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Too Late Blues

Too Late Blues (1961)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1

audience

73

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 359

My Rating

Movie Info

After his pioneering independent film Shadows (1960), actor/writer/director John Cassavetes made his major studio directorial debut with this gritty, low-key drama about jazz musicians. Bobby Darin plays John "Ghost" Walefield, a pianist who scuffles from gig to gig with his band, trying to keep body and soul together without betraying his muse. Ghost's agent Benny (Everett Chambers) introduces him to Jess (Stella Stevens), a would-be singer who looks beautiful, even though her voice is fair at

Paramount Pictures

Cast

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All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1) | DVD (4)

It's pretentious, lugubrious, mawkish, and full of both naivete and macho bluster. It also has moments that are indelible and heartbreaking.

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the more impressive Hollywood movies to be set in the hip, flip jazz world.

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

John Cassavetes' first Hollywood-made project shows a tendency to force casebook psychology on the characters at a loss of spontaneity.

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An uncompromising movie, for good and for ill.

July 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

One of the better and more honest jazz films ever made in Hollywood.

January 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The jumpy, freewheeling Cassavetes style -- for which Darin's jazz, I suppose, is a metaphor -- seems well worth fighting for.

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Interesting mainly for its jazz atmosphere and Darin's nonsinging performance.

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Too Late Blues

For Ghost Wakefield(Bobby Darin), the music is everything. For his bandmates, a little cash would be nice from time to time, so they could at least settle their bar tab, much less take care of any responsibilities that come with getting married and/or older. At least, they can all pretty much agree on how much a drag a music industry party is. That is, until Ghost meets Jessica Polanski(Stella Stevens), a beautiful singer who is being tormented by their agent, Benny(Everett Chambers). Together, Ghost and Jessica make a break for it to his favorite watering hole.

As strange as it might seem to some that John Cassavetes would use an all-white band as part of a statement to disprove stereotypes about jazz musicians(admittedly, there are lots of non-white faces in the early scenes), it should not seem as unusual that he is just as interested in the thorny issue of artistic integrity.(Why the musicians in the film never pass the hat is beyond me.) With his second film as director, he has already crafted a manifesto which will serve as a guideline for the rest of his career where he later works with somebody in real life named Polanski but I'm getting ahead of myself here. Even at this early point, he also has a good deal to say artistically, as he is the only person who would not turn the scene in the park into a train wreck.(When they say it is for the birds, they mean it literally). While the performances are lacking the intensity of his later films, at least Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens still do fine work here.
July 12, 2013
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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