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…
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…
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…
''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…
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…
Not my favorite film noir, but a damn good one.
A classy noir film. A great story full of twists, put on screen with elegance by Jacques Tourneur. Mitchum is sharp playing the charming hero, who sees himself inside a thunder of passion, betrayal and crime, all created by corrupt women. But this time these women underestimated their target.
One of the best instances of film-noir, close to the best Kurosawa or Dassin
Wasn't feeling it.
Hard-as-nails film noir with Robert Mitchum as a P.I. who gets in way over his head when he falls for the woman he is hired to seek out for gangster Kirk Douglas. Jacques Tourneur's much celebrated thriller is not only one of the great examples of the form, with its pristine monochrome visuals and elegantly assembled flashback structure that slowly unties the many knots that link the convoluted plot, it is also unrelentingly bleak, extinguishing any hope of redemption for Mitchum's all-too-fallible protagonist and the stunning Jane Greer's duplicitous femme, surely one of the most dangerously alluring of all noir's women. A stone cold classic.
I know I'm in the minority, but I think the changes to storytelling in the 68 years since its release made it difficult for me to love.
+: snappy dialogue from Robert Mitchum; Jane Greer is gorgeous with some truly disdainful dagger stares
Really great Noir is one of my favorite types of movies. Out of the Past is really well directed, surprising I haven't heard about many other Jacques Tourneur films. Maybe I'm just oblivious. Also, seeing a young Kirk Douglas is a real treat.
I thought I enjoyed this but all I can remember is something about a fishing rod
- 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 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that allows users to…