It feels like there are 3 movies here, or maybe 4. The first is of a reformed man who starts a new life, only to be pulled in for one last job. There is the story of two lovers who double-cross the rich corner of the triangle. There is a convoluted murder mystery in San Francisco. And, there is the ending where the players’ schemes come crashing down and all is revealed.
But Out out of Past is no noir pastiche. Its tone is deadly serious. Robert Mitchum has plenty of clever one-liners, but unlike the inhabitants of Sweet Smell of Success, he doesn’t care about them. He doesn’t seem to really care about anything. He knows his fate, and trudges on towards it.
I'm a journalist and film enthusiast who lives in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. I've been writing about movies for 15 years and I hosted a weekly movie review television show on UATV for two years.