Author Topic: Out of the Past (1947)  (Read 1524 times)

Offline Antares

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Out of the Past (1947)
« on: December 04, 2009, 06:30:24 AM »
Out of the Past





Year: 1947
Film Studio: RKO Radio Pictures
Genre: Film Noir, Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Length: 97 Min.

Director
Jacques Tourneur (1904)

Writer
Daniel Mainwaring (1902)...Screenplay
Daniel Mainwaring (1902)...Novel "Build My Gallows High"

Producer
Warren Duff (1904)
Robert Sparks (1898)

Cinematographer
Nicholas Musuraca (1892)

Music
Roy Webb (1888)...Composer

Stars
Robert Mitchum (1917) as Jeff Bailey
Jane Greer (1924) as Kathie Moffat
Kirk Douglas (1916) as Whit Sterling
Rhonda Fleming (1923) as Meta Carson
Richard Webb (1915) as Jim
Steve Brodie (1919) as Jack Fisher
Virginia Huston (1925) as Ann Miller
Paul Valentine (1919) as Joe Stephanos

Review
       A hardboiled gumshoe, a playboy with a vendetta and a drop dead gorgeous dame who leaves bodies in her wake, are pitted against each other in a deadly game of deceit, double-crosses and murder in the ‘film noir’ classic Out of the Past. Robert Mitchum stars as Jeff Bailey, owner of a small gas station whose past comes back to haunt him one day when he is visited by Joe Stepahanos (Paul Valentine). It is revealed that Jeff, whose last name is actually Markham, is a former detective who disappeared after double-crossing Joe’s boss Whit Stirling (Kirk Douglas), who had hired Jeff to investigate the whereabouts of his girlfriend Kathy (Jane Greer).

       During an argument, Kathy shot Whit and ran off with a rather large sum of his money. Whit, who is a multi-millionaire, walks a fine line between respectability and the seedier side of life, and will stop at nothing to get the girl and his 40 G’s back. In short time Jeff has tracked Kathy to Acapulco, Mexico and in even shorter time, has fallen for the sultry and seductive siren. Their un-bridled passion will force Jeff into a decision that will spiral his life out of control as Kathy proves to be more than he can handle. They give Whit the slip and try to start a new life together in the mountains of California.
 
       Their harried life is thrown a curve one day when Jeff’s old partner Jack Fisher (Steve Brodie) arrives at their cabin and tries to blackmail them out of Whit’s money. The two old friends grapple together as Kathy nervously watches on. Suddenly a shot is fired and Fisher falls to the ground, in the background Kathy stands poised with a gun, the muzzle still smoldering. Jeff rebukes her for firing the shot that killed his partner, and when he turns away to look at his old friend, she bolts out the door and vanishes.

       At this point we are introduced to Whit at his palatial residence overlooking Lake Tahoe. Whit, who apparently is unaware of Jeff’s double dealing, has once again hired him to help obtain documents that his lawyer is using to blackmail him with the IRS. If the government gets its hands on these documents, Whit’s next address won’t be as extravagant, with the Fed’s as his landlord at San Quentin. Jeff smells a rat and is further convinced of a frame-up when he learns that Kathy is back with Whit.
(click to show/hide)

       It may all sound convoluted and distorted and in the end no one lives happily ever after, but Out of the Past is ‘film noir’ at its finest. The dialogue is lyrical and raw with icy emotions that keep the viewer engaged for its entire duration. The performances are all first rate and this film would set the benchmark for all ‘noir’ classics in the future. Robert Mitchum would become the personification of coolness, long before James Dean and Steve McQueen were blips on the radar screen. If it hadn’t been for his marijuana bust the following year, he probably would have eclipsed John Wayne as the screens most popular icon.


Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:21:16 PM by Antares »

Najemikon

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Re: Out of the Past (1947)
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 01:02:49 PM »
Nice review! Been some time since I saw this one. My favourite Mitchum is probably Night of the Hunter, but I really like The Yakuza too.