Out of the Past
Dir. Jacques Tourneur. 1947, 97 mins. 35mm. With Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas. The definitive film noir is also one of the most diverse in its settings, as Robert Mitchum’s dreamily fatalistic private eye drifts through country towns, rugged mountains, Mexican beaches, New York jazz clubs, plush San Francisco pads, and cabins in dark pine woods. Wherever he goes, he knows he can’t escape the consequences of past mistakes—double-crossing a powerful gangster, falling in love with Jane Greer’s alluring femme fatale. The irresistibly quotable dialogue plays like a series of jazz riffs on the theme of disenchantment, but Tourneur’s film, with ravishing cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca, is a source of perennial enchantment.