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A Movie A Day: Quint sees KILLER BAIT (1949)!
Don’t ever change, Tiger. I don’t think I’d like you with a heart.

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]

Our movie today is KILLER BAIT (aka TOO LATE FOR TEARS) based on a Saturday Evening Post serial by Roy Huggins (who also wrote the screenplay), directed by Byron Haskin (WAR OF THE WORLDS and tomorrow’s ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS) and starring Lizabeth Scott, Arthur Kennedy, Don DeFore and Dan Duryea. As this started I proclaimed the fantastic Sam Raimi flick A SIMPLE PLAN a complete ripoff. Basically this couple is bickering while on the way to visit some friends, driving in a convertible. This is Jane and Alan Palmer (Lizabeth Scott and Arthur Kennedy). She doesn’t want to go, he does and she makes a grab for the keys. In the little struggle the lights blink on and off, sending a signal to a waiting driver, who shoots by, throwing a bag in their backseat after nearly causing an accident. Turns out they were in the wrong place at the right time. The bag is full of money. Suddenly, behind them, approaches a car blinking its headlights… they speed off and are chased, narrowly escaping. They get the bag home and play that what if? game everybody has played. It’s $60,000 in cash (worth a lot more back then, when rent was, like, $5 a week), unmarked, untraceable cash. Jane wants to keep it, Alan wants to give it to the authorities, sure that it can only bring bad things. This is about the time I was twining together my noose for Sam Raimi. The scene could have been lifted directly from this film and placed into A SIMPLE PLAN and not be noticed. Then the movie changes gears and I had to relent. I like Raimi too much and the movie goes into a completely different direction. However, imagine if Bridgette Fonda’s character was less moral and wasn’t in love with her husband. Then you’d know where this movie goes. Dan Duryea shows up at Lizabeth Scott’s door claiming to be a cop and I knew something was wrong with him right away… I think it was the polka dotted bowtie. Of course, he was the one that money was intended for and it quickly becomes a game of deception, seduction and murder. I’m really loving this trend of noirs we’re hitting. While most of them are a little stiff compared to modern films and filmmaking techniques, there’s a topsy-turvy twisting feeling to every one of them, smart character dialogue and just plain crazy dark stories. Coming up in the next 7 days: Tuesday, June 17th: ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964) Wednesday, June 18th: CITY FOR CONQUEST (1940) Thursday, June 19th: SAN QUENTIN (1937) Friday, June 20th: 42nd STREET (1933) Saturday, June 21st: DAMES (1934) Sunday, June 22nd: GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 (1935) Monday, June 23rd: MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) I’m still reeling a little bit from the death of Stan Winston, so my apologies if this installment came off a little distracted. KILLER BAIT is a really good flick and deserves a watch if you dig crime/noir at all and haven’t seen it.

Tomorrow we follow director Byron Haskin from this dark noir to a Technicolor Sci-Fi adventure film called ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS. See you folks then. -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street

Readers Talkback
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  • June 16, 2008, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Wake me when you hit Crusoe on Mars

    by Durant

    Adam West's finest work until Young Lady Chatterly 2...

  • June 16, 2008, 5:05 p.m. CST


    by JeanLuc Dickhard

    good picks here

  • June 16, 2008, 5:14 p.m. CST


    by TheBoManKicksAssAndTakesBlame


  • June 16, 2008, 6:19 p.m. CST

    I'm stoked for tomorrow

    by kungfuhustler84

  • June 16, 2008, 6:20 p.m. CST

    I just used the word "stoked."

    by kungfuhustler84


  • June 16, 2008, 6:22 p.m. CST

    By the way

    by kungfuhustler84

    this is my favorite thing AICN does. this and Harry's DVD picks. It's great to get some suggestions for really obscure, but fun movies. I've been working on my own list compiled from the stuff in both Quint's and Harry's posts that i have not seen, and I really appreciate the stuff.

  • June 16, 2008, 6:49 p.m. CST

    That's BRIDGET Fonda, thank you.

    by Lenny Nero

    Otherwise, sounds like something I should definitely pick up.

  • June 16, 2008, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Quality of Print?

    by MediaNerd

    Quint, how is that box set's quality? The problem I have with Noir is that there's lots of good pics out I'd love to see, but so much has lapsed into the pd that you never know what you're going to get in a box. Wish I could find one good reliable source.

