Out of the Past (1947)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir, Romantic Mystery  |   Release Date - Nov 13, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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With its doomed anti-hero, conniving villain, sardonic script, moody black-and-white photography, and icy femme fatale, Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past (1947) is essential film noir. Opening in an idyllic small town, the movie literalizes down-and-out detective Jeff Bailey's confrontation with his past through an extended flashback depicting his moral downfall. Jeff's past exists in cities and exotic hideouts swathed in expressionistic shadows; Kathie (Jane Greer) may first appear as a beautiful vision in white, but, as she steps through a darkened doorway, momentarily blacking out her face, Jeff knows she's bad news. The past becomes the present as Jeff is inexorably drawn into a violent series of double-crossings that exemplify the noir universe's tangled amorality. The bad may be punished, but Out of the Past's downbeat ending draws the ultra-pessimistic conclusion that past mistakes are impossible to overcome, and redemption is not available even to those who want it. Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas were praised for their early starring turns as Jeff and Whit, as was Jane Greer for her lethal femme fatale. The film was remade in 1984 as Against All Odds.44684