Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Out of the Past
A MAN - Trying to run away from his past... A WOMAN - Trying to escape her future...
Jeff Bailey seems to be a mundane gas station owner in remote Bridgeport, CA. He is dating local girl Ann Miller and lives a quiet life. Town lawman Jim is in love with Ann and unsure about Jeff, who is secretive about his past.
How big a chump can you get to be? I was finding out.
Jacques Tourneur made his Hollywood feature film debut under contract with MGM Studios but was released after a few unsuccessful films. He went to work for RKO Pictures, but was relegated to the B-list. It's here that his career dramatically turned around as Tourneur was able to make a few true classics under the B-movie structure (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie) which caused him to soon be promoted to the A-List and on track to direct the greatest film of his career.
While Daniel Mainwaring (working under the pseudonym Geoffrey Homes) is credited with adapting his own novel, Build My Gallows High, it's…
''Let's go down to the bar. We can cool off while we try to impress each other.''
One would be hard pressed to name a more effective example of film noir than Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past and it's all served up on a silver platter; hard-boiled, double-talking detective (Robert Mitchum), seductive femme fatale (Jane Greer), girlfriend with a heart of gold (Virginia Huston), the slick and slippery gangster (Kirk Douglas), a tangled web of a plot that requires full attention to grasp (thanks Wikipedia plot synopsis), shadowy photography and lots of cigarette smoke.
Tourneur brings his Cat People cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca along for the ride and together they manage to capture the true essence of the genre in…
One of the best of the Film Noir. Robert Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey a private eye who gets mixed up with (actually between) gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) and his girl Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer). Bailey is sent to find the Sterling’s girl who has shot the gangster and run off. Not sure if Sterling wants the girl back to kill her or to make-up, Bailey finds her. But, Bailey decides he loves her and he runs off with her. After realizing just what deep trouble he is in, he tries to leave that life behind and live a quiet, simple life with a nice girl.
However, his past finds him out and he is sent on one more job…
David's Movie entry #18: May 5th, 2014
In Memory of David Eisen
Tourneur, the man who began his fame with high class b-movies that he turned into an art form all on their own had gained so much recognition with his work at the bottom of the studio barrel that he had climbed his way to the top. Out of the Past is a A grade picture all the way with a stellar cast in Mitchum, Douglas, and Greer. Jacques Tourneur had succeeded where one of my favorite Japanese filmmakers Seijun Suzuki did not. Whereas Suzuki was continually forced to work on lower scale studio controlled pictures in which he tried to apply his own aesthetic to the same way…
The noiriest noir? Give Robert Mitchum a hat and a cigarette, and he can turn the lyrics to "Yankee Doodle Dandy" into hard boiled dialogue. Give Tourneur a title and a movie camera, and he'll make poetry. The final scene is a real gut punch.
Fortuitous to get a copy of this right after mainlining Tourneur's biggest modern disciple, Costa. I'd forgotten what a breathtaking film this is, clearly informed by Tourneur's Lewton work. As Ebert so smartly noted, light is thrown between characters to catch their cigarette smoke, and that focus on the gaps, the emptiness, transfigures the director's preoccupation on a spiritual absence in the Lewton horrors with a moral one.
The pinnacle of noir as far as I'm concerned. Perfectly cast and endless quotable. Mitchum is made for this roles, with those eyes and that sneer, contemptuous as much of himself as of those around him.
Explaining what exactly makes Out of the Past fit into the film-noir genre could require an extended essay in and of itself, though it is easy to see why the film is essentially considered the archetypical example of the genre.
Everything about the film is top-notch: an excellent leading performance by Robert Mitchum, a sinister femme fatale played by Jane Greer, a suspenseful, twisty (and, at times, too convoluted for its own good) plot, quick-fire dialogue, dark, shadowy cinematography, and much more.
Kirk Douglas is also very good as the film's villain, though it was a bit hard for me to picture him as such a character (I suppose this is because I am most familiar with him playing heroes,…
Jeff Bailey: "I didn't know you were so little."
Kathie Moffat: "I'm taller than Napoleon."
Jeff Bailey: "You're prettier, too."
Classic Noir dialogue right there. Out of the Past is regarded as one of the best Film Noir's out there and I can't really disagree. Its not one of my absolute favorites, but I really liked it and I'm sure I'll like it more after a second viewing. It has all the making of a Noir: witty dialogue, a Femme Fatale, and a story so full of twists that its often hard to follow. That's what makes it so fun though: trying to figure everything out along with the characters.
Robert Mitchum takes on the lead role and he is…
Here's the thing about film noir: it's protagonists never move forward.
They're either stuck in the past or in a temporary paradise/purgatory, but they will never move on with their lives.
I decided to give this film noir a shot at the suggestion of a recent "Entertainment Weekly" review. I can't say I was blown away like some critics of the classical genre. However, the coolness of Robert MItchum is one of intrigue.
The quintessential film noir is a crackling drama with punchy dialogue that hits the heights even though it's difficult to keep up with all the double crosses.
Sleepy-eyed Mitchum plays the former private eye hired by Douglas to track down Greer's femme fatale and when the hunter finds his prey it's lust at first sight and he's firmly set on the path to destruction.
Easily the best film to feature death by fishing rod..
- Masterful Noir, as gleefully slick and cynical as they come. Jacques Tourneur's shadows are blacker than black.
- UK title, 'Build My Gallows High' captures the tone of the film much better than 'Out of the Past'.
- Kirk Douglas so fresh faced and smarmy. Surely an actor who grew into his skin as it wrinkled
- Death by fishing rod, wow.
"Build my gallows high baby."
Review available at www.geeknewwave.com/article/retro-wave-film-noir-alive-blu-ray-out-past
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Sunday, September 14, 2014, 8:32 PM EST
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that…