Out of the Past
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Out of the Past is so perfect a film noir that it is considered practically a textbook example of the genre. In his first starring role (it had previously been offered to John Garfield and Dick Powell), Robert Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, the friendly but secretive proprietor of a mountain-village gas station. As Jeff's worshipful deaf-mute attendant (Dick Moore) looks on in curious fascination, an unsavory character named Joe (Paul Valentine) pulls up to the station, obviously looking for the owner. Jeff is all too aware of Joe's identity; he's been dreading this moment for quite… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Each change of angle and shift of light evokes an inner disturbance; the actors seem to push through the dense shadow as through water, revealing fast people in slow motion ..."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"All these B movie poets were under contract to RKO in the winter of 1946, and produced the best movie of everyone involved -- once seen, never forgotten."
‑ , Time Out
"Out Of The Past is undeniably a film noir, and rightly regarded as one of the genre's best."
‑ Keith Phipps, The Dissolve
"Few films noir were better than this."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"What makes "Out of the Past" stand out among the film noir classics is that it has better actors, a better screenplay and it doesn't look like it was made on the cheap."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"Direction by Jacques Tourneur pays close attention to mood development, achieving realistic flavor that is further emphasized by real life settings and topnotch lensing by Nicholas Musuraca."
‑ , Variety
"One of the greatest of all film noirs."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"'Maybe we thought the world would end,' Mitchum muses, during a short-lived spell of happiness in Mexico. 'Maybe we thought it was a dream.' A dream? In his trench coat and fedora, he's clearly not a man destined to die quietly in his bed."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"Jacques Tourneuer's most accomplished film and a great sampler of film noir, sort of a textbook both visually and thematically."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Beautiful thriller, with haunting direction."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"The most delicate and nuanced of film noirs, graced with a reflective lyricism that almost lifts it out of the genre."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"It's very snappy and quite intriguingly played by a cast that has been well and smartly directed by Jacques Tourneur."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"[VIDEO ESSAY] One of the best-loved '40s era contributions to the film noir genre, Director Jacques Tourneur's "Out of the Past" (1947) is a definitive model."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"Out of the Past should be considered a prototypical example of how to do noir the right way--shadowy corners, double crossings aplenty, a luscious femme fatale, and, of course, murders."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"An irresistible blend of postwar fatalism, hard-boiled dialogue, dangerous sex and luscious black-and-whites ... the slouching, sleepy-eyed Mitchum is arguably the consummate noir hero."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
More reviews for Out of the Past on Rotten Tomatoes