From the moment Robert Mitchum appears in “Cape Fear” with his slow swagger, Southern drawl and serious mean spirit, there’s no doubt he’s a tour-de-force bad guy. In fact, he is one of cinema’s greatest psychos. His character Max Cady ranks No. 28 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 50 villains of all time.
The plot is straightforward but it’s a story that simmers with tension. Ex-con Max Cady puts the blame for his recent stint in jail squarely on the man who testified against him: Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck, who also helped produce), a prominent lawyer in a small Southern town. Seeking revenge for the eight years he spent behind bars, Cady launches a campaign of terror against Bowden and his family that culminates in a life-and-death struggle in a moonlit swamp.
The 1962 film, still chilling today, had all the ingredients for success: accomplished director J. Lee Thompson (who also made Peck’s 1962 adventure classic, “The Guns of Navarone”), a near-perfect cast, top-notch material (James R. Webb’s screenplay is based on John D. MacDonald’s novel “The Executioners”), a Bernard Herrmann score, cinematography by Sam Leavitt, art direction by Robert Boyle and editing by George Tomasini.
Herrmann, Boyle and Tomasini were frequent collaborators with Alfred Hitchcock. Of shooting in black and white, director Thompson said, “I thought the black and the shadows would enhance the story and color might spoil it.”
The cast includes TV comedienne Polly Bergen as Sam’s wife Peggy, Lori Martin as their daughter, Martin Balsam (“Psycho’s” ill-fated detective) as police chief Mark Dutton, Telly Savalas as gumshoe Charlie Sievers and Barrie Chase as Diane, a goodtime girl victimized by Cady.
To Peck’s credit, he understood that Mitchum’s character was more dynamic than steadfast and respectable Sam Bowden. Mitchum makes even a quick line, such as, “You sweatin’ a little, huh counselor?” glow with burning malice.
Thompson says in the making-of feature in the DVD, “Greg was conscious the whole time that the villain was the colorful part and that Mitchum was playing it beautifully. And he let him run with it. … The way [Peck] played the part and the strength he showed, it became a very good battle between the two men. It was wonderful teamwork between the two.”
Thompson also recalls the way Mitchum embraced the role. “This part is a drunk, a rapist and a violent man, and I live my parts,” Mitchum told him. “It was sort of a warning that we might have some stormy passages during the making of the film … and we did have some stormy passages,” laughs Thompson.More
Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck engage in a battle of wills in this classic thriller by director J. Lee Thompson. Mitchum’s Max Cady is an ex-con looking to even the score with the man he blames for his jail time; he’s nuts but hides it so well. Peck’s good guy is a pillar of strength, guarding his family from Cady’s stalking, smirking and revenge-seeking. Strong support cast and virtuoso visuals.
After four days of back-to-back noirs at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs, it is hard to return to reality. I keep expecting to see men in fedoras and mink-coated molls. Or to hear terse whispers from crooks working a heist or an imperious “Ah, shut up” a la Joan Crawford. Well, it’s a rainy day and it’s still early so you never know what might happen.
The annual noir gathering, now in its 11th year, is one of my favorite fests and such a great chance to mingle with other noiristas, such as producer and programmer Alan K. Rode and the rest of the Dark City Players: Marvin Paige, Foster Hirsch, Kim Morgan and Eddie Muller. Ric and Rozene Supple are the fest’s executive producers and the Camelot Theatre does a great job hosting the event. The festival is named after its founder Arthur Lyons Jr., an author and longtime resident of Palm Springs.
From the first notes of Henry Mancini’s silky score for “Experiment in Terror,” which opened the fest, to the Palm Springs locations of 60 years ago, shown in the final movie, “The Damned Don’t Cry,” there was much to relish. In “Experiment in Terror” from 1962, Ross Martin hatches a plot to anonymously extort money from Lee Remick; his efforts are thwarted by FBI agent Glenn Ford.
