Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title over a row of Black children listening to jazz
This week’s mystery movie was the 1961 Paramount film Too Late Blues, with Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Everett Chambers, Nick Dennis, Vincent Edwards, Val Avery, Marilyn Clark, James Joyce, Rupert Crosse, Mario Gallo, J. Alan Hopkins, Cliff Carnell, Richard O. Chambers, Seymour Cassel and Dan Stafford.

Variety-1961-11_0093Photography by Lionel Lindon.

Art direction by Hal Pereira and Tambi Larsen.

Edited by Frank Bracht.

Special photographic effects by John P. Fulton.

Set decoration by Sam Comer and James Payne.

Assistant director Arthur Jacobson.

Costumes by Edith Head.

Makeup by Wally Westmore.

Hairstyles by Nellie Manley.

Sound by Gene Merritt and John Wilkinson.

Special recordings by Shelly Manne, drums; Red Mitchell, bass; Jimmy Rowles, piano; Benny Carter, saxophone; Uan Rasey, trumpet; Milt Bernhart, trombone.

Music by David Raksin.

Written by Richard Carr and John Cassavetes.

Produced and directed by John Cassavetes.

Too Late Blues is available on disc and streaming from Amazon.

More on the history of the film is available from the AFI catalog.

Be sure to read E. Yarber’s extensive comments on the film!


Too Late Blues was another random selection. I’ve had a soft spot for John Cassavetes since a family acquaintance appeared in Faces (1968). Plus Shelley Manne, Benny Carter and David Raksin? I’m in.

I’m sure Bosley Crowther hated it…. Sorry, it’s Howard Thompson (New York Times, March 1, 1962):

All that Too Late Blues needs to make it one of the best movies ever about jazz musicians is substance. Granted, this is a mighty big “all.” Furthermore, the romantic attachment of an arrogant, hardheaded young pianist and a lippy wanton, their ricocheting in and out of grubby bars, pool halls and hotel rooms with the man turning to a moneyed paramour and the girl to outright prostitution couldn’t be more sunless or dismal. Or more penetrating, we might add.

Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens are co-starred in this curious but sordidly fascinating fragment of a film that Paramount unveiled yesterday in neighborhood theaters…. Very little happens, even less than in Paris Blues, in a film about five times uglier.

Sept. 26, 2022, Mystery Photo
For Monday, we have two mystery guests.

Update: This is Slim Gaillard. The woman is as yet unidentified.

Sept. 27, 2022, Mystery Photo
For Tuesday, we have a mystery fellow. His companions have been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness and will appear Friday.

Update: For Friday, we have our mysterious leading man.

Update: This is Bobby Darin, left, and Rupert Crosse. Stella Stevens is Back of the Head Woman.

Brain Trust roll call: E. Yarber (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest).

Woman in sleeveless dress looking into mirror in dressing room
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mystery woman in an arty mirror shot.

Update: This is Marilyn Clark.

Man with mustache. Wearing vest and smoking cigar.
And we have this mystery fellow with Back of the Head Guy.

Update: This is Nick Dennis and Bobby Darin as Back of the Head Guy.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Incredible Inman (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery guest), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie, Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery guests) and E. Yarber (Tuesday’s mystery guest and a lot of information about him. Thanks!)

Sept. 29, 2022, Mystery Photo
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mysterious fellow.

Update: This is Cliff Carnell.

Sept. 29, 2022, Mystery Photo
We also have these mysterious musicians.

Update: This is Richard Chambers and Seymour Cassel.

Sept. 29, 2022, Mystery Photo
And finally, these mystery gents.

Update: This is Everett Chambers and Vincent Edwards, just before Edwards got the starring role in Ben Casey, one of the hit TV shows of the 1960s.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery fellow), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery guests and a look at people cropped out of Tuesday’s mystery image), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Tuesday and Wednesday’s mystery gents) and E. Yarber (Wednesday’s mystery guests with more history of the film).

Mystery fellow is picking songs at a jukebox. Mystery leading lady is leaning on the jukebox and looking at him

For Friday, we have our mysterious leading man and leading lady.

Update: This is Stella Stevens and Bobby Darin.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Beach Gal (mystery movie and all mystery guests, plus mysterious leads), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), E. Yarber (Thursday’s mystery guests and more history of our mystery film), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests and Friday’s leads) and Greg (mystery movie, Tuesday’s Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1961, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Suzanne A. Stone says:

    “All Night Long” (1962) starring Patrick McGoohan…Is this Paul Harris?


