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Out of the Past

4.7 out of 5 stars 231 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A collection of classic film noir.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: NR
Release Date: 6-JUL-2004
Media Type: DVD

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"Build my gallows high, baby"--just one of the quintessentially noir sentiments expressed by Robert Mitchum in this classic of the genre. Mitchum, in absolute prime, sleepy-eyed form, relates a complicated flashback about getting hired by gangster Kirk Douglas to find femme fatale Jane Greer. The chain of film noir elements--love, money, lies--drags Mitchum into the lower depths. Director Jacques Tourneur gets the edgy negotiations between men and women as exactly right as he gets the inky shadows of the noir landscape (even the sunlit exteriors are fraught with doubt). This is Mitchum in excelsis, with his usual laid-back cool laced with great dialogue and tragic foreshadowing. As for his co-star, James Agee immortally opined that Jane Greer "can best be described, in an ancient idiom, as a hot number." Remade in 1984, unhappily, as Against All Odds (with Greer in a supporting role). --Robert Horton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb
  • Directors: Jacques Tourneur
  • Writers: Daniel Mainwaring, Frank Fenton, James M. Cain
  • Producers: Robert Sparks, Warren Duff
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000244EYW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,435 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Out of the Past" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Westley VINE VOICE on December 20, 2004
Format: DVD
Robert Mitchum stars in "Out of the Past" as Jeff Bailey. As the film opens, he is the owner of a small town gas station; he's romancing a beautiful girl (Virginia Huston) and his life seems idyllic. However, a stranger arrives looking for Bailey, and everything changes irrevocably. The story is told partially in flashback - enumerating his past with a cutthroat gangster (Kirk Douglas) and a mysterious moll (Jane Greer) - and partially in the present as his past ensnares him into a complicated morass of murder and revenge.

"Out of the Past" is a quintessential 1940s film noir, right up there with "Double Indemnity" and "The Maltese Falcon," although it's arguably not as well known as those classics. The script is whip-smart and filled with brilliant dialogue - a character asserts to Bailey, "Don't you see you've only me to make deals with now?" and Bailey shoots back, "Build my gallows high, baby." Each scene is perfectly shot with an abundance of ambience; director Jacques Tourneur specialized in moody films, such as "I Walked with a Zombie," and he certainly scores here. The plot is full of crosses and double-crosses - it's admittedly not one of the most complex film noirs; however, the characters are perfectly etched, and the film builds to a heartbreaking conclusion.

In 1991, "Out of the Past" was inducted into the National Film Registry, which protects important American films. The film clearly deserves this honor and fortunately will be preserved for future generations of film noir fans. Overall, "Out of the Past" is one of the best film noirs I've seen and a top-notch movie in every way. Most highly recommended.

DVD extras: the main extra is a somewhat dry but informative commentary by James Ursini, an author noted for writing about film noir.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is one of the best examples of Film Noir ever produced. Everything about the production is dark and troubling, yet so fascinating that you can't turn away. The trio of Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas are central to the plot, and all are brilliant in their roles. Mitchum is perfect as the cool and smart former Private Investigator turned gas station owner who finds out that he still has entanglements from his previous life, Kirk Douglas is the absolute embodiment of a cold, calculating career criminal, and beautiful Jane Greer manages to ensnare everyone in her web of mystery and deceit.
This is the ultimate intellectual crime drama, and a viewing of this film could teach contemporary directors how suspense is supposed to be executed. The plot is so intricate and involved that I won't even discuss it, other than to say this: pay attention. The abrupt plot twists rarely, if ever, turn out like a first time viewer would expect, and the suspense created by director Jacques Tourneur is palpable.
The DVD is going to be released soon, and I will be sure to augment my VHS copy with the new DVD. This film really is one of the classics of American cinema, and is definitely as absorbing and engrossing as anything made in the last fifty years. For a wild and suspenseful ride, with a plot full of twists, turns, and surprises until the very end, don't miss "Out of the Past!"
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Format: VHS Tape
This classic film noir, featuring the twin cleft-chinned presences of
Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas, has got to be one of the most
enjoyable ever made. It's not the somewhat confusing plot, but the
snappy dialogue -- and the confident acting -- which makes it work so
well. The repartee ("A woman with a rod is like a man with a
knitting needle") is worthy of some of the best screwball
comedies and yet it's just as dark as a noir should be in terms of the
desperate things the characters do and the terrible things that happen
to them as a consequence. Jacques Tourneur ("Cat People",
"I Walked With a Zombie") directs with finesse, but the
importance of an ace writer like James M. Cain ("The Postman
Always Rings Twice") -- uncredited for some reason -- can't be
stressed enough. He deserves as much credit for the success of the
film as Tourneur, Mitchum, Douglas, and shapely femme fatale Jane
Greer, the woman who seduces both Mitchum and Douglas -- rod in hand.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Anyone who had any doubts about the use of the Blu-ray format when it comes to old black and white films can put all those doubts away. Having just viewed Warner's new Blu-ray of Jacques Tourneur's "Out of the Past"(1947) I'm still overwhelmed by the absolute pristine video of this classic film noir now a part of Warner's Archive Collection. For those who might be concerned, this is "not" a DVD-R as are most of the titles in the WAC. Warner's has started to release some of it's classic films on Blu-ray through it's Archive Collection which have been previously released on standard DVD. That includes "Out of the Past" which was one of the five films in Volume One of it's "Film Noir Classics Collection" from ten years ago. But the difference between that DVD and this new Blu-ray is simply stunning. According to published reports, Warner's gave "Out of the Past" a very high bitrate(34.57) for this transfer and needless to say the results are astounding. It's simply beautiful. I don't know if the restoration team at Warner's had the original negative to work with but it sure looks like it. The cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca is not only enhanced on Blu-ray but probably hasn't looked this good since it's original theatrical run. The story is complicated(lots of twists and turns) but concerns a former private detective, played by Robert Mitchum(one of his best early performances) who is trying to live a quiet existence in order to break from his past life. However, other people have other ideas. That's all I'm going to say about the story. Jacques Tourneur's tight direction is heavy on mood development and it's those developments which makes this film one of the most stylish and interesting film noirs of all time.Read more ›
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