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Too Late Blues (1961)

Bobby Darin , Stella Stevens , John Cassavetes  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Vince Edwards, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
  • Directors: John Cassavetes
  • Writers: John Cassavetes, Richard Carr
  • Producers: John Cassavetes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007KW5N62
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,142 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Too Late Blues was the second feature film directed by legendary director John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence). After his pioneering independent film Shadows, Cassavetes made his major studio directorial debut with this gritty drama about jazz musicians. Music legend (Bobby Darin) plays a bandleader who scuffles from gig to gig with his band, trying to keep body and soul together without betraying his muse. Sex symbol Stella Stevens (The Nutty Professor) plays a would-be singer with a dark past who meets Darin at a party and joins his band. The two fall deeply in love, but their world comes crumbling down after Darin and his band are involved in a bar fight and Darin is overcome by fear and is unable to fight back. the humiliation causes him to reject her and his band mates. The stellar cast includes Vince Edward (TV's Ben Casey) and Cassavetes regular Seymour Cassel (Minnie and Moskowitz).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
An uncompromising jazz musician (Bobby Darin) holds firmly to his artistic convictions not to sell out for money and fame. But when he falls in love with a sad and wounded wannabe singer (Stella Stevens), he feels humiliated and ashamed when he can't physically defend her from a drunken thug (Vince Edwards) and he turns against her and his bandmates. After the critical success of his indie film SHADOWS (which won the Critics award at the Venice film festival) in 1959, director John Cassavetes second directorial effort was for a major studio, Paramount. Yet it doesn't have the feel of a slick Hollywood studio movie, it feels improvisatory and spontaneous (Cassavetes co-wrote the script) while retaining an authentic jazz milieu. Only the ending feels like a mainstream Hollywood film but I don't know if it was Cassavetes' idea or a compromise. The acting is excellent with both Darin and Stevens showing great potential that was never fully realized in either's acting career. Stevens, in particular, seems a major actress about to bloom. The nicely rendered B&W photography is by Lionel Lindon (MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) and the minimal underscore by David Raksin (LAURA). Fine supporting work by Everett Chambers as Darin's mean spirited and spiteful agent, Cliff Carnell, Seymour Cassel, Nick Dennis, Rupert Crosse and Marilyn Clark as rich matron who makes Darin her gigolo.

The Olive DVD is a crisp B&W transfer in an anamorphic 1.85 aspect ratio.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Darin--Underrated, but Great July 4, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was the second film directed by John Cassavettes, and it suffers from his quirkiness, and terrible editing job. It was originally 4 hours long. Although I'm a fan of JC's anyway. With a character as complex as Ghost, and a back drop of the world of jazz musician's trying to make it, he could've had a classic, gritty film about the subject. He almost does. But what saves it and makes it worth while for me is Bobby Darin. He lives, breathes, and is Ghost Wakefield. Darin easily shows great emotion with his communicative brown eyes, and his pliable, handsome face. He's a natural, and it's a shame his health robbed him of the opportunity to do more film work. He has a dymanic presence on screen, sizzles with sexual undertones. Darin would only have gotten better and better as he matured.

Why I rate it high is because it belongs in any retrospective of the legendary, uncompromising director, and it gave Bobby Darin one of the most multi-talented entertainers of all time, a chance to shine. I'll be forever grateful to Cassavettes' for casting Bobby in this role.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The Raksin theme (aka A SONG AFTER SUNDOWN) is the real highlight of the movie and gets TOO LATE BLUES an extra star. John Cassavetes directs what's generally regarded as a failure, albeit one with potential and some curiously good moments. The biggest problem is that the film doesn't concentrate enough on the music, or the beat-generation mentality, that defines it. It's too mainstream, and there was little freedom to explore, with any detail, the psychosexual connection between a hooker and an impotent musician. Darin and Stevens are obviously discombobulated by the Cassavetes knack for improvisation, and weak editing only compounds the problem.
The Olive Films' blu-ray looks sterling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real sleeper of a film. September 16, 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Too Late Blues [Blu-ray]Recently bought this bluray and as with all the OLIVE FILMS product, the transfer is sumptuous. First of all I never understood why John Cassavetes kind of disowned this film. I believe it is excellent. The film is made with a great deal of discipline which Cassavetes "more personal" efforts mostly weren't. His skill at directing actors was always wonderful and it is no less true of this film. Everyone in it is at their peak. Some have asserted that Bobby Darin was miscast here but I don't agree at all. The real standout in a grand cast is Stella Stevens. Recently Tim Lucas (of Video Watchdog)opined that Jerry Lewis MUST HAVE SEEN THIS FILM before casting her in his own THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. I never thought of that before but the similarity in the roles template is reason to wonder at the very least. And she is not only one of the most beautiful women to ever exist but QUITE a grand DRAMATIC as well as comic actress.

So many of the other performances (for that matter co-writer Cassavetes had more discipline in the script here than ever)are super. Everett Chambers wonderful lizard like performance turning on dime from smiling glad-hander to back-stabber, Bobby Darin playing a jazz musician (someone whose musical tastes AND OUTPUT was ALWAYS broad in real life)who is basically a self-centered egocentric (MANY would assert not far from his REAL personality)is always convincing and never a caricature. Nick Dennis is always a ball to watch and see (Everyone remembers him in Aldrich's KISS ME DEADLY..."Pretty POW!").
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent newly released John Cassavetes film January 23, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Bobby Daren was a cool actor who had a lot of potential to get even better. He plays a jazz musician whose group hasn't made it past playing for free in the park and nursing home gigs. As you would expect with this director some scenes feels like you are there watching them in real life but in a good way. To me, Stella Stevens was doing a sad Kim Novak doing a sad Marilyn Monroe imitation and I did not get why Bobby's character was so attracted to her. I love small, dark, jazz movies and this is one of the best.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful movie
The story shows struggling musicians and their struggle to 'make it' in the world of jazz.
Bobby Darin carries the movie. He was wonderful in his part. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Whitewatermom
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but Sad ending
I liked the movie very much, however it ended sad. Bobby Darin I think is excellent in any thing he's in. It's very sad we lost him at such a young age.
Published 10 months ago by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars A great jazz tale
John Cassavetes, Bobby Darin, and Stella Stevens can't be beat with a great score by David Raksin! Oh John and Bobby, why did you have to die so young?
Published 12 months ago by Larry B
1.0 out of 5 stars Nieve and Dull
Too Late Bluies has a weak story and even weaker acting. One of Bobby Darin's first acting efforts and he is not good.
Published 16 months ago by Lindsay Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars This is brilliant
One of the best Cassavetes, totally forgotten and underrated. The performances are fantastic, and the lighting and shots are gorgeous, making this possibly the most beautiful and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Montefuego
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Re-release
Bobby Darin displays his acting genius in this film, and it was his first. Cassavetes's directing is brilliant, and his first, too. Read more
Published 18 months ago by purchaser in El Segundo Calif
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find!
I have been hoping to see this movie on home video since I saw it on the "Z" channel in Los Angeles 30 years ago. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ron
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