Sunday, February 14, 2010

Out Of The Past (1947)

Dir: Jacques Tourneur
Warner DVD

I'm leaving for Seattle soon to go with some friends to the Noir City Film Fest programmed by Eddie Muller, so to prepare my mind I decided to watch a few classics before I go. Out Of The Past certainly qualifies and is surely one of the text book examples of Film Noir. It has it all, stark black & white cinematography, a convoluted story heavy on the flashbacks, the femme fatale, and some of the snappiest dialog ever written. It stars Robert Mitchum as an ex-private eye that gets pulled back into his former life when a past associate recognizes him pumping gas in a small town. He gets Mitchum to go see the boss, Kirk Douglas in one of his first roles, so he can make up for some past indiscretions. Most of the film is set in Mitchum's former life as we learn all about his previous relationship with Douglas and Douglas's deadly dame played by Jane Greer. It all comes down to some tough talking and double crossing with a downbeat ending you'd expect from the genre. Tourneur is a masterful director that can use staging and camera placement perfectly to convey the characters relationships and their connections to the past that they can never leave behind. There's a decent but dry commentary on the disc by James Ursini. If you're looking for a place to start with Noir, look no further.


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