The archetypal film noir, "Out of the Past" is a tough-talking, gin-soaked excursion through the seedy side of the 1940s where every love is doomed and every lover has an angle.
Robert Mitchum, surly and laconic, hits just the right chord as Jeff Markham, an apathetic private detective hired by a sleazy gangland hood (Kirk Douglas) to track down his girlfriend (Jane Greer) and the $40,000 she took with her to Mexico.
Markham finds the woman and, of course, immediately falls under her spell. Murder, betrayal and hard luck dog the star-crossed couple as they try to escape the past and forge a relationship that seems completely devoid of trust.
All the classic \o7 noir \f7 ingredients are here--double-crosses, a \o7 femme fatale, \f7 an endless succession of cigarettes and dark, murky rooms, and a fatalistic world view that speeds the players toward an unhappy ending.
The film's strengths lie in Mitchum's cynical, sleepy-eyed performance and the crisp dialogue in Geoffrey Homes' screenplay, which was based on his hard-boiled crime novel, "Build My Gallows High."
\o7 "Out of the Past" (1947), directed by Jacques Tourneur. 97 minutes.