Out of the Past - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Out of the Past Reviews

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½ October 22, 2017
With a complex plot and great characters, both of which are superbly written, 'Out of The Past' is tense and unpredictable with a surprise around every corner. The camera-work, score and lighting come together perfectly as well, leaving you with a film noir classic that is sure to leave an impression.
½ September 19, 2017
I've seen this billed as Hollywood's greatest film. I'm not sure it is that but it's a good noir film. I think double indemnity is better. Mitchum is one of my favourite actors of all time and in this film he personifies coolness. Its a typical noir film with shady characters, a femme fatale, betrayal, and a flawed hero.
September 18, 2017
I had trouble getting into this movie on my first viewing as I experienced difficulty getting into its plot. However, after I looked at Wikipedia's plot summary, I watched it again only to get wowed by it. The movie is heavily based around betrayal. Several of the characters formed alliances with each other only for one person to betray the other. Those characters then forgave each other only to betray each other again. I loved how the movie did this, because I felt like nobody could be trusted. On top of that, this aspect lead to so many twists and turns that the movie isn't easily absorbed in one viewing. It takes a couple viewings to grasp every major plot point. I also loved the dialogue. Noir films commonly have quite a few clever lines, but this movie had a ton of them. Some were clever bits of comedy, some were well-written conversations, and even a short exchange such as "Cigarette?" "Smoking" contained some creativity (it's a shortened version of "Would you like a cigarette?" "I'm already smoking one."). During my 2nd viewing, I noticed that Jeff didn't murder anyone in the film. I think this was an extension of how he was trying to escape his past. I also liked the ambiguity of the final scene. Finally, the acting was great. Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer had great chemistry. Also, Kirk Douglas gave a strong performance like he usually does. Even though I felt that Jeff and Kathie's relationship started too soon, this was still a fantastic film.
½ September 13, 2017
Watched it recently on TCM. Very complicated plot, but well acted and directed.
August 16, 2017
Non-stop sharp dialogue with some lines that are legendary; a screenplay that is fluid, able to have all the film noir twists and not miss a step. The lead bunch of characters are iconic and well-acted, spearheaded by Mitchum who plays a man's man, doesn't speak too much but when he does he is icy cool.
July 8, 2017
Classic film noir, with great dialog and all.
May 19, 2017
Quintessential noir with as many of the features of the genre as you would hope to find. Of course, film noir as a genre has been constructed post hoc, so director Jacques Tourneur wasn't exactly working from a formula - but this wasn't the first noir, so something was definitely in the water. Robert Mitchum plays a detective hired by arrogant rich Kirk Douglas to find his girlfriend (Jane Greer) who shot him and absconded with $40K. Mitchum does catch up with her in Acapulco where they idle away their days until they decide to doublecross Douglas and hole up in San Francisco as lovers. Ultimately, though, they are tracked down by Mitchum's ex-partner, now working for Douglas. All this is shown in flashback a number of years later with a voiceover by Mitchum as he relates his past to new love interest Virginia Huston in the small town where he has escaped to run a gas station. He's finally told her the sordid details because Douglas has finally found him again and called him to Lake Tahoe for a meeting. It turns out that Douglas has another job for him, one that he can't refuse, one that might be a frame-up. And that doesn't begin to detail the complicated plot that ensnares the laid back but fatalistic Mitchum. Showing the noir protagonist's true disdain for his own welfare, when the femme fatale starts to reveal some of the ensnaring complications, Mitchum utters the classic line, "Baby, I don't care...". But he should have. A masterpiece of the genre.
January 17, 2017
Film noir defined in a nice looking b&w restoration, complete with the genre's convolutions. Trench coats abound. Women are beautiful and triplicitous, the good one getting away. Hunks back in their day after The War. A good looking film with a good commentary track for a 2nd look.
½ December 25, 2016
Out of the Past is very difficult to understand and too convoluted in the second act, but the first act is so well done and the third act is tragic and simply unforgettable. It features one of the finest protagonists of its time period with Robert Mitchum being so memorable in this great role, but it also has superb cinematography, very good story and a very poignant tone to it leading to one of the finest noir films.
½ December 10, 2016
Noir melodrama par excellence.
June 22, 2016
This sharp, highly enthralling film noir is one of the best of its ilk, a subtle, moody film about a man looking for a way out of his past, but unable to find one.
½ February 6, 2016
A fantastically classic example of film noir even if Robert Mitchum is only capable of portraying one emotion.
January 21, 2016
Stakes a claim to being the greatest of all film noirs. The archetypes of the sub-genre reach a breathless and coiled psychological and aesthetic pitch.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2016
Jacques Tourneur' masterful film noir where a man named Jeff Bailey, played magnificently by Robert Mitchum, who owns and runs a gas station in California will soon discover that he cannot escape his former life as a private detective, when his one-time employer, a charismatic gangster named Whit, played impressively by Kirk Douglas, and his wicked lover Kathie, brilliantly played by Jane Greer, an evil women that will stop at nothing to get her way, entangle Bailey in a web of murder and double-dealings. Astute direction by Tourneur, with striking black & white cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca. Outstanding dialogue, thanks to the exquisite script by Geoffrey Homes. One of the greatest crime classics in cinematic history. Highly Recommended.
December 9, 2015
Quintessential film noir.
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2015
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.
November 23, 2015
Robert Mitchum, after making a new life for himself comes clean about his past to his new love. The story is told is in a series of flashbacks. Mitchum is a P.I., hired by big-time bookie Kirk Douglas to find the bookie's girlfriend who has absconded to Mexico with a bunch of cash. Upon locating her, the detective and bookie's ex fall in love. The pair hide for years from the big bad bookie in SanFran, but are spotted at a horse track. The story gets much more convoluted after this point, with quick, clever banter, double-dealing, and subterfuge, but is one of the better I've watched thus far for #noirvember.
August 14, 2015
Fold your hands or I'll fold them for you.

