Out of the Past Reviews

  • 3d ago

    The problem with a lot of noir film is the one-upsmanship that gradually influenced the genre (and many others, as they experienced booming ticket sales) - there was a need to differentiate new films from those that came before, and that often took place by dialing up the tropes. More archaic dialogue, more backstabbing dames, more lit cigarettes. Out of the Past has all those elements, but it doesn't feel like it's trying to outperform its competition. Instead, Tourneur draws you in with compelling character development, a sharp script, battles of wits, dueling loyalties, fantastic visuals, and a solid mystery narrative that delivers enough to keep you interested but dangles the resolution out of reach. Characters scheme and survive in the shadows, ably depicted by cinematography from Musaraca, who frames narrative developments with an eye for subtlety and nuance. Mitchum makes complete sense as the hard-boiled, jaded former PI contending with a classic femme fatale in Greer's Kathie, who isn't necessarily evil but self-serving, and the two must look out for their own well-being in a web of illicit activity, money, and mobsters while also trying to rectify their feelings for one another. The story isn't necessarily airtight (who really cares about Huston's Ann, the one-note love interest that serves merely to the chilly nature of Kathie?), but it's still a solid and very watchable example of the genre in the modern day. (4/5)

    The problem with a lot of noir film is the one-upsmanship that gradually influenced the genre (and many others, as they experienced booming ticket sales) - there was a need to differentiate new films from those that came before, and that often took place by dialing up the tropes. More archaic dialogue, more backstabbing dames, more lit cigarettes. Out of the Past has all those elements, but it doesn't feel like it's trying to outperform its competition. Instead, Tourneur draws you in with compelling character development, a sharp script, battles of wits, dueling loyalties, fantastic visuals, and a solid mystery narrative that delivers enough to keep you interested but dangles the resolution out of reach. Characters scheme and survive in the shadows, ably depicted by cinematography from Musaraca, who frames narrative developments with an eye for subtlety and nuance. Mitchum makes complete sense as the hard-boiled, jaded former PI contending with a classic femme fatale in Greer's Kathie, who isn't necessarily evil but self-serving, and the two must look out for their own well-being in a web of illicit activity, money, and mobsters while also trying to rectify their feelings for one another. The story isn't necessarily airtight (who really cares about Huston's Ann, the one-note love interest that serves merely to the chilly nature of Kathie?), but it's still a solid and very watchable example of the genre in the modern day. (4/5)

  • Jan 27, 2021

    "Out of the Past" is that exceptional film noir movie, replete with the usual tough-guy cunning, except the tough guys - and the femme fatale - are living, breathing, three-dimensional and fascinating, putting this flick among the very best in film noir. For my taste, probably the best. Robert Mitchum, uncharacteristically tender-hearted, presents a compelling vulnerability never seen in noir, when stung by the stunning and stunningly deceitful Jane Greer. Their chemistry is incendiary.

    "Out of the Past" is that exceptional film noir movie, replete with the usual tough-guy cunning, except the tough guys - and the femme fatale - are living, breathing, three-dimensional and fascinating, putting this flick among the very best in film noir. For my taste, probably the best. Robert Mitchum, uncharacteristically tender-hearted, presents a compelling vulnerability never seen in noir, when stung by the stunning and stunningly deceitful Jane Greer. Their chemistry is incendiary.

  • Nov 21, 2020

    Smoky and sultry storytelling like few films could compare. Jacques Tourneur's film noir Out of the Past (1947) is classic, brisk crime drama storytelling from an innovative French director. Tourneur's direction for Out of the Past draws upon older film noirs like The Maltese Falcon, while paving the way for future film noirs like The Third Man or Chinatown. Tourneur deftly combines hazy romance drama with a seedy crime thriller that blows most crime narratives out of the water. Out of the Past is enthralling thanks to Robert Mitchum's sullen narration, Jacques Tourneur's riveting dreamlike direction, and outstandingly gripping performances. Robert Mitchum is pleasantly dour and serious as the wise-cracking detective Jeff Markham. Mitchum's imposing height, sad face, wistful candor, dire yearning, and aloof attitude make him an unforgettable lead for Tourneur's film noir Out of the Past. He's like a more likable Humphrey Bogart with more charm and calm than Bogart's stoicism and anger. Mitchum has genuinely intriguing chemistry with Jane Greer's iconic femme fatale Kathie Moffat. She flaunts her natural allure and curious mystique as Mitchum's love interest. She's really convincing as a complex woman with ulterior motives. Kirk Douglas is excellent as the eagerly flexible mob boss Whit Sterling. His natural charm goes a long way here as Douglas feels effortless. Rhonda Fleming's sultry secretary with secret ties Meta Carson is really captivating too when she appears halfway through Out of the Past. I adore Virginia Huston's sweetheart Ann Miller. She's like the perfect gentle girl in a traditional feminine role as Robert Mitchum's new girlfriend. Huston plays the polar opposite of Jane Greer's fiercely independent villainess. Daniel Mainwaring, James M. Cain, and Frank Fenton's script is impressive with clever wit in every line. Each word feels carefully chosen to create an air of mystery to the narrative with playful flirting, dangerous veiled threats, and sly insults with each neat turn of phrase. Out of the Past's story is really endearing as you root for a morally bankrupt detective desperately trying to get away from his former life of backdoor deals for his new love. Samuel E. Beetley's editing is tight as Out of the Past's brief 97 minutes breezes by when other film noirs feel like slow burns. Nicholas Musuraca's black and white cinematography leans into black shadows, smoky hazes, foreboding silhouettes, dreamy close-ups, and fearsome wide shots in cities that tell the story entirely with atmosphere. Roy Webb's score is nicely accompanied by all the emotional drama and unsettling crime stories going on throughout Out of the Past. I adore all of Edward Stevenson's costumes with stark suits and luxurious dresses for a moody tone visually. In conclusion, Out of the Past is an enduring film noir classic with immaculate craftsmanship and involving acting. I must recommend Out of the Past for grim outlooks, star crossed romance, enshrouding hopelessness, and pessimistic wit.

