Monday, November 29, 2010

Out of the Past

Out of the Past; Crime drama, USA, 1947; D: Jacques Tourneur, S: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming

Jeff Bailey, an auto mechanic in some province, is recognized by an old friend who invites him to see his old boss Sterling. Jeff starts his journey towards him. On his way, he tells his girlfriend Ann about his mysterious past: a few years ago, Sterling hired him as a detective to spy on his lover Kathy who stole 40.000 $ from him. Jeff found her in a Mexican city, but fell in love with her and they escaped to San Francisco together. There, they were discovered by another detective, Fisher, who was shot by Kathy. She then disappeared...Back in the present, Kathy returned to Sterling who gives Jeff a new assignment, but it turns out it's a trap. Jeff is suspected of murder. Trying to hand Kathy over to the police, Jeff gets killed by her.

One of the unknown classics that was "rehabilitated" and resurfaced back with time, "Out of the Past" is thoroughbred film noir where Robert Mitchum's style of acting could overlap almost identically with Bogart's without losing anything from the story's spark. One of those good examples of 'old school' film making, equipped with both style and substance, an achievement that never insults the viewers' intelligence, "Past" is a story with an unusual structure since director Jacques Tourneur drafts it as a film where roughly 30 % of the time is occupied by a "flashback" that explains the tragedy of the detective Jeff who fell in love with a woman he spied on, but she just tricked him which represents some universal love problems, whereas the atmosphere has a fine mood, except that some parts and behaviors of the characters may seem slightly dated today.


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