Better Late Fees Than Never

  • videoarchives
  • February 21, 2023

The Video Archives After Show says “Bonjour” from Monte Carlo! We’re cracking open the Video Vault for a conversation about 1983’s Art Carney/David Niven comedy Better Late Than Never. We’ve also got a fan question about Steve McQueen that allows Quentin and Roger to engage in a bit of cinema speculation, and more of Gala’s interview with Roger, on Stanley Kubrick’s secret codes and the movies that inspired him to become a filmmaker. I’ve got cheeky box art and film facts in today’s Counter Talk, so let’s board the yacht and set sail…

Today’s After Show captures a unique Video Archives conversation, since unlike most of our movie segments, Quentin and Roger didn’t watch this film together! At the time of this recording, Quentin had just returned to LA after a couple months away. He started the session by filling us in on some of the movies he’d watched on his own over the break, before we got into recording a proper Video Archives episode. That means this segment is mainly QT explaining the ludicrous plot of this film to Roger & Gala – which turned out to be incredibly entertaining in its own right, so we couldn’t let it just sit on the shelf.

The Better Late Than Never box art is eye-catching, with a bikini-clad Catherine Hicks flanked by dueling stars Art Carney and David Niven, and Niven giving his best “Can you believe this?” goggle-eyed stare to the camera.

Niven looks fit and trim in the art, and in the film - I agree with Quentin that he looks like he could still ‘get it’ at the age of 73. Despite his hale appearance, however, he began dealing with serious health problems during the making of Better Late Than Never, which would later be diagnosed as ALS; he died soon after the release of the film. In fact, most of the production took place close by Niven’s home in the French Riviera to accommodate his failing health.

Here’s a taste of the plot from the back of the Key Video box (though you should really listen to the episode first - spoilers follow):

This was, unfortunately, young Kimberley Partridge’s only film acting role (though she would later go on to a theater career, performing in Cats in London).

Today’s Merch Spotlight comes from Rob Tyler, toasting us from the UK! He says, “London Calling!!
Love this podcast, I’ve been listening right from the beginning. So many cool movies to discover or rediscover. So grateful too to Gala for helping show the way to hunting them down.”

Better Late Than Never is surprisingly stacked with Oscar contenders, with Art Carney, David Niven and Dame Maggie Smith all previous Academy Award winners. That’s also true of next week’s leadoff film, the first of a classic Video Archives triple feature. Until then – rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music, tell your friends about the show, and keep on tuning in to Video Archives!