It’s hard to shake the mood of menace that director Blake Edwards creates in this chilling tale. Stefanie Powers, who played Remick’s younger sister, spoke after the screening. “Nobody shot that way,” she said of Edwards’ daring camera, adding that the film may be the first time that someone died on screen, eyes open.
Friday’s fare included “The Underworld Story” (1950, Cy Endfield); “Six Bridges to Cross” (1955, Joseph Pevney); “A Kiss Before Dying” (1956, Gerd Oswald) and “Cape Fear” (1962, J. Lee Thompson).
I can never get enough of Dan Duryea, star of “Underworld,” and seeing Tony Curtis in “Six Bridges” was a rare treat. “You can’t help liking him even if he is a criminal,” said co-star Julie Adams in the post-screening Q&A, noting the natural charm Curtis brought to the part of inveterate schemer Jerry Florea. Sal Mineo made his screen debut in this movie, as the young Jerry, leader of a Boston street gang.
Then it was time for a dash of luscious color: The broad gaze of CinemaScope catches the hard-core badness of college student and casual killer Bud Corliss (Robert Wagner) in “A Kiss Before Dying.” Though he was voted most likely to succeed in high school, at 25, he’s still stuck in college, despite the support of his doting mom (Mary Astor). He figures it would be a whole lot easier to ditch the books and marry into a rich family, even if it requires a murder or two.
Co-starring as his love interests are Joanne Woodward and Virginia Leith, both of whom are excellent. Director Gerd Oswald, a mainstay of the classic TV show “The Outer Limits” and the son of Vienna-born director Richard Oswald, elicits memorable performances, particularly from the young and sexy Wagner.
The evening ended with a classic thriller: “Cape Fear.” The top-notch cast includes Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Barrie Chase, Telly Savalas, Martin Balsam and Jack Kruschen. Adding to the mood is music by the maestro of the suspense film Bernard Herrmann.
Mitchum’s portrayal of Max Cady, a brutal sadist seeking revenge, is one of his best and most famous roles. On hand to reminisce after the movie was Chase, also an accomplished dancer who partnered with Fred Astaire on his TV specials. Chase said of Mitchum in this movie: “He was fantastically attractive as a horrible person.”
When she rehearsed her scene with Mitchum (she played a victim of his brutality), he made it very clear that he had nothing on under his pants. “It struck me as funny,” she said. (The audience had the same reaction.) “He was very kind and protective after that; he treated me like a kid sister.”
Also, Chase said, despite giving the impression that he winged it when it came to acting, Mitchum was “totally prepared, he knew exactly what he was going to do.” As for how she broke into movies, she told the audience she got the requisite encouragement to follow her dream from “a fella named Stanley Kubrick” whom she was going out with at the time.
On Saturday morning, critic Kim Morgan introduced “99 River Street” (1953, Phil Karlson) starring John Payne and Evelyn Keyes. Morgan pointed out that the film is a great example both of cinematographer Franz Planer’s work (he was on “Criss Cross,” 1949; “Letter from an Unknown Woman,” 1948; “Bad for Each Other,” 1953, and many others) and of the boxing noir sub-genre, along with “Body and Soul,” 1947, and “The Set-Up,” 1949. All three films, Morgan pointed out, likely would have been on Martin Scorsese’s radar as he prepared to make 1980’s “Raging Bull.”
Next up was “Plunder Road” from 1957, directed by the underrated Hubert Cornfield (“The Night of the Following Day,” 1969) and lensed by Ernest Haller. A reported favorite of Quentin Tarantino, this lean little caper flick is about a group of men stealing gold from a train, hauling it off in commercial trucks and melting it down in a foundry before getting it out of the country. It’s wildly far-fetched, true, but still a good time.