  2. Robert Morrissey says:

    Another interesting one!


  3. tucsonbarbara says:

    I think – which is a lot for me on a Monday morning – it’s “The Jackie Robinson Story”

    Mon – Roy Glenn and possibly Mildred Boyd


  4. E. Yarber says:

    Vout early and vout often. That’s Slim Gaillard in TOO LATE BLUES, scaring Stella Stevens with a demonstration of just how deep the waters of jazz singing can get.


  5. Mary Mallory says:

    TOO LATE BLUES. Slim Gallard and unknown Monday, Rupert Cross today.


  6. Sylvia E. says:

    Too Late Blues 1961
    Monday – Slim Gaillard is our pianist. Not sure who his companion is.
    Tuesday – Rupert Crosse (my ‘aha’ guy) and the cropped for lack of mysteriousness are (I guess) Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens, or maybe Vince Edwards. I’ll keep looking for a confirmation.


  7. Rupert Crosse today, I believe. Could this be “Too Late Blues”?


  8. B.J. Merholz says:

    Okay. Rupert is a gimme for me. Probably in a Cassavettes film. And if that is Slim Gaillard yesterday, then I’m not too late for the blues.


  9. E. Yarber says:

    Tuesday we have Rupert Crosse, who provides a human link through the projects leading to TOO LATE BLUES.

    In the 1950s, Crosse was in the acting class of John Cassavetes, a busy TV performer. Decades before Kickstarter or GoFundMe, Cassavetes crowdfunded the seminal independent feature SHADOWS by soliciting donations from listeners of Jean Shepard’s late-night radio program. Crosse landed a major role in that film, playing a character he developed through improvisations with fellow students.

    SHADOWS got enough attention to land Cassavetes the lead in an NBC television series, STACCATO, which pulled the actor from NYC to LA. The show did not last a full season. NBC wanted a PETER GUNN clone, while Cassavetes insisted his character was not a private detective at all, just a jazz musician who got involved in other people’s problems. While it lasted, Cassavetes directed five episodes himself and gave guest spots to some of SHADOWS alumni, including Crosse.

    The TV exposure led to Paramount offering Cassavetes a feature directing contract. For his first studio effort, he drew on some of his STACCATO experiences, both with the West Coast jazz players he met through the show and the draining effect of trying to maintain artistic integrity within the meat grinder of the Hollywood system. Crosse was given a brief but showy role in TOO LATE BLUES much in the spirit of the manager he’d portrayed in SHADOWS.

    In the same year, Crosse turned up on another TV series run by a creatively ambitious actor. He was a guest in the final season of HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL, which took the series into strange places as Richard Boone assumed artistic control with such notions as doing one episode of the Western in the style of a Japanese Noh drama. (The next year, Boone jettisoned the format altogether and tried to do an anthology program with Clifford Odets as story editor and a hand-picked repertory cast).

    Crosse also did some episodes of BEN CASEY, a show connected with TOO LATE BLUES through actors Vince Edwards and Nick Dennis. Still later, Crosse received an Academy Award nomination for THE REIVERS and co-starred in an unsuccessful sitcom with Don Adams before passing away from cancer in 1973.


  10. mary Mallory says:

    Allyson Ames and Nick Dennis.


  11. Sylvia E. says:

    Wed – image 1- Marilyn Clark. Image 2 – Nick Dennis w/the cigar and BOTHG Bobby Darin.

    A revisit to Tues – found a wider framed shot the OS folks around Rupert Crosse are Bobby Darin and Everett Chambers, though not sure who the balding guy is.


  12. Today: Marilyn Clark; Nick Dennis, Bobby Darrin
    Monday: Slim Gaillard
    Tuesday: Rupert Crosse


  13. Howard Mandelbaum says:



  14. mike hawks says:

    Rupert Crosse, Nick Dennis and Bobby Darin in TOO LATE BLUES.


  15. E. Yarber says:

    Wednesday we have Marilyn Clark as The Countess and Nick Dennis as… well, Nick.

    When later distancing himself from TOO LATE BLUES, Cassavetes claimed he and STACCATO writer Dick Carr slapped the screenplay together over a boozy weekend, Cassavetes writing the first half and Carr the second, neither looking at what the other was doing. In reality, they carefully developed three projects together while the show was still in production, Cassavetes clearly looking toward a post-TV Hollywood studio career. Paramount picked up TOO LATE BLUES as the cheapest of the three to produce, the other two being war pictures.