A private eye is sick of dealing with low lives and following up on gruesome murders and retires to the country; unfortunately, trouble finds him leading him back to the city. He gets split between two women and a plan that will net them all a lot of money. He needs to string both dames along but he may not be as slick as he thinks.

"Don't you believe me?"
'Darling, I don't care."

Jacques Tourneur, director of Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, City in the Sea, Frontier Rangers, Wichita, Curse of the Demon, The Leopard Man, and Phantom Raiders, delivers Out of the Past. The storyline for this picture is very well done and had a wonderful gangster feel. Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas played brilliant gangster rivals and Jane Greer and Rhonda Fleming played great supporting roles.

"You don't like to make any mistakes, do you Joe?"
"They don't let me make many."

I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and had to DVR it when I saw the cast. This was a very well done mob movie with some great and unpredictable character interactions. This is definitely a gem worth seeing once but a hair short from being an all time classic.

"Joe couldn't find a prayer in the bible."

Grade: B
½ July 24, 2015
It's a very unusual film of its time in the use of real locations and the minimising of back projection and artificial sets. I love films with exotic locations so Acapulco and San Francisco do very nicely. For example using real settings for the evening beach and human fishing scenes is so much superior to using a studio lot, and since this was a B film on its release we can only imagine how awful some of these sets might have been with its modest budget. The cinematography of Nicholas Musuraca is superb, lending realism so much so that you can almost smell the grease at the gas station and feel the breeze coming off the lake in the opening scene. The dialogue is both clever and witty and worthy of Raymond Chandler himself. It gives great lines to many characters in a film that has many interesting supporting roles and reveals enough about many of them to extend them to 3 dimensions. Whit Sterling, as played by Kirk Douglas, is a powerful villain with a certain sly charm. Joe Stephanos an apparently easygoing heavy still carries his inferiority complex (vis-a-vis Jeff Bailey) with an insight into his doomed future. Even the Kid 'speaks' volumes on his understanding of Jeff's confused and complex character. Jane Greer was perfect as the beautifully cold Kathie Moffat who has all the men wrapped around her fingers showing the lovability of a Preying Mantis. Well writting about this film just makes me want to watch it again, I just love this movie and you should too ! This is clearly one of the best film noir films ever made. Mitchum leaps off the screen into the "A-list", and Kirk Douglas as the bad guy is perfection. The use of the shadows and light, the music, the acting, and best of all the script are all superlative. It's amazing to think that they obviously made this film for no money- it was a "B picture" and yet it's better than most of the 80 million dollar films that are foisted on us today. Watch this film, you'll love it.
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