Out of the Past (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Out of the Past1947

Out of the Past (1947)



Critic Consensus: Anchored by a wistful Robert Mitchum, Out of the Past is an exemplary noir steeped in doom and sensuality.

Out of the Past Photos

Movie Info

This quintessential film noir made contract player Robert Mitchum a star and set the standard for the genre for years to come. Private eye Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is hired by notorious gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) to find his mistress, Kathie Moffett (Jane Greer), who shot him and ran off with $40,000. Jeff traces Kathie to Mexico, but when he meets her he falls in love and willingly becomes involved in an increasingly complicated web of double-crosses, blackmail, and murder. Directed with supreme skill by Jacques Tourneur and brilliantly photographed by Nicholas Musuraca, this is an unrelentingly gloomy film set in a dark world of greed and deceit where love is used to trap the gullible. It was here that Mitchum created what became his characteristic screen persona: the droopy-eyed cynic who accepts fate with a studied nonchalance. Jane Greer is equally superb, perfecting the role of the femme fatale with a combination of erotic fire and cool detachment. Her first appearance in the film, in silhouette as she enters a dark cantina from the bright sunlight, is one of the great entrances in film history. A seminal genre film, certainly among the greatest whose influence is still felt today. Out of the Past was remade as the distinctly inferior Against All Odds.

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Rhonda Fleming
as Meta Carson
Dickie Moore
as The Kid
Lee Elson
as Policeman
Frank Wilcox
as Sheriff Douglas
Mary Field
as Marney
Jess Escobar
as Doorman
James Bush
as Doorman
Hubert Brill
as Car Manipulator
Michael Lally
as Kibitzer
Bill Wallace
as Kibitzer
Primo Lopez
as Bellhop
Caleb Peterson
as Man with Eunice
Wesley Bly
as Headwaiter
Tony Roux
as Jose Rodriguez
Sam Warren
as Waiter
John Kellogg
as Baylord
Oliver Blake
as Tillotson
William Van Vleck
as Cigar Store Clerk
Charles Regan
as Mystery Man
Harry Hayden
as Canby Miller
Adda Gleason
as Mrs. Miller
Manuel Paris
as Croupier
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News & Interviews for Out of the Past

Critic Reviews for Out of the Past

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (11)

The players acquit themselves histrionically if not morally. Mitchum, [Kirk] Douglas and the Misses [Jane] Greer and [Rhonda] Fleming are all commendable.

June 28, 2019 | Full Review…

Fairly well played, and very well photographed (by Nicholas Musuraca), the action develops a routine kind of pseudo-tension.

January 24, 2018 | Full Review…

Out Of The Past is undeniably a film noir, and rightly regarded as one of the genre's best.

September 17, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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 ...

April 7, 2014 | Full Review…

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.

April 18, 2007 | Full Review…

The most delicate and nuanced of film noirs, graced with a reflective lyricism that almost lifts it out of the genre.

April 18, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Out of the Past

Mitchum is little more than a big slab of beef walking around in a Macintosh trench coat, mumbling to himself, as all around him conspire in some way to dupe everyone else. He only just holds onto his hat, all the doublecrossing, doubletalking, backstabbing rigamarole going on. Did I mention that there's a bad girl in the middle of it all? Did I have to mention it? And yeah, she's got legs down to there and back up again. I'm gonna need a drink. Make that two.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


A stranger uncovers the secret past of a small town gas station owner drawing him back into the shadowy world he was trying to forget. This was Robert Mitchum's first starring role and it's easy to see why it made him a star; he is superb as the ex-private eye who falls for the charms of one of the quintessential femme fatales in the shape of Jane Greer. Kirk Douglas also gives brilliant support as the great manipulator looking for revenge and the web of deceit he weaves makes for an intriguing plot that's complex without being overly convoluted. The icing on the cake is the artistic eye of Jacques Tourneur who makes the film one of the most visually attractive crime dramas ever made. Years ahead of its time, Out Of The Past is one of THE greats of Film Noir.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


The director of Cat People strikes again with what may be a perfect noir.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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