    The business of the split plotting seems accurate, however, with Cassavetes indeed running the first half and Carr then handling the characters’ fall from whatever level of grace they might have had left. Both musician Ghost and singer Jess end up sexually prostituting themselves as a metaphor for the debasement of their art, as Ghost becomes the kept man of The Countess and discovers Jess reduced to a b-girl. It’s interesting to see that both genders are equally exploited, which leaves Ghost unable to take a moral position against Jess’s decline.

    Like Rupert Crosse, Marilyn Clark previously appeared in SHADOWS as well as STACCATO, and would have minor roles in two other Cassavetes films. This is probably her most prominent role in his work, and her harsh domination of Ghost is in stark contrast to his sympathetic attempt to bring out the latent talent of vulnerable Jess.

    The major qualm one could have with the role is that “The Countess” seems to be a very misleading portrait of an actual person, Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter, a Rothschild heiress known as “The Baroness” because she had two scoops to the title as the daughter and wife of different Barons. Disinherited by her family when she divorced her Baron husband, she moved to the US and became a patron of progressive jazz musicians. Far from the predator seen here, however, she was deeply devoted to troubled performers. Before TOO LATE BLUES, the seriously ill Charlie Parker stayed in her New York hotel suite, where he died. After the film was released she housed Thelonious Monk at her own home for the last six years of his life, personally nursing him in tandem with his wife Nellie. Don’t judge her by what you see here, folks.

    Nick Dennis was one of the poker buddies in both the Broadway production and Warner Brothers film of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. At the time of TOO LATE BLUES, he and Vince Edwards were both regulars on the BEN CASEY TV show. To accommodate their Casey-load, Cassavetes shot all their scenes on the same set, a pool room Nick owns that has become a sort of playhouse for Ghost’s band until they end up pariahs. Nick’s shift from paternal indulgence to open disgust is yet another sign of Ghost’s change in fortune. Though Rupert Crosse doesn’t turn up in the pool room, he’d later appear in a couple of CASEY episodes.

    While Nick plays Nick here, Cassavetes would return to the name in art and life alike. Peter Falk’s character in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE is another Nick, while Cassavetes plays Nicky against Falk’s Mikey in Elaine May’s MIKEY AND NICKY. Then there’s Cassavetes’ son Nick, who appears as a kid at the end of HUSBANDS and would grow up to direct his dad’s unfilmed screenplay SHE’S SO LOVELY.


  16. E. Yarber says:

    Correction: While Marilyn Clark’s role in TOO LATE BLUES was probably her most prominent appearance in a Cassavetes FEATURE, which usually had her in uncredited roles, she had more to do in her STACCATO episode, “Murder for Credit,” directed by Cassavetes from a teleplay by Carr. Her work on that show is likely the factor that got her cast as The Countess.


  17. mary Mallory says:

    Marilyn Clark Tuesday, Bobby Darin BOH Wednesday, Charlie Carnell, Richard Chambers, Seymour Cassel, Everett Chambers, and Vince Edwards for today.


  18. Cliff Carnell
    Richard Chambers, Seymour Cassell
    Edward Chambers, Vince Edwards


  19. beachgal says:

    Mon – piano player Slim Gallard, Gal pal have to work on her. I didn’t find her listed on TCM, AFI nor IMDB.
    Tues – Rupert Cross
    Wen – #1 Marilyn Clark
    Wen #2 – Nick Dennis with BOTHG Bobby Darin
    Thurs #1 – Cliff Carnell
    Thurs #2 left is Richard Chambers and right is Seymour Cassel
    Thurs #3 left is Everett Chambers and right is Vince Edwards
    Our film is Too Late Blues

    Fri we should see Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens


  20. mike hawks says:

    Richard Chambers, Seymour Cassel and Vince Edwards.


  21. tucsonbarbara says:

    “Too Late Blues”

    Mon – Morris Buchanan
    Tues – Rupert Crosse
    Wed – Marilyn Clark, Nick Dennis
    Thurs – Richard Chambers, Seymour Cassel, Everett Chambers, Vince Edwards


  22. McDee says:

    Could this be Sweet Love, Bitter from 1967 with Don Murray?


  23. E. Yarber says:

    I missed two important Nicks yesterday… Cassavetes’ father and elder brother. That nails the reason for his fondness of the name.

    Here’s to the band for Thursday. Some critics find these guys laughingly un-hip. I first saw TOO LATE BLUES on a double bill with SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, and there certainly was a leap from Chico Hamilton and Fred Katz to this box of Hush Puppies, but they works for the film even if Cassavetes himself wanted to shoot in New York with heavier jazz composers than David Grusin, best known for the gentle “Laura” theme.