    Smoky and sultry storytelling like few films could compare. Jacques Tourneur's film noir Out of the Past (1947) is classic, brisk crime drama storytelling from an innovative French director. Tourneur's direction for Out of the Past draws upon older film noirs like The Maltese Falcon, while paving the way for future film noirs like The Third Man or Chinatown. Tourneur deftly combines hazy romance drama with a seedy crime thriller that blows most crime narratives out of the water. Out of the Past is enthralling thanks to Robert Mitchum's sullen narration, Jacques Tourneur's riveting dreamlike direction, and outstandingly gripping performances. Robert Mitchum is pleasantly dour and serious as the wise-cracking detective Jeff Markham. Mitchum's imposing height, sad face, wistful candor, dire yearning, and aloof attitude make him an unforgettable lead for Tourneur's film noir Out of the Past. He's like a more likable Humphrey Bogart with more charm and calm than Bogart's stoicism and anger. Mitchum has genuinely intriguing chemistry with Jane Greer's iconic femme fatale Kathie Moffat. She flaunts her natural allure and curious mystique as Mitchum's love interest. She's really convincing as a complex woman with ulterior motives. Kirk Douglas is excellent as the eagerly flexible mob boss Whit Sterling. His natural charm goes a long way here as Douglas feels effortless. Rhonda Fleming's sultry secretary with secret ties Meta Carson is really captivating too when she appears halfway through Out of the Past. I adore Virginia Huston's sweetheart Ann Miller. She's like the perfect gentle girl in a traditional feminine role as Robert Mitchum's new girlfriend. Huston plays the polar opposite of Jane Greer's fiercely independent villainess. Daniel Mainwaring, James M. Cain, and Frank Fenton's script is impressive with clever wit in every line. Each word feels carefully chosen to create an air of mystery to the narrative with playful flirting, dangerous veiled threats, and sly insults with each neat turn of phrase. Out of the Past's story is really endearing as you root for a morally bankrupt detective desperately trying to get away from his former life of backdoor deals for his new love. Samuel E. Beetley's editing is tight as Out of the Past's brief 97 minutes breezes by when other film noirs feel like slow burns. Nicholas Musuraca's black and white cinematography leans into black shadows, smoky hazes, foreboding silhouettes, dreamy close-ups, and fearsome wide shots in cities that tell the story entirely with atmosphere. Roy Webb's score is nicely accompanied by all the emotional drama and unsettling crime stories going on throughout Out of the Past. I adore all of Edward Stevenson's costumes with stark suits and luxurious dresses for a moody tone visually. In conclusion, Out of the Past is an enduring film noir classic with immaculate craftsmanship and involving acting. I must recommend Out of the Past for grim outlooks, star crossed romance, enshrouding hopelessness, and pessimistic wit.

  • Jun 26, 2020

    The photography/cinematography here is absolutely topnotch: I've never seen a more beautiful black and white movie. The shadow of tree limbs on faces, reflections in mirrors, etc., are razor sharp (and not even in high def!). The faces are spectacular - Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas (only his 2nd film), Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb and more. No CGI, and a river/Waterfall/rocks sequence is spectacular. The clothing! The sets: Lake Tahoe, Mexico City, and more! That house of stone and glass! Yes, there are great noir lines, BUT, I didn't much understand the last half of the movie, perhaps because I wasn't sure when a flashback ends. (I've a feeling there is too much of this movie on the cutting room floor.) And still I watched it twice: freezing frame after frame. My recommendation is to just turn off the sound and watch this while listening to some late 1940s jazz, or your favorite music. Besides, you'll know who's loving who and who's killing who without any dialogue. Almost a masterpiece. But my favorite noir film is still "Sunset Blvd".

