Movie Review: Out of the Past (1947)

Post war (ww2), intricately plotted film noir __ 8/10

Jeff Bailey: I sell gasoline, I make a small profit. With that I buy groceries. The grocer makes a profit. We call it earning a living. You may have heard of it somewhere.

Through the 1940s, before the Hollywood studio system folded itself into the social conformity of the 1950s, several well-written and superbly plotted stories made it to the silver screen. In the category of film noir, Out of the Past, starring Robert Mitchum—one of the more individualistic, risk-taking actors (even into the 1950s)—is one such gem.

Novel by Daniel Mainwaring
Screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring
Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Robert Mitchum … Jeff Bailey
Jane Greer … Kathie Moffat
Kirk Douglas … Whit Sterling
Rhonda Fleming … Meta Carson
Richard Webb … Jim
Steve Brodie … Jack Fisher
Virginia Huston … Ann Miller

The above statement from Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) occurs early in the movie as we find him in a small California town trying to lead a normal life. We even see him out fishing (!), with his local honey Ann (Virginia Huston), and looking every bit like the guy who wants to settle down, buy a house, raise a passel of kids in the country. Not! Bailey’s contemplation of the idyllic life is interrupted when another big man—menacing, obviously from a past Bailey wants to leave that way—finds Bailey, and gives him an appointment he cannot refuse. Continue reading