    Ghost’s ensemble is a posse of also-rans, held together only by his initial passion for the music, even if his ambition takes them no further than free gigs for school kids and empty parks. Cassavetes stresses the team aspect of their bonding when they dive into an impromptu baseball game, which they approach with the same casualness as their music career. When Ghost finally loses all integrity and dumps his group, they lose all individuality whatsoever, wearing corny uniforms while playing rote tunes with numbers instead of titles. Ghost finally reunites them with Jess for a moment of their former solidarity, but it’s unclear if this gesture will lead to anything. Cassavetes was not going to fall into the Hollywood cliche of a character succeeding just because they want something.

    Cliff Carnell was in SHADOWS and would turn up in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE. Most of his other work was in television, though he appeared in THE LOLLIPOP COVER (1965) directed by Everett Chambers. Here, Charlie is the most defined of the sidemen, if you can consider a jellyfish to have definition. He’s an unconvincing opportunist, always trying and failing to ingratiate himself. He reveals a darker side when seducing Jess, clearly operating not out of passion but a need to get one over on Ghost. When reunited with Ghost at the end, however, he’s back to bowing and scraping. Ghost ignores his bleating.

    You might think trumpet player Richard O. Chambers could be related to Everett, especially since he was assistant director on THE LOLLIPOP COVER, but in reality he was a buddy of Cassavetes going back to the director’s brief Army Reserves service in 1953. He gets a nice moment in the park scene, continuing to play for a few moments after everyone else has thrown in the towel.

    Bassist Seymour Cassel was a kid who burst into Cassavetes’ acting class demanding lessons, and stuck with him all the way from SHADOWS to LOVE STREAMS. He’s not given much here, but his offstage loyalty clicks with the nature of his role as one of the gang.

    Just as Cassavetes later made THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE to express the relentless pain of cobbling funds for his independent films, the failure of STACCATO looms over TOO LATE BLUES. It seems particularly meta that he cast the program’s Executive Producer Everett Chambers as irredeemably sleazy agent Benny Flowers, the epitome of showbiz corruption. That would be a little misleading, since Cassavetes was actually the hustler behind Chambers’ role on the show. Chambers had been a casting agent that Cassavetes insisted produce STACCATO, wanting someone in charge that he could leverage, if not outright control. Unlike some weasel pushed up the ladder, however, Chambers turned out to be pretty effective in the job, with a long career extending from STACCATO to AIRWOLF, including nearly 400 episodes of PEYTON PLACE and the prime seasons of COLUMBO, starring Cassavetes’ pal Peter Falk. Cliff Carnell appeared in three episodes of that show while Chambers was in charge.

    If you REALLY want meta, check out the guy that Benny is manipulating. Cassavetes met Vince Edwards in acting school and worked with him professionally a couple of times. What’s lost to audiences sixty years later is that Edwards was a HUGE television figure in 1962, though his hit series is rarely seen today. Imagine the impact of sitting through a story chiefly cast with unknowns and suddenly finding Ben freaking Casey appearing out of nowhere to bait them. A proxy for hapless Johnny Staccato winds up going head to head with a successful TV icon, and the star beats the living daylights out of the wannabe. Cassavetes was unsparing here in expressing not only Ghost’s humiliation, but his own defeat in the business.


  24. E. Yarber says:

    I seem to be correcting myself repeatedly this week. My contention that John Cassavetes wanted to “control” Everett Chambers as Executive Producer was harsh. It seems Benny Flowers still manages to play up the worst notions in people.

    A better way to regard Cassavetes’ lobbying for Chambers is that he wanted someone he could work with, not a black-suited MCA loyalist. The studio making STACCATO was notorious for playing hardball to get their way, so Cassavetes was properly protecting himself by bringing a creatively viable collaborator aboard. As noted, Chambers was great at that job.


  25. Sylvia E. says:

    Thurs- 1) Cliff Carnell (I think) / 2) Richard Chambers and Seymour Cassell 3) Everett Chambers and Vince Edwards

    So Friday will bring ‘non-cropped for lack of mysterious’/not OS images of Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens.

    It was interesting to read that John Cassavetes wanted Montgomery Clift for the role Bobby Darin ended up playing. Can see why that would have been a good match.


  26. Greg says:

    The movie is “Too Late Blues” with Rupert Crosse as Tuesday Mystery Man, Nick Dennis as the Wednesday Mystery Man, Richard Chambers and Seymour Cassel as the Thursday Musicians and Everett Chambers and Vince Edwards as the Thursday Mystery Gents.