    The photography/cinematography here is absolutely topnotch: I've never seen a more beautiful black and white movie. The shadow of tree limbs on faces, reflections in mirrors, etc., are razor sharp (and not even in high def!). The faces are spectacular - Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas (only his 2nd film), Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb and more. No CGI, and a river/Waterfall/rocks sequence is spectacular. The clothing! The sets: Lake Tahoe, Mexico City, and more! That house of stone and glass! Yes, there are great noir lines, BUT, I didn't much understand the last half of the movie, perhaps because I wasn't sure when a flashback ends. (I've a feeling there is too much of this movie on the cutting room floor.) And still I watched it twice: freezing frame after frame. My recommendation is to just turn off the sound and watch this while listening to some late 1940s jazz, or your favorite music. Besides, you'll know who's loving who and who's killing who without any dialogue. Almost a masterpiece. But my favorite noir film is still "Sunset Blvd".

  • Jun 04, 2020

    complicated plot details deter from human story

    complicated plot details deter from human story

  • Apr 20, 2020

    Great noir. Classic yes. But let’s be real...very hard to follow and to care about. Plot lines that start, roll around, and end up nowhere. I had to rewind countless times to understand what someone said, did, or who some people were, and how they tied into things. I got a headache re listening to the character of Meta Carson explaining an essential plot line and gave up. Too much work. Too dialogue heavy with witty implications and mumbled lines. I wish I could’ve get into this on more. There are some noirs I love, Laura, Double Indemnity, Nightmare Alley, The Set-Up, etc... but this sort is just a chore.

    Great noir. Classic yes. But let’s be real...very hard to follow and to care about. Plot lines that start, roll around, and end up nowhere. I had to rewind countless times to understand what someone said, did, or who some people were, and how they tied into things. I got a headache re listening to the character of Meta Carson explaining an essential plot line and gave up. Too much work. Too dialogue heavy with witty implications and mumbled lines. I wish I could’ve get into this on more. There are some noirs I love, Laura, Double Indemnity, Nightmare Alley, The Set-Up, etc... but this sort is just a chore.

  • Apr 20, 2020

    A very well constructed and shot film noir. Good pacing, acting and lots of double-crosses keeps you entertained throughout. It may not be a conventional fairy tale ending, but all the right people get what's coming to them in the end.

    A very well constructed and shot film noir. Good pacing, acting and lots of double-crosses keeps you entertained throughout. It may not be a conventional fairy tale ending, but all the right people get what's coming to them in the end.

  • Apr 08, 2020

    Classic noir film steeped in fatalism and almost impossible to take your eyes off the sexy and stunning Jane Greer. It’s nice to see a noir film out of the city land scape but the love struggle looses a bit of steam in its cliche at times - but at the time of its production was still novel and fresh in its nascent genre.

    Classic noir film steeped in fatalism and almost impossible to take your eyes off the sexy and stunning Jane Greer. It’s nice to see a noir film out of the city land scape but the love struggle looses a bit of steam in its cliche at times - but at the time of its production was still novel and fresh in its nascent genre.

  • Apr 07, 2020

    Top 5 noire all time ... Jane Greer IS quintessential femme fatale ... Mitchum at his best. Google the rest ... everyone agrees. Best noire line ever ?: Greer : ' Jeff No!! I don't wanna die !! Mitchum : ' Neither do I baby, but if have to, I'm gonna die last !

    Top 5 noire all time ... Jane Greer IS quintessential femme fatale ... Mitchum at his best. Google the rest ... everyone agrees. Best noire line ever ?: Greer : ' Jeff No!! I don't wanna die !! Mitchum : ' Neither do I baby, but if have to, I'm gonna die last !

  • Oct 13, 2019

    A great movie from a day when hollywood actually made real movies, not just CGI cartoons with photoshop faces like they do today. Actors had to actually 'act' in this movie and did! Great photography and scenery shots. Lots of believable real life type action, twists & turns, drama, people with strengths & weaknesses, love, betrayal, hurt, selfishness, and selflessness... This movie had it all. Synopsis: A generally 'good' gumshoe, Mitchum, with a dark past because of underworld connections accepts a job from a rich & powerful gangster, Douglas, and falls for his assignment, a dishonest, conspiring, vixen, Greer who seduces him to control him. The plan falls apart and Mitchum tries to live an honest, and simpler life with an honest and loving woman but his past finds him. I won't spoil the ending, I didn't like it except for the compassion that the deaf dump guy showed for the 'good girl' at the end.

    A great movie from a day when hollywood actually made real movies, not just CGI cartoons with photoshop faces like they do today. Actors had to actually 'act' in this movie and did! Great photography and scenery shots. Lots of believable real life type action, twists & turns, drama, people with strengths & weaknesses, love, betrayal, hurt, selfishness, and selflessness... This movie had it all. Synopsis: A generally 'good' gumshoe, Mitchum, with a dark past because of underworld connections accepts a job from a rich & powerful gangster, Douglas, and falls for his assignment, a dishonest, conspiring, vixen, Greer who seduces him to control him. The plan falls apart and Mitchum tries to live an honest, and simpler life with an honest and loving woman but his past finds him. I won't spoil the ending, I didn't like it except for the compassion that the deaf dump guy showed for the 'good girl' at the end.