8.0/10
31,996
242 user 145 critic

Out of the Past (1947)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | December 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.

Director:

Jacques Tourneur

Writers:

Daniel Mainwaring (screen play by) (as Geoffrey Homes), Daniel Mainwaring (based on his novel "Build My Gallows High") (as Geoffrey Homes)
Reviews
Popularity
4,504 ( 3,999)
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Jeff
Jane Greer ... Kathie
Kirk Douglas ... Whit
Rhonda Fleming ... Meta Carson
Richard Webb ... Jim
Steve Brodie ... Fisher
Virginia Huston ... Ann
Paul Valentine ... Joe
Dickie Moore ... The Kid
Ken Niles Ken Niles ... Eels
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer were teamed again for the RKO noir film The Big Steal (1949). While at first glance it might seem like a natural follow-up to the success of this film, Mitchum and Greer were paired up again only after very trying circumstances. Originally Lizabeth Scott, on loan from Paramount and Hal B. Wallis, was to star opposite Mitchum in the film, which had been set to start production in October of 1948. On August 31, however, Mitchum was arrested in Los Angeles on marijuana possession charges. Howard Hughes had acquired RKO just a month prior and decided to rush production and start shooting The Big Steal (1949) as soon as Mitchum was out on bail. Then Scott dropped out of the film, so Greer was brought in only at the last minute. Later, production on the film was halted for two months as Mitchum served his sentence. Daniel Mainwaring worked on the script for the film, which was directed by Don Siegel. See more »

Goofs

Leonard Eels' apartment at 114 Fulton Street would be part of the block then occupied by the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library (now the Asian Art Museum). See more »

Quotes

Jeff: We got a call to come over and see a big Op.
Ann: A what?
Jeff: An operator. A gambler. He didn't come to see us because he was too high-powered a character. Also because some dame had taken four shots at him with his own 38. Made one of 'em good.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Equalizer: Out of the Past (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Excellent example of film noir at its best
17 September 2005 | by blanche-2See 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.


59 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 242 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

December 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Build My Gallows High See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed