November 1947: Out of the Past

This is a film noir, but it starts off as like a 50s Tennessee Williams movie. But then you get all of the genre trappings: Flash-backs, gangsters, dames, beaches, repartee.

I’ve never realised how similar Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas are. They’re basically the same person. Mitchum is a bit more muscular, but otherwise they’re confusingly similar. I wonder whether that was the effect they were going for, or whether it’s the usual result of the casting director having a “type”.

This is a very well-regarded movie:

Out of the Past is considered one of the greatest of all films noir.[5][6][7] Robert Ottoson hailed the film as “the ne plus ultra of forties film noir”.[8]

I don’t quite get it. Nothing really sizzles here. I find myself being almost completely disinterested in Mitchum and his mysterious past. The cinematography isn’t particularly striking, and the dames aren’t compelling.

But I concede that I might be totally wrong about this one. It just didn’t hold my attention, so perhaps it’s really a masterpiece and I just kinda zoned out on the good bits? It’s possible.

Out of the Past. Jacques Tourneur. 1947.

Popular movies in November 1947 according to IMDB:

243128.1Out of the Past
114817.4Gentleman’s Agreement
8897.4It Always Rains on Sunday
5237.1Monsieur Vincent
6187.0The Lost Moment
2366.9Mine Own Executioner
2516.8Where There’s Life
15246.7Daisy Kenyon
15716.5The Fugitive
4076.5An Ideal Husband

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

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