Out of the Past is so perfect a film noir that it is considered practically a textbook example of the genre. In his first starring role (it had previously been offered to John Garfield and Dick Powell), Robert Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, the friendly but secretive proprietor of a mountain-village gas station. As Jeff's worshipful deaf-mute ...
Out of the Past is so perfect a film noir that it is considered practically a textbook example of the genre. In his first starring role (it had previously been offered to John Garfield and Dick Powell), Robert Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, the friendly but secretive proprietor of a mountain-village gas station. As Jeff's worshipful deaf-mute attendant (Dick Moore) looks on in curious fascination, an unsavory character named Joe (Paul Valentine) pulls up to the station, obviously looking for the owner. Jeff is all too aware of Joe's identity; he's been dreading this moment for quite some time, knowing full well that it will mean the end of his semi-idyllic existence, not to mention his engagement to local girl Ann (Virginia Huston). In a lengthy flashback, the audience is apprised of the reasons behind Jeff's discomfort - and thus begins a tale of treachery, betrayal and intrigue that extends into the present day and turns Jeff's life upside down. Out of the Past was remade in 1984 as Against All Odds, with Jane Greer cast as the mother of her original character. Hal Erickson, Rovi
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Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb. New in new packaging. Language: English. Run time: 97 mins. Aspect ratio: 1.33: 1. Originally released: 1947. "Build my gallows high, baby"--just one of the quintessentially noir sentiments expressed by Robert Mitchum in this classic of the genre. Mitchum, in absolute prime, sleepy-eyed form, relates a complicated flashback about getting hired by gangster Kirk Douglas to find femme fatale Jane Greer. The chain of film noir elements--love, money, lies--drags Mitchum into the lower depths. Director Jacques Tourneur gets the edgy negotiations between men and women as exactly right as he gets the inky shadows of the noir landscape (even the sunlit exteriors are fraught with doubt). This is Mitchum in excelsis, with his usual laid-back cool laced with great dialogue and tragic foreshadowing. As for his co-star, James Agee immortally opined that Jane Greer "can best be described, in an ancient idiom, as a hot number." Remade in 1984, unhappily, as Against All Odds (with Greer in a supporting role). --Robert Horton