Out of the Past ★★★★★

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We may be done with the past, but the past is never done with us. Robert Mitchum plays Jeff, a man trying to escape his shady past and settle down in a small rural community, but former big city boss Kirk Douglas has other plans for him.

That sense of not being able to escape your past probably didn’t mean much to me the first time I saw the film, since I was in my 20s and didn’t have much of a past. Yet now, thinking about the sins/mistakes/indiscretions of my life, and pondering how such things might come back to haunt me as they did Jeff, this viewing became much more personal.

Out of the Past is recognized as one of the great films noir and contains one of noir’s most gut-wrenching final scenes. The performances are excellent and Jane Greer is one of the most stunning of all femmes fatale. (Out of the Past was also the first movie in our library’s “Film Noir Theatre” series in 2014.)