Cover of "Out of the Past"

Cover of Out of the Past

There is something delicious about a black-and-white film noir that begins (and even ends) in a small town, as the 1941 Out of the Past does.  It is further enriched by footage in the great outdoors.

But film noir it is, and all the elements of crime are here.  Robert Mitchum plays a once dirty detective, and—well—women are sinners too.  Understandably, I’m sure, Jane Greer‘s Kathie Moffat hates her gangster boyfriend (Kirk Douglas); not so understandably, she is a real reprobate.

Mitchum is not all that good here.  He doesn’t represent his character as well as the other actors represent theirs.  A not-bad Rhonda Fleming needs more screen time.  But Geoffrey Holmes shows expertise in his based-on-a-novel screenplay, and Jacques Tourneur directed with rich, savvy elan.