  27. Mary Mallory says:

    Bobby Darin and STella Stevens on Tuesday as well as today.


  28. tucsonbarbara says:

    Stella Stevens, Bobby Darin


  29. Bobby Darin; Stella Stevens.


  30. Gary A Martin says:

    A reversal here. Now that I know it is B. Darin in Too Late Blues, I can idenify the actors.


  31. mike hawks says:

    Stella Stevens and Bobby Darin.


  32. E. Yarber says:

    As you might tell from my frequent u-turns this week, I’m not quite comfortable posting these notes without a chance to correct myself. Today, I have the uneasy feeling I may have credited Dave Grusin for TOO LATE BLUE’s score instead of David Raskin (who really did write “Laura.”) Tomorrow I’ll find out what I said, which feels uncomfortably like waking up from a bender.

    TOO LATE BLUES opens with Ghost and his ensemble playing for a group of children, setting up the theme that these guys are essentially kids themselves. They’re constantly being challenged wherever they go, be it a youngster grabbing Charlie’s sax at the school, quitting an empty concert to play baseball, or grimmer scenes in which they have to go through the meat grinder of the music business.

    Two refuge areas are established. The first is Nick’s pool room, where the guys can hang out like teenagers, swilling beer like cokes. The second is the bar Ghost takes Jess to. This is supposedly a more adult spot where hard liquor is consumed, but even then Ghost is able to play there like a mischievous boy. As he mixes a drink, he declares himself “Dr. Sivana,” the goofy mad scientist of the original Captain Marvel comic book series. Both these sanctuaries are breached as the characters’ luck runs out. In the pool room, the musicians lose their swagger when a pair of genuine tough guys go at them for real. The bar becomes a squalid sexual market for Jess, no longer a place for romance.

    In today’s clue, we find Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens in the bar. When Paramount gave Cassavetes the chance to direct TOO LATE BLUES, they vetoed most of his requests. He had to film in Los Angeles rather than New York, was given a few weeks to shoot instead of the six months he wanted, and refused to cast Montgomery Clift and Gena Rowlands as the leads. In the case of Clift, the studio felt Cassavetes was too inexperienced to handle such a troubled actor, while Stevens was already under contract and Darin was looking for a non-singing chance to develop as an actor. Jazz aficionado Cassavetes wasn’t crazy about trying to do a serious film about music with a guy who sang “Splish Splash,” and a starlet fresh from an Elvis Presley movie.

    Still, Darin and Stevens (why does an image of Dick York flash through my mind?) are actually more appropriate for the finished film than Cassavetes’ choices. This is a story about undeveloped characters, and this pair’s real-life uncertainty about their work on screen is far more convincing in a story about close-but-no-cigar performers than the most polished simulation by more skillful actors, as are the personalities they can’t help but project.

    If Montgomery Clift is beaten up by Vince Edwards, it would be Christlike. If Bobby Darin is beaten up by Vince Edwards, it would be a foregone conclusion. Darin is ineffective, not haunted. Gena Rowlands, even when playing a depressed or disturbed character, brings a high level of energy and ingenuity to her behavior. When Ghost returns to the bar, for example. we see Jess in the process of being picked up by two sleazy guys. Ghost kicks them out as she’s on the verge of leaving with them. Now consider the opening of FACES. Rowlands is now the pick-up for two sleazy guys and this time we see what happens when they leave the bar. She engages them, plays with them, and demands a degree of dignity after ultimately giving in to one’s demands. Jess is simply not capable of that level of independence, which is the point of TOO LATE BLUES. The subtext here is that art requires a foundation of self-development if one is to survive the whirlpool of the business. Stevens and Rowland each serve the function of their role as demanded by the specific story they enact.

    In yet another example of art imitating life, Cassavetes wasn’t grounded enough at this time to negotiate the stairway he was trying to ascend. Though TOO LATE BLUES was barely seen, it satisfied Paramount enough to offer Cassavetes a long-term deal. When the first project under this contract fell through, he accepted an offer from Stanley Kramer to helm A CHILD IS WAITING, which would prove to be an even more excruciating experience than STACCATO or TOO LATE BLUES. Cassavetes the director would not reappear fox six years, and by then he had grown into a style of expression that he could uniquely claim as his own.


  33. Sylvia E. says:

    Really enjoyed E. Yarber’s background details on this film. Very informative.

    Good mystery movie pick, Larry.


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