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After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

1:13 | Trailer
An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both... See full summary »


James Foley


Jim Thompson (novel), Robert Redlin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jason Patric ... Kevin 'kid' Collins
Rocky Giordani ... Bert
Rachel Ward ... Fay Anderson
Bruce Dern ... Garrett "Uncle Bud" Stoker
Tom Wagner Tom Wagner ... Counterman
Mike Hagerty ... Truck Driver (as Michael G. Hagerty)
James E. Bowen Jr. James E. Bowen Jr. ... Second Driver
George Dickerson George Dickerson ... Doc Goldman
Napoleon Walls Napoleon Walls ... Boxing Referee
Corey Carrier ... Jack
Jeanie Moore ... Nanny
James Cotton James Cotton ... Charlie
Burke Byrnes ... Cop
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vincent Mazella Jr. Vincent Mazella Jr. ... Flashback Fighter (as Vince Mazzella Jr.)
Thomas Wagner


An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both into helping kidnap a rich boy for ransom money, and the ex-fighter must make decisions about his loyalties and what is right. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Seduced beyond the limits of deception. Betrayed beyond the limits of desire.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

24 August 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Depois do anoitecer, querida See more »

Filming Locations:

Mecca, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$244,919, 26 August 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Avenue Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Roger Ebert, After Dark, My Sweet "is the movie that eluded audiences; it grossed less than $3 million, has been almost forgotten, and remains one of the purest and most uncompromising of modern films noir. It captures above all the lonely, exhausted lives of its characters." See more »


When Collie opens the door at 24:04, sunny green outdoor foliage is visible through the doorway, yet in the next shot, Collie is just proceeding into another room of the house. See more »


Kevin 'kid' Collins: Uh, how about a ride?
Truck Driver: Sorry. Company says no riders.
Kevin 'kid' Collins: I could ride in the back. Just til daylight. We'll probably run right into that darn crazy Jack Billingsley!
See more »

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User Reviews

In this retelling, Jim Thompson's dark poetry doesn't survive time-travel forward
25 January 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

In James Foley's After Dark, My Sweet, drawn from Jim Thompson's moody suspense novel, Jason Patric gives a late riff on early Brando. He plays `Kid' Collins, a `retired' boxer who spent some spells in mental institutions after killing an opponent in the ring; now he's frozen into a perpetual fighter's crouch.

Now on the road, he drifts into a bar frequented by Rachel Ward and her unexplained Cornish accent (still a juicer, she's not quite the slatternly shrew of the book). She takes him home and stashes him in a trailer out back among the date palms. Next, up pops `Uncle' Bud (Bruce Dern), who suborns Patric into a half-baked scheme for kidnapping a rich kid. As happens with such schemes, things go awry (the kid turns out to be a diabetic, for one thing), and it falls to Patric to put matters right by a supreme act of self-sacrifice.

But the somnolent pace and elliptical plotting that worked in Thompson's telling sit uncomfortably on the screen. Even in the 1950s, the novel felt that it belonged to the conventions of a decade (or two) earlier – it's a Depression-era, or immediate post-war kind of story. Fast-forwarding it to the 1990s proved more a shock than it could sustain, a disparity exaggerated by misguided fealty to the book.

While there's some fussy updating (the anonymous sticks of Thompson's vision become a faintly upscale desert enclave; an airport replaces the bus terminal), elements that need freshening stick out as anachronisms. For instance, the solicitous attraction felt by the 50-year-old bachelor doctor (George Dickerson) toward Patric can only be homoerotic. While Thompson, chafing under the constraints of his time, left that to be distantly inferred, there's no reason to be coy about it more than 30 years later (there's little coy about the lovemaking between Ward and Patric). To his credit, Dickerson gives the game away with his doomed looks of longing; was it Charles Laughton who remarked `They can't censor the gleam in my eye?' And the long fuse between Ward and Patric sputters on and on; the movie could only be improved by losing half an hour of downing drinks and exchanging alternating glances of hatred and lust.

The best thing about After Dark, My Sweet is Patric's performance, even if, in keeping with the fads of the 1950s, it gives off too many whiffs of `method.' At least he gives the role his best shot. The movie's flaws, however, can't be ascribed to Thompson. Latter-day filmings of his work, like The Grifters of the same year and (especially) The Kill-Off a year before, show there's plenty of punch left in the old pulpmeister.

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