Out of the Past (1947)

Out of the Past (1947)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Out of the Past Photos

Movie Info

This quintessential film noir made contract player Robert Mitchum a star and set the standard for the genre for years to come. Private eye Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is hired by notorious gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) to find his mistress, Kathie Moffett (Jane Greer), who shot him and ran off with $40,000. Jeff traces Kathie to Mexico, but when he meets her he falls in love and willingly becomes involved in an increasingly complicated web of double-crosses, blackmail, and murder. Directed with supreme skill by Jacques Tourneur and brilliantly photographed by Nicholas Musuraca, this is an unrelentingly gloomy film set in a dark world of greed and deceit where love is used to trap the gullible. It was here that Mitchum created what became his characteristic 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, in silhouette as she enters a dark cantina from the bright sunlight, 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.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Jane Greer
as Kathy
Rhonda Fleming
as Meta Carson
Steve Brodie
as Fisher
Dickie Moore
as The Kid
Ken Niles
as Eels
Lee Elson
as Policeman
Frank Wilcox
as Sheriff Douglas
Mary Field
as Marney
Jess Escobar
as Doorman
James Bush
as Doorman
Hubert Brill
as Car Manipulator
Brooks Benedict
as Kibitzer
Michael Lally
as Kibitzer
Homer Dickinson
as Kibitzer
Bill Wallace
as Kibitzer
Primo Lopez
as Bellhop
Caleb Peterson
as Man with Eunice
Wesley Bly
as Headwaiter
Tony Roux
as Jose Rodriguez
Michael Branden
as Rafferty
Jose Portugal
as Waiter
Sam Warren
as Waiter
Victor Romito
as Waiter
Archie Twitchell
as Rafferty
John Kellogg
as Baylord
Oliver Blake
as Tillotson
Homer Dickenson
as Kibitzer
William Van Vleck
as Cigar Store Clerk
Philip Morris
as Porter
Charles Regan
as Mystery Man
Harry Hayden
as Canby Miller
Adda Gleason
as Mrs. Miller
Manuel Paris
as Croupier
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Out of the Past

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (7)

Each change of angle and shift of light evokes an inner disturbance; the actors seem to push through the dense shadow as through water, revealing fast people in slow motion ...

Full Review… | April 7, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Direction by Jacques Tourneur pays close attention to mood development, achieving realistic flavor that is further emphasized by real life settings and topnotch lensing by Nicholas Musuraca.

Full Review… | April 18, 2007
Top Critic

The most delicate and nuanced of film noirs, graced with a reflective lyricism that almost lifts it out of the genre.

Full Review… | April 18, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

All these B movie poets were under contract to RKO in the winter of 1946, and produced the best movie of everyone involved -- once seen, never forgotten.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the greatest of all film noirs.

Full Review… | January 19, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's very snappy and quite intriguingly played by a cast that has been well and smartly directed by Jacques Tourneur.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Out of the Past

Mitchum is little more than a big slab of beef walking around in a Macintosh trench coat, mumbling to himself, as all around him conspire in some way to dupe everyone else. He only just holds onto his hat, all the doublecrossing, doubletalking, backstabbing rigamarole going on. Did I mention that there's a bad girl in the middle of it all? Did I have to mention it? And yeah, she's got legs down to there and back up again. I'm gonna need a drink. Make that two.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


A stranger uncovers the secret past of a small town gas station owner drawing him back into the shadowy world he was trying to forget. This was Robert Mitchum's first starring role and it's easy to see why it made him a star; he is superb as the ex-private eye who falls for the charms of one of the quintessential femme fatales in the shape of Jane Greer. Kirk Douglas also gives brilliant support as the great manipulator looking for revenge and the web of deceit he weaves makes for an intriguing plot that's complex without being overly convoluted. The icing on the cake is the artistic eye of Jacques Tourneur who makes the film one of the most visually attractive crime dramas ever made. Years ahead of its time, Out Of The Past is one of THE greats of Film Noir.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


The director of Cat People strikes again with what may be a perfect noir.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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