Out of the Past

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This classic example of 1940s Film Noir features some of the genre's best dialog. Daniel Manwaring, under the pseudonym Geoffrey Homes, smartly adapted his novel Build My Gallows High, and the stars Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer breathe life and larceny into his characters. Private eye Mitchum is hired by a notorious gangster (Kirk Douglas) to find his mistress Kathie (Jane Greer) who shot him and ran off with a load of dough. Jeff traces Kathie to Mexico, but falls for her and gets caught in her web of deception and murder. Directed with supreme skill by Jacques Tourneur and brilliantly photographed by Nicholas Musuraca, this film introduced the famous Mitchum screen persona of sleepy-eyed cynic ready to toss out a line like "Baby, I don't care" with nonchalant sex appeal. Jane Greer is equally effective, a combination of erotic fire and cool detachment.

Out of the Past was added to the National Film Registry in 1991.

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