All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
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…
Film #30 of Project 40
”You know, maybe I was wrong and luck is like love. You have to go all the way to find it.”
Out of the Past offers everything that you may expect from a film noir of 40s: An intricate plot centering around an unsolvable mystery, characters who are trying to double cross each other, dark past, flashbacks, gloomy pictures, cigarette smoke, femme fatales and a pretty much frightening atmosphere. Jacques Tourneur orchestrates this complex collection with admirable skill and gives us a film that has all the elements of the great noir cinema, while Out of the Past is a quite underrated work in comparison to some of the more famous noirs of 40s but…
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…
''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…
For a film so indelibly involved in the lost rivers of memory, Out of the Past confounds because of its ever-present feeling within the now. Every frame feels like the mistakes and the pain of the past will reach out and strangle our main characters, but that never stops the main mystery from propelling forward with impeccable fluidity. The chemistry between Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer is some of the finest to ever emerge out of the film-noir genre, with the two crafting conversations of moving honesty and sparkling sensuality.
The atmosphere that they're surrounded in, with Nicholas Musuraca conjuring haunting imagery as DP, only cements the fact that Jacques Tourneur was a master of looming terror. Out of the Past, with its hard-boiled corruption and its sexy otherworldly rhythms, is quite possibly the finest horror film that Jacques ever directed. It is film-noir at its most crystalline and pure, and you won't soon forget it.
Joe couldn't find a prayer in the Bible.
- Whit Sterling
It seems like a lot of noir stories are about a man's past coming up to bite him in the arse. Usually a woman will be involved - the femme fatale - she'll be responsible for a crime or pushing the man towards it. And now he'll be stuck between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go but down. Part of me thinks that these sorts of stories are too convoluted and drawn-out to ever amount to much, but then again, it's hardly like the best noirs act like plotting is their most important element. The complex pulpy narrative only seems secondary to the larger picture…
I'm still surprised that the Hays Code people were okay with this ending, but that barely deters that this is seen as one of the upper echelon of film noir.
I don't think I'm in love with it as much as others are, but that's probably just me putting too much hype into it before I watched. Watching Mitchum really make you care what happens to him, as his expressions may seem neutral, you always seem to know what's going on in his head, or at least that the wheels are turning. Even with those resting eyes.
I really should have had this off my shame list years ago.
With the plot changing around so much it can be quite difficult to not get a slight head ache while watching the film, but it's more than worth it. Robert Mitchum gives one of his best performances.
A really great film noir. Mitchum and Greer are great.
While Out of the Past sets the stage for Hollywood's modern thriller, the first third of the film feels a little wordy and robotic in the way it saturates every exchange of dialogue with colorful quips lifted from the novel. Even in low stakes diner conversations, there is a competitive heft to the banter.
Once the film catches up to the present, the increasingly witty exchanges compliment the weight and intensity of the film much better. The pugilistic dialogue mirrors the way the characters are vying for the upper hand, taking two stairs at a time to keep ahead of the plot. Bailey confidently strolling up the back stairwell of the Sterling Club, knocking the phone away, knocking the manager…
Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum. A young Jane Greer. The best writing you'll ever hear. Mitchum at his DGAF best.
Deservedly a noir classic. Douglas and Mitchum are both terrific--Douglas, in particular, crackles as a man who will kill you but never stop smiling and speaking pleasantly--but the film belongs to Greer.
I possibly waited too long to see Out of the Past, having had the plot explained to me in noir analysis years ago. Unlike other classic noirs, I went into Out of the Past familiar with the twists and turns and it does detract from the viewing experience somewhat.
That said, it's still a blinder of a film. Driven by performances and wonderful dialogue. There are scenes of world-beating brilliance. Robert Mitchum explaining how the economy works to Kirk Douglas, "you're like a leaf that blows from gutter to gutter", Kirk offering Mitchum a cigarette only for him to reply "smoking", "a dame with a rod is like a guy with a knitting needle", the small world/big sign line and yanno, fuck it, pretty much every line is great in this.
From the beginning this film oozes a sense of doom and gloom. A stranger drives into a small town and stops at a gas station looking for the owner and communicates with a frightened deaf and mute young man. We sense the fearful reaction of the young man as they have their conversation and from there on it becomes a mystery that unravels slowly and exquisitely.
This is more of west coast Film Noir as it takes place in San Francisco and small towns in the beautiful landscapes outside of the big cities in California. It reminded me of the movement from The Lady from Shanghai: from New York, to South America to the west coast. Unlike The Lady from…
- directed by Jacques Tourneur & cinematography by Nick Musuraca
- terrific lighting & use of geometric shapes within frame
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…