The plot in a nutshell: Robert Mitchum is a gas pump jockey trying to live the honest life in a small town with his pure-as-the-driven-snow girlfriend. But, this being noir, he has a past which soon catches up to him in the form of Kirk Douglas, a raconteur who once hired Mitchum as a private eye to track down HIS old girlfriend, Jane Greer, who broke his heart and hightailed it to Mexico with his money. Problem is, Mitchum fell in love with Greer upon finding her so he never finished the job. Now
Douglas wants Mitchum to complete a new job for him involving a ledger and a tax evasion scam, one that may be a trap and one that will most certainly involve his sordid past with Greer and threaten his quiet, peaceful new life.
It’s hard not to watch this movie without pinpointing scenes that so obviously inspired more recent movies -- A History of Violence, Body Heat, not to mention it’s “official remake” Against All Odds. Practically the entire mystery-thriller section of your local Blockbuster could be said to be owe a debt to this one movie.
I was on a major film noir kick while in college but, for some reason, kept setting this one aside. Well, my past came back to haunt me in a very, very good way. I’ve finally seen Out of the Past. And it’s most certainly one of the very best.