Out of the Past (1947)

Out of the Past (1947), directed by Jacques Tourneur.


Small town girl: "You've been to a lot of places, haven't you?"

He: "One too many".

He's not exactly running, not exactly hiding, just trying to start over in a modest life with a new girl, away from former associates and the dangerous life and passion he once knew. It is not to be: they find him and pull him back into the life. We're rooting for him, but the odds are not good.

If you were teaching film noir, this would be a textbook example with a bit of everything:

Thoughts on the femme fatale motif in film noir: it's often said that men are simple and women complex, and that men struggle with "What do women want?" But men can be puzzling, too: why the fascination with sexy but duplicitous women? Do men want to be chumps, used and stabbed in the back? These women don't wear dominatrix outfits, but it's as if the men display a need to be abused. Of course, the formula requires them to wise up and get tough in the end -- when it is too late.

Finally, I was shocked by the sadistic menace Kirk Douglas put into his threats to Jane Greer:


You're gonna take the rap and play along. You're gonna make every exact move I tell you. If you don't, I'll kill you. And I'll promise you one thing: it won't be quick. I'll break you first. You won't be able to answer a telephone or open a door without thinking, 'This is it.' And it when it comes, it still won't be quick. And it won't be pretty. You can take your choice.

Roy Webb score.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray has both subtitles and a commentary track, unheard of in their MOD DVD line.

The commentary is good, although perhaps oriented to those not too familiar with the genre.