door (MTI); and the teen thriller New Best Friend (Columbia/TriStar), starring Mia Kirshner and Dominique Swain. All will be priced for rental VHS and also available on DVD.

The A-list
Two films that disappointed at the box office will receive second chances on home video this month, when Paramount issues the Britney Spears showcase Crossroads and Universal releases the supernatural Kevin Costner vehicle Dragonfly.
New Line plans a mid-July video debut for the more popular Denzel Washington film John Q, about a hostage situation engendered by a mishandled medical emergency. All three titles will be priced for rental VHS and also available on DVD.

The spirit of '76
To celebrate the Fourth of July, Columbia/TriStar offers this week a lavish widescreen, remixed stereo DVD edition of director Peter Hunt's 1972 film adaptation of the Broadway musical 1776, starring Blythe Danner and William Daniels. The disc restores 25 minutes of excised footage including the production number "Cool, Cool Considerate Men" and includes commentary by director Hunt and playwright-screenwriter Peter Stone, a collection of original screen tests and other bonus materials. The DVD is tagged at $29.99.

H.P. redux
The "Re-Animator" (Elite Entertainment) and "From Beyond" (Vestron Video, not in distribution) tandem of director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna return with a new H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, Dagon, due later this month from Trimark Home Video (priced for rental VHS, also available on DVD). The film is set in coastal Spain and pits shipwreck survivor Ezra Godden against a strange sect of half-human sea mutants and, while going lighter on the team's trademark dark humor elements, delivers atmosphere and suspense galore. Originally earmarked for theatrical release, "Dagon" supplies a welcome infusion of Halloween chills during the hot summer months.

Phan mail
Hello, Oh Mighty Video Guru! I have the proverbial $64 Question: Just when can we expect MGM to finally release its sleeper musical hit from the '80s, Fame, in DVD format? Thanks much.
Ken Howard, Washington, D.C.
Though MGM has been increasing its vintage DVD output, we haven't heard of any plans to introduce that 1980 fan fave, which inspired the TV series of the same name, to DVD, though it would certainly be a natural for the format.
Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002 or e-mail us at: [email protected] Check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

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