July 7, 2009

NetPix: Out of The Past

One of my guilty cinema pleasures is film noir. This is the genre that was most popular from the 1940s and 50s in which crime doesn't pay, but sure as hell makes for some entertaining movies. There are the all-time classics like "Double Indeminty", "Sunset Boulevard" and "The Maltese Falcon". But one of my personal favorites is a little gem from 1947 called "Out of the Past." I've seen it more than a few times but recently came up on my Netflix and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

If you've ever wondered why Michael Douglas has a career, you can thank his father Kirk who turns it out as one of the coolest bad guys of all time. Also, there's a ridiculously young and sexy Robert Mitchum playing the sap in this story of love and revenge all centered around one feisty dame, as they used to say. The lady in question is Kathy Moffat, played by the smoldering Jane Greer, who Mitchum is sent to look for when she goes on the lam in Mexico. From the moment they meet in a dark bar, you know this one's gonna be good. And bad. Not to mention everything in between.

Stylishly directed by Jacques Tourneur ("Cat People", "I Walked With A Zombie" and even a classic episode of "The Twilight Zone"), this is one of the most beautifully shot b/w movies you'll ever see. The compositions are precise and the lighting always accentuates the mood. And dramatically, it's a roller coaster. I still I found myself reacting audibly to some of the film's crazier twists and turns. And check out some of the killer dialogue:

Ann Miller: She can't be all bad. No one is.
Jeff Bailey: Well, she comes the closest.

Kathie Moffat: Oh, Jeff, I don't want to die!
Jeff Bailey: Neither do I, baby, but if I have to I'm gonna die last.
You'll find a million more lines like this throughout the film. As for how it all ends, I'm not gonna give away the shocker finale re; who actually dies last. So check it out and enjoy a wild trip to Hollywood's past.