1947 RKO
Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas
Eternal icon of cool Robert Mitchum is at his sad-eyed, world-weary finest in OUT OF THE PAST (aka BUILD MY GALLOWS HIGH), one of the true classics of postwar American film noir. Mitchum stars as existential antihero Jeff Markham, a retired private detective with a shady past who is hoping for a fresh start with a new name, a new love, and a new job running a small gas station in a rural California town. But Jeff's former life soon comes back to haunt him in the guise of menacing gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas in only his second big screen role), who had hired Markham to track down his double-crossing moll Kathie (Jane Greer in definitive femme-fatale mode) after she had shot him and absconded with $40,000 of his money--only to have the renegade pair fall hopelessly in love. The trio's entangled history is revealed via flashback and voice-over narration, which, along with Jacques Tourneur's moody direction and Nicholas Musuraca's shadowy cinematography, underscore the story's tragic aura of fate and predestination.

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