Sunday Feature-Week 3: Out of the Past (1947)

Title: Out of the Past

Tone: Top-notch suspense filled film-noir


Director-Jacques Tourneur

Cast- Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas

When: 1947

What: Jeff Baily (Mitchum), owner of a small town gas station/hoodlum on the lam, is greeted by an old acquaintance who thrusts Baily back into the sordid past he’s been trying to escape.


  • Jacques Tourneur is often overlooked in the annals of cinema. Deeply atmospheric, shadowy, and ominous, Out of the Past exhibits Tourneur at the top of his game. Furthermore Out of the Past is an exquisite example of film-noir, incorporating all the paranoia, grit, violence, alienation, and double-crosses that have come to define the genre.
  • Nicholas Musuraca’s stark, dreamlike cinematography in Out of the Past is stunning. Musurca, like Tourner, is often overlooked in the annals of cinematography, even though his work on Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), often noted as the first “true” film-noir, forged the look of the genre in the 40’s.
  • As with most film-noirs, I find that Out of the Past is a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a bowl of cereal, and settle in for a hard-boiled, convoluted, high-tension thriller with one hell of a third act.
  • To persuade you further I present you with this gritty fistfight between Robert Mitchum and Steve Brodie. To set up the clip would give to much of the plot away, so simply sit back and enjoy.


~ by cinematte on January 17, 2010.

4 Responses to “Sunday Feature-Week 3: Out of the Past (1947)”

  1. Helluva piktcha.

    “Two things I can smell inside a hundred feet: a burnin’ hamburger and a romance.”

    History of Violence reminded me of this. William Hurt as Kirk Douglas.

  2. I just got A History of Violence in the mail today, as it’s one of those movies that keeps coming up in conversation, perhaps I’ll watch it today.

  3. I love film noir. Mamet talks about it very articulately in his book, Bambi vs Godzilla: On the Nature and Purposes of Filmmaking. My favorites are, “Dark Passage”, “Night and the City” and “Gun Crazy”. Thanks, Paul.

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