Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Out of the Past(1947). Noir. Director: Jacques Tourneur. This movie is loosely based on the novel written by Daniel Mainwaring Build My Gallows High. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming.

In a small town in California, gas station owner Jeff Bailey, who is now living a quiet life, is tracked down by Joe Stefanos, a former business partner.Joe Stefanos, tells him that his boss Whit Sterling, wants to meet him in, Lake Tahoe. Before he goes, Jeff shares with his new girl friend, Ann, the story about his past:

Three years ago, while working as a private detective in New York, Jeff, whose real name is Markham and his partner, Jack Fisher, are hired by gambler Whit to find his girl friend, Kathie. Whit tells him, that Kathie shot him and then disappeared with $40,000 of his money. Whit, promises Jeff that Kathie will not be harmed, if he brings her back to him.

 Jeff finds her vacationing in Acapulco. Kathie insists that she did not steal Whit's money, but was only trying to get away from Whit.

Jeff and Kathie, soon become lovers and are about to leave Acapulco, when Whit and Joe, show up at the hotel. Jeff, tells Whit, that he was unable to find Kathie and wants to quit, but Whit insists that he continue the search for her.

That night, Jeff and Kathie, board a ship to begin a new life in, San Francisco. The couple are found at a remote cabin and the two detectives begin to fight. Kathie, shoots and kills Fisher and Jeff, buries his body. Jeff, is shocked and heartbroken, when he learns that Kathie really did steal Whit's $40,000.

After, Jeff finishes his story about his past, Ann says she still loves him and promises to wait for him when he returns.

At Whit's Tahoe vacation home, Jeff discovers that the double-crossing Kathie has returned to Whit and has told him about their affair. Will Jeff ever be able to get "Out of the Past" and back to his girlfriend and his new life?

Fun Fact:

Humphrey Bogart read the script and, seeing the similarities between this and The Maltese Falcon (1941), wanted to play Jeff. However, Warner Bros. didn't buy the material and RKO produced this movie.

I really enjoyed, for lack of a better word, humorous at times dialog and the twists and turns of this wonderful film noir. I thought Robert Mitchum's mixed up character very intriguing. Jane Greer, is very good as the "bad girl".

Virginia Huston (April 24, 1925 - February 28, 1981), performed in many 1940's and 1950's films noir and adventure films. Signing with RKO in 1945, her first film was with George Raft in, Nocturne.

Huston, was the ninth actress to play Jane, in Tarzan's Peril (1951).

Her other films include: Out of the Past(1947), The Racket (1951), Sudden Fear (1952).

Huston suffered a broken back in an automobile accident, which disrupted her career at its peak. when she returned, she performed minor roles and "B" films.


  1. Dawn one of the best (if Not The Best ) Film Noir's Kirk Douglas is creepy in one of his best early roles. And What can I say about Robert& Jane. ? It's cut up a bit on you tube I'ts part of the Warners Film Noir Box Set Vol1

  2. Dawn, this is one of the better noirs that doesn't star Bogart. Robert Mitchum is great in this role.

  3. Paul, i agree, it is a wonderful movie with a wonderful cast.. Although, i love all the movies included in the box set.

    Kim, i agree. Love Bogart, but, I'm glad Mitchum got the part.


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