Out of the Past

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“A MAN – Trying to run away from his past … A WOMAN – Trying to escape her future!”

“Build my gallows high, baby” — just one of the quintessentially noir sentiments expressed by Robert Mitchum in this moody classic of the genre. Mitchum, in his first starring role, is in absolute prime, sleepy-eyed form as Jeff Baily, a seemingly innocent gas station owner who relates a complicated flashback about getting hired by gangster Kirk Douglas to find femme fatale Jane Greer, thus kicking off a mind-boggling tale of dirty money, hot love and cold betrayal that extends into the present day and turns Jeff’s life upside down.
Brilliantly directed by Jacques Tourneur (Cat People) and penned by blacklisted Hollywood writer Daniel Mainwaring (with extra dialogue reportedly contributed by James M. Cain), Out of the Past is today considered one of the textbook examples of perfect Film Noir, an atmospheric and ingeniously-constructed thriller laced with great dialogue and tragic foreshadowing. Buoyed by the ultra laid-back cool of Robert Mitchum and the icy villainy of Jane Greer (playing one of the most fatal femme fatales to ever slither across the screen), this influential classic was remade in 1984 as Against All Odds starring Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward.