Too Late Blues (1961)



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Movie Info

Ghost (Bobby Darin) is a struggling piano player and composer for a small jazz band. The band plays several under attended gigs before coming across an aspiring female singer, Jess (Stella Stevens). Ghost and Jess make beautiful music together on and off the stage until and act of cowardice drives Jess away. He blows a recording deal over his obsession of the girl. Ghost looks in all the old musical haunts before he finds Jess, who by now has become a tawdry tramp. This is the first Hollywood film directed by John Cassavetes. Screenplay is by Cassavetes and Richard Carr.

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Critic Reviews for Too Late Blues

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

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

Jul 15, 2008 | Full Review…

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

Jul 15, 2008 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Jul 15, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

An uncompromising movie, for good and for ill.

Jul 6, 2012 | Full Review…

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

Jan 22, 2011 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

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

Jul 15, 2008 | Full Review…

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.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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