Detectives -- United States -- Drama, Gangsters -- United States -- Drama, Man-woman relationships -- United States -- Drama

Out of the Past

(Build My Gallows High)

Members' free screening


Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming,

This event is part of March Member Appreciation Month; our month-long celebration of YOU—our extended BAMPFA family.

In his first starring role, Robert Mitchum is already “Robert Mitchum”: world-weary, laconic, and life-worn, effortlessly masculine yet appealingly wounded, with a boxer’s build and a poet’s (or a drunk’s) sad eyes. Out of the Past is one of the most exquisite and intriguing of noirs, expertly crafted into a complex narrative in which past, present, and future are linked as in a Möbius strip. Mitchum, hiding out behind a small-town identity, is forced to relive his onetime and future career as a private eye when an unresolved case opens up again like a chasm. The film provided the signature Mitchum role: terse and smitten at the same time. Is it love, sex, or a sucker’s game? Jane Greer may be the quintessential femme fatale, but then again, she may not. Her presence (and past), out of the shadows into light and then back again, echoes an obsession with the unknown, the refusal of any kind of sanctuary, that is central to director Jacques Tourneur’s worldview. Preserved from nitrate negative. 

  • Geoffrey Homes
Based On
  • The novel Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes'

  • Nicholas Musuraca
  • English
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 97 mins
  • Library of Congress
  • Warner Bros.

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Out of the past documents  

Out of the past (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, David Thomson, 1999

Out of the past (review), SF Weekly, Gregg Rickman, 1997

Out of the past (program note), Denver International Film Festival, 1996

Fuga do passado (program note), Sao Paulo International Film Festival, 1987

Ou sont les film noirs d'antan ? (article), Village Voice, Andrew Sarris, 1984

The blustery bombastics of Against the odds (review), Reader (Los Angeles, Calif.), Bob Fukuyama, 1984

Out of the past (program note), Los Angeles International Film Exposition, 1971

Out of the past (review), Variety, Brog., 1947

Out of the past (program note)

Out of the past (program note), Edinburgh Film Festival

Displaying 10 of 10 publicly available documents.

View all Out of the past documentation on CineFiles.