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Out of the Past (1947)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 November 1947 (USA)
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.



(screenplay) (as Geoffrey Homes), (novel) (as Geoffrey Homes)

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Complete credited cast:
The Kid
Ken Niles ...


Jeff Bailey, small-town gas pumper, has his mysterious past catch up with him one day when he's ordered to meet with gambler Whit Sterling. En route to the meeting, he tells girlfriend Ann his story. Flashback: Once, Jeff was a private eye hired by Sterling to find his mistress Kathie who shot Whit and absconded with $40,000. He traces her to Acapulco...where the delectable Kathie makes Jeff forget all about Sterling... Back in the present, Whit's new job for Jeff is clearly a trap, but Jeff's precautions only leave him more tightly enmeshed... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A MAN - Trying to run away from his past... A WOMAN - Trying to escape her future! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

13 November 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Goldenes Gift  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


RKO borrowed Kirk Douglas from Paramount for the picture. See more »


When Jeff visits Leonard Eels' office building there are clearly five names on the directory under 'E' in the long shot, but just two in the POV shot that follows immediately. See more »


Jeff Bailey: You say to yourself, "How hot can it get?" Then, in Acapulco, you find out.
See more »


Featured in The Rules of Film Noir (2009) See more »


The First Time I Saw You
from 'The Toast of New York' (1937)
Music by Nathaniel Shilkret
Used as main theme in score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent example of film noir at its best
17 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Full of atmosphere and heat, "Out of the Past" is a classic film noir, directed by a master, Jacques Tourneur. Although considered only an above-average B movie at the time of release, it's doubtful anyone thinks of it that way today, as it is superior to many "A" films. With a top-notch cast and a deceptively easy pace that belies the tension and danger underneath, "Out of the Past" makes for an intriguing, absorbing film.

Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer make a great pair - both are sultry, sexy, hard to read, and gorgeous. I found Greer's performance quite interesting. In the beginning, she appears quite warm, frightened, and sincere, as opposed to, say, Lizabeth Scott in "Dead Reckoning." When she turns hardboiled, it's subtle, with only a change in her eyes and voice, when she comments that Fisher isn't going to say anything to anybody. I love the way Mitchum sizes up women. He absolutely smolders, and 40 years later, in "The Winds of War," he was still smoldering.

Kirk Douglas is appropriately edgy in his supporting role as Whit. Rhonda Fleming has a small role, but no one that incredibly beautiful was going to go unnoticed for long.

What a wonderful film, what a perfect example of a genre.

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