  • June 16, 2008, 7:12 p.m. CST


    by Det. John Kimble

    "A Simple Plan" was based on a novel by Scott Smith.

  • June 16, 2008, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Damn You Michael Bay


    Damn You Michael Bay

  • June 16, 2008, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Love the expression

    by Napoleon Park

    "just plain crazy dark"<p>Maybe not the only kind of movie I like, but certainly one of my favorite varieties.<p>Looking forward to Robinson Crusoe on Mars - at last a film I've seen a few times and more recently than 40 years ago.<p>Man, I can only afford basic cable but I sure wish TBS, TNT, TV Land, ABC Family, WGN, PBS or any or the networks would set aside a night to air these classic flicks.<p>heck, if the big nets have given up on even trying to program on Saturdays (except same old same old Fox), why not try something like this? Wasn't "showing old movies" one of the foundations the television industry was originally based on?

  • June 16, 2008, 8:26 p.m. CST

    I knew something was wrong with him right away… I think it was t

    by Napoleon Park

    "I knew something was wrong with him right away… I think it was the polka dotted bowtie."<p>I'm hearing Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir deliver that line in my head. Hey, if he was a Uniformed cop with a polka-dot bow-tie, there'd definitely be room for suspicion.

  • June 17, 2008, 1:17 a.m. CST


    by Teapot Jones

    Quint, I hope that first image is the copy that you have because D.O.A. is a great gem with perhaps my favorite opening dialogue to kick off any noir films that I've come across. You have to add that one to your list if you haven't seen it yet. Also, Lizabeth Scott is a total dish that just doesn't exist anymore in movies. Love her.

  • June 17, 2008, 3:58 a.m. CST

    replicating storylines.

    by NedNederlander

    It's no wonder Raimi (or rather Scott B. Smith) are using these simple, powerful storylines. Sure, these old noirish films seem pretty stiff, but the stories are unbelievably clever and often pretty well executed. The advantage Killer Bait has over Simple plan is Lisbeth Scotts man-head, she's like this strangely sexy androgynous immoral dark character. UNSETTLING.

  • June 17, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Why do so many of these movies have two titles?

    by Knuckleduster

    It's really annoying, and incredibly stupid. Did you know that High Tension is called Switchblade Romance in the UK? And that Statham/Li movie War is called Rogue Assassin in other countries? I can understand it when the title gets translated to another language, but a different english title? Lame.

  • June 17, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Robinson Crusoe On Mars....excellent, Smithers!

    by Ninja Nerd

    Quint....can't wait for your take on this one. I saw this at a drive-in when it was released as part of an all night sci fi / horror bill. Cost a whopping $1 to sit in the car through 6 movies. I can't remember the other films, but RCOM stuck with me all these years. I won't say anything about the movie until tomorrow, so as not to influence your viewing. I do think you will like it. And, it compares well to a much later film with some similarities that I'll mention...tomorrow!

  • June 17, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Ahhh, Liz Scott

    by chudson

    Love that voice....

  • June 17, 2008, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Dan Duryea always reminded me of Doug McClure.

    by dannyocean

    A Doug McClure with depth. Same reedy voice. Always looked like they were coming off of the dt's. Both played recovering drunks, more Duryea than McClure. And they appeared together as old drunk gunfighter and young upstart gunfighter in an episode of "The Twilight Zone" called "Mr. Denton on Doomsday". Catch Duryea in a noir called "Black Angel", based on a Cornell Woolrich book, about a blackout drunk who tries to clear his name of a murder commited during one of his "spells". Awesome film.

  • June 18, 2008, 11:31 p.m. CST

    Lesbian Lizabeth Scott Was Shunned By Studio Hollywood

    by Red Dawn Don

    That may be why she did so few movies. I always think of her in that Elvis Presley movie LOVING YOU (1957). She was cast as the MILF the younger EP character wanted. I think the movie's younger love triangle actress (DOLORES HART) became a NUN in real life. Not sure if by NUNing she was escaping EP or the lesbian LS or both. Elvis always claimed he had SEX with all but one female co-star. That is a lot of young actresses. Ann Margaret, Hope Lange and Mary Tyler Moore among the mix. A SIMPLE PLAN is a great under-rated movie. Billy Bob Thorton was great in it as the ner-do-well brother to Bill Paxton.

  • July 5, 2008, 11 p.m. CST