All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. 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…
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…
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…
Kathie Moffat: I don't wanna to die.
Jeff Bailey: Neither do I baby, but if I have to, I'm gonna die last.
It seems like every noir is called the quintessential noir and in way a that is how that famed non-genre works. And this is another great hit, even though more than half of the film takes place during the day.
Mitchum and Greer are an excellent combo, both being exactly who they should be. The dialogue is good, sometimes too proud of its snappiness. The plot is actually decent and keeps you in suspense. Not the best noir I've ever seen but certainly first rate.
As advertised: A very ideosyncratic noir film, hitting the tropes and highs of the genre: A tense and twisting narrative with shifty gangsters, weak-minded heroes, and a femme fatale to end all femme fatales
Like in every great film noir, you can tell from the start that everyone here is doomed. You can feel it in the shadows. Not even the snappy, witty dialogue can light up this darkness. Robert Mitchum is doomed as a former private detective who went into hiding after he fell in love with a rich crime boss's woman only to see his affair with her end badly. Kirk Douglas is doomed as the crime boss who lost his lady and then got her back, but you know she doesn't really love him. And Jane Greer, angelically beautiful here, is doomed as the classic femme fatale whose loyalties change every five minutes.
The plot winds around so many corners that…
Like every Tourneur with me, I can feel already it will take some time to settle down inside of my guts. But I can already tell that it was a tough one. Mighty tough. Mitchum is the super-star within the frying-pans. And how he gets a smoke each time something happens? Old-school-coolness and way of expressing feelings!
Robert Mitchum told Roger Ebert he smoked so much, that when the camera was rolling on this film and Kirk Douglas offered him a pack and asked, "Cigarette?", Mitchum, realizing he'd carried a cigarette into the scene, held up his fingers and replied, "I'm smoking." His improvisation saved the take, and they kept it in the movie.
"The ne plus ultra of film noirs"? Eh, it's alright. I probably have to watch this again to see what the rave is all about.
For now though, Out of the Past is just another addition to my mental hodgepodge of indistinguishable noirs.
Some quick things before I get started: Add Robert Mitchukm to the "Chins of Humanity" list, Valia Valentinoff is Ben Affleck, Kirk Douglas is awesome, apparently this was directed by the same man who gave us Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie (I totally dig that), is it just me or do they smoke a lot in this film (even more than other noirs of the time period)? Also some of the most enjoyable fistfights I've ever seen. Ever.
I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of the films that were made during the period when the Hays Code was enforced. There's always this element of predictability, but sometimes said predictability can make for a pretty crazy…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
At least a half star off for fishing someone off of a cliff
Not bad for an old one
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men