HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Out of the Past The Road To Hell
Year: 1947
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb, Steve Brodie, Virginia Huston, Paul Valentine, Dickie Moore, Ken Niles
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: A stranger arrives in a small town and knows who he is looking for. He is Joe (Paul Valentine), and he is out to find a man calling himself Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum), although that is not the name he was always known by. Jeff now owns a gas station and Joe asks the deaf mute assistant there when Jeff will be back; deciding to wait, he heads for the local diner. Where is he? He's with his girlfriend Ann (Virginia Huston) on a trip into the country and looking ahead to settling down with her in the future... yet it is his past that will grip him and not let go...

One of the quintessential film noirs, Out of the Past had just about every element you could hope for in the genre, from the femme fatale to the doomed hero. It was adapted from his own novel, Build My Gallows High, by Daniel Mainwaring under a pseudonym and was obviously in the long shadow of the Raymond Chandler detective novels with its out of his depth private eye protagonist and twisting, turning plot. On the subject of shadows, director Jacques Tourneur kept the appearance of the film menacing, with more darkness enveloping the characters as the story drew on.

Mitchum was accused of sleepwalking through his films quite often, but here this laconic approach seems entirely appropriate as Jeff is dragged into a nightmare he will never wake up from. The reason he is being sought by Joe is that an ex-client of his from when he was a detective wants to see him again and take up his old profession, one last time, as a "favour". The client is Whit Sterling, played by Kirk Douglas as a grinning shark of a man, perfectly polite but brimming with sinister intent. Whit had been shot and injured by his girlfriend the first time he and Jeff met, and according to him had fled South of the Border with a hefty sum of his money.

The girlfriend was Kathie Moffat, perfectly essayed by the beautiful Jane Greer as a never-to-be-trusted woman, seductively innocent on a surface that belies her wicked heart. Soon Jeff had found her in Mexico and they embarked on an affair that ended abruptly when she killed his partner while Jeff was in a scuffle with him. Betraying him, she disappeared into the night and he was left to start a new life and pray his old one never caught up with him, but as that great title portentously indicates, it's not going to be as easy as all that.

And as this happens, the sense of a noose tightening around the characters' necks grows ever more strong, which might be why Out of the Past has been overrated to some extent. The mood is so well sustained it saps the tension from the movie, and everyone seems to be walking through treacle as Jeff tries to work out - too late - exactly what the plan to frame him is. The ending is predictably littered with corpses, but the fatalism of the whole enterprise doesn't leave you reeling with shock, simply nodding and thinking, just as I suspected. It's a pity because everything is in place otherwise and the acting, the look, the dialogue, should add up. Yet the film seems lifeless, suffocated even. Music by Roy Webb.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6129 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: