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Out of the Past Reviews

This quintessential film noir catapulted contract player Robert Mitchum into superstardom and set the standard for the genre for years to come. Boasting a typically confusing and convoluted plot line, the film follows laconic private eye Jeff Bailey (Mitchum) as he is lured into a fateful quagmire when hired by notorious gangster Whit Sterling (Douglas) to find his mistress, Kathie Moffett (Greer), who shot him and ran off with $40,000. Jeff traces Kathie to Mexico, but when he meets the seductive femme fatale he falls in love with her and willingly becomes involved in an increasingly complicated web of double-crosses, blackmail, and murder. Directed with supreme skill by Jacques Tourneur (CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE) and brilliantly photographed by Nicholas Musuraca, this is an unrelentingly gloomy film set in a dark world of greed and deceit where love is just another device to ensnare the gullible. It was here that Mitchum created what became his iconographic screen persona: the droopy-eyed cynic who accepts fate with a studied nonchalance. Jane Greer is equally superb, perfecting the role of the femme fatale with a combination of erotic fire and cool detachment. Her first appearance in the film--cutting a sultry silhouette as she enters a dark cantina from the bright white outdoors--is one of the great entrances in film history. A seminal genre film, certainly among the greatest whose influence is still felt today, OUT OF THE PAST was remade as the distinctly inferior AGAINST ALL ODDS.