And what noir fest would be complete without an appearance of Elisha Cook, Jr.? Gene Raymond, Wayne Morris and Jeanne Cooper round out the cast; in her discussion with Foster Hirsch, Cooper recalled that Cornfield made the actors really learn the work involved at foundry. He wanted authenticity but also told them wryly: “Now you can back yourselves up and know something more than acting.” Cornfield’s advice on knowing another trade was sadly prophetic – he eventually turned to house painting to support himself.
Completing the afternoon was 1954’s “Loophole,” directed by Harold Schuster, much of which was shot on location in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Malibu. It’s a strong example of a noir staple: the wrongly accused and possibly doomed dude. Barry Sullivan is a standup bank teller; Dorothy Malone plays his loyal and devoted wife; Charles McGraw shines as the obnoxious insurance investigator determined to make Sullivan pay for his “crime.”
Another stalwart of noir is amnesia and in “Mirage,” from 1965, we see the topic deftly handled by master noir director Edward Dmytryk (“Murder, My Sweet, 1944; “Crossfire,” 1947). Gregory Peck stars as the afflicted; Walter Matthau plays a newbie gumshoe helping him out; Diane Baker is a mysterious woman from his past. The film also boasts a great collection of villains: Kevin McCarthy, Jack Weston, Leif Erickson, Walter Abel and George Kennedy.
Dmytryk effortlessly balances suspense with humor and there are many funny moments, such as when Peck tells Matthau, “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if you knew what you were doing?” The film is written by Peter Stone, who also wrote “Charade” (1963) and co-wrote “Arabesque” (1966) both by director Stanley Donen, and you can definitely feel the similarities between the three movies.
Eddie Muller and Diane Baker chatted extensively after the movie, with Baker recalling Peck as being full of life with a “great sense of humor and great energy.”
Arguably, the best movies were saved for last. Sunday’s lineup was “Crashout” (1955, Lewis R. Foster), “Saboteur” (1942, Alfred Hitchcock) and “The Damned Don’t Cry” (1950, Vincent Sherman). Certainly, my favorite guest appearance was actor/producer Norman Lloyd, who was interviewed by Alan K. Rode. Lloyd, 96, regaled the crowd with many stories about Orson Welles, John Houseman, Charlie Chaplin, Hitchcock and others.
On learning about filmmaking Lloyd said: “When I came to Hollywood, I didn’t know the front end of the camera from the back. I was very nosy and Mr. Hitchcock was delighted to answer my questions. It happened by my talking a lot.”
On Hitchcock dealing with actors? “Hitchcock worked with a major star who had been trained in the Stanislavski method. Hitchcock directed him to sit and the star asked, ‘Why do I sit?’ Hitchcock replied, ‘To put your ass in the seat of the chair.”
And in case any viewers were flagging after four days of viewing, there was sustenance to be found in, as Rode put it, the “take-no-prisoners femme fatale” – none other than Joan Crawford in “The Damned Don’t Cry.” The film is loosely based on the real-life story of Virginia Hill, mistress of gangster Bugsy Siegel, and it’s a joy to watch Crawford savagely claw her way to the top of a national crime syndicate, breaking heart after heart and stubbing out cig after cig as she climbs.
I love this line from Crawford’s character Ethel Whitehead: “Don’t talk to me about self-respect. That’s something you tell yourself you got when you got nothing else.”
Watching Crawford was a terrific way to wrap up the fest and I was a bit sad to say goodbye. I think Eddie Muller summed it up best said when he introduced “Mirage” on Saturday night, telling the packed theater, “The best part of every noir is when the woman gets the gun in her hand.”
Earlier today at a round-table interview, I caught up with TCM’s Robert Osborne, a veteran film historian and author, as the Classic Film Festival was setting up at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Osborne said one of the festival’s strengths is its great mix in terms of programming, which sets it apart from today’s moviegoing where “you have a choice of the same movie 15 different ways.”
I’ve always wanted to talk noir with him, so I asked him why these films have such enduring appeal. “We’ve always had murder mysteries and who doesn’t love that? They have an endless appeal. It’s the shadows and lights and tough people like Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino.
“To call ‘Leave Her to Heaven’ [a 1945 movie that played at last year’s fest and stars Gene Tierney] a noir is stretching it – ‘Leave Her to Heaven’ is a lush Technicolor movie about rich people.
“My idea of film noir is people in the gutter – tough dames and guys in trench coats up to no good. And nobody did it better than Hollywood in the ’40s.”
As for his favorite femmes fatales, he names Veronica Lake, Lauren Bacall (in the Bogart films), Marie Windsor and Jane Greer, describing them “as very feminine women that were also dames who could give it as well as they took it.”
And what did he think of remakes such as HBO’s version of “Mildred Pierce” by director Todd Haynes, starring Kate Winslet? Osborne praised Winslet’s performance but said he was disappointed. “They told the whole story too closely; it was too long and drawn out and too ponderous. In the original [Michael Curtiz‘s 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford], writer Ranald MacDougall’s addition of the murder really made the whole thing crackle. [The remake] should’ve been three hours at the most. I’m not fond of remakes generally.”
What is he most looking forward to in this year’s fest? “Night Flight” by Clarence Brown, “The Constant Nymph” by Edmund Goulding, opening night’s “An American in Paris” by Vincent Minnelli, Leslie Caron’s special appearance, and meeting Peter O’Toole.
I also asked Osborne, who got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, if he had any advice for O’Toole who will be honored at a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre this Saturday. “Behave!”
Get your blonde on this Sunday at the American Cinematheque. Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre will host a Jean Harlow centennial tribute, co-presented with the Art Deco Societyof Los Angeles, featuring a slideshow, book signing and screening. Harlow’s birthday was today, March 3, 1911.
The Cinematheque event starts at 2 p.m. Sunday with a slideshow on Harlow, the first blonde sex symbol. At 3 p.m., Darrell Rooney and Mark A. Vieira, authors of the new book “Harlow in Hollywood,” will sign books in the lobby. After the ink is dry, stay for the screening of Harlow’s screwball comedy/satire “Bombshell” from 1933, directed by Victor Fleming. Turner Classic Movies is also paying tribute to Harlow this month; for more details, visit http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/362075%7C0/Jean-Harlow-Tuesdays-in-March.html.
Other highlights of the Cinematheque’s schedule include:
Charles Laughton gets some love with a double feature at the Egyptian. Laughton directed “The Night of the Hunter,” starring Robert Mitchum, and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Witness for the Prosecution”; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11.
Sharon Stone will visit the Aero for a discussion, after the showing of “Casino” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18.
More stunning Stone fare at the Aero: “Basic Instinct,” which marks its 20th anniversary, and “The Quick and the Dead” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19.
Director Michael Mann will attend the Egyptian’s 25th anniversary screening of “Manhunter” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19. There will be a discussion after the movie.
Be sure to check complete schedule. The Egyptian Theatre is at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. The Aero Theatre is at 1328 Montana Ave. General admission is $11; members pay $7.
The Night of the Hunter/1955/United Artists/93 min.
By Michael Wilmington
Some movies take a while to reach their audiences. Take, for example, Charles Laughton’s great Faulknerian film noir “The Night of the Hunter,” based on Davis Grubb’s Southern Gothic novel.
Beautifully scripted by James Agee, spellbindingly directed by Charles Laughton, evocatively shot by cinematographer Stanley Cortez, and memorably acted by Robert Mitchum (in his best performance), it’s a haunting tale of murder, terror and wild, lyrical flight.
Also unforgettable: the performances by Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason, Evelyn Darden, Don Beddoe, Peter Graves, and two little-known child actors Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce.
In this mesmerizing movie, we see two orphaned West Virginia kids, John and Pearl Harper, desperately fleeing the honey-tongued but murderous preacher Harry Powell (Mitchum), a black-clad, brim-hatted charlatan who has “LOVE” and “HATE” tattooed on his knuckles as props to his sermons. Harry is the Hunter. The children are his prey because they can lead him to the money their father (Graves) stole and managed to hide before he was arrested and executed.
Harry cajoles them, bullies them, then kills their poor, sad, seducible mom Willa (Winters). The heroine of the film is the children’s savior Miss Cooper (Gish). Then close to 60, Gish is eternally enduring, a rustic angel with a hymn on her lips and a rifle in her lap.
John and Pearl escape down the river in an open boat. And for them, the world of the rural South in the Depression becomes a magical twilight of Halloween horrors, a nocturnal landscape of rushing water, moonlit skies, ghostly trees, croaking frogs, watchful owls, pensive rabbits and evil spiders spinning their webs.
As they flee, Preacher Harry follows them on horseback, far-off but omnipresent, a specter etched in silhouette against the evening sky, singing, in Mitchum’s rich, lazy baritone: “Leaning, leaning…Safe and secure from all alarms. Leaning, leaning…Leaning on the everlasting arms.” (You’ll recognize the soothing yet eerie tune; it’s the one threaded through the Coen Brothers’ remake of “True Grit” and sung under the credits.)
Are any classic noir images or sounds more scarily poetic than that flight, that drifting boat, those hands tattooed with “LOVE” and “HATE,“ that black-clad maniac preacher, that spider, that river, that song? More
At the recent Noir City 9 in San Francisco, besides the marvelous movies, audiences got to see a memorial reel for talent who died in 2010, created by Richard Hildreth, Noir City showrunner.
The reel honored: Blake Edwards (“Experiment in Terror”), Gloria Stuart (“The Old Dark House”), Peter Graves (“The Night of the Hunter”), John Forsythe (“In Cold Blood”), Anne Francis (“Rogue Cop”), Kevin McCarthy (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”), Patricia Neal (“The Breaking Point”) and Tony Curtis (“Sweet Smell of Success”).
Seeing Graves’ name and the clip from “The Night of the Hunter” (recently re-released by Criterion) reminded me to feature this movie on my site and I’m lucky to have a review to share from critic Michael Wilmington.
MW rightly praises Robert Mitchum’s performance. But for me it is the child actors, Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce, who make the film so moving and resonant.
If you get a chuckle out of Patty and Selma Bouvier of “The Simpsons,” the Laramie-puffing, big-haired sisters with terrible taste in men, you’ll enjoy the raspy-voiced alcoholic widow Jessie Florian of 1975’s “Farewell, My Lovely.” Actress Sylvia Miles earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of this sad and seedy lady.
Miles is just one of many superb performers in this movie, notably Robert Mitchum as private investigator Philip Marlowe and Charlotte Rampling, a judge’s wife, bored to tears in their May/December relationship.
Having starred in many stand-out noirs as a younger actor (“Out of the Past,” “Angel Face” are two of the finest noirs ever made), Mitchum once again lends his sexy, sleepy indolence to the part of a burned-out and baleful detective at the end of his career.
Directed by Dick Richards and written by David Zelag Goodman, “Farewell” is based on Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name, published in 1940. Director Edward Dmytryk brought the book to the screen in 1944 as “Murder, My Sweet,” a seminal noir starring Dick Powell and Claire Trevor. (The title was changed because Powell, a song and dance man, was playing off-type and studio execs didn’t want audiences to think it was a musical. It was also filmed in 1942 as “The Falcon Takes Over.”)
“Murder My Sweet,” with its sordid criminals and Expressionist sensibility, was a triumph for Dmytryk and his team. Even so, the film only skimmed the surface of Chandler’s darkness; by 1975, topics like prostitution and racism, in addition to garden-variety crime, could be addressed on the big screen.
The movie opens with DavidShire’s luscious score and shots of 1940s Los Angeles at night, bathed in neon light. There we see Mitchum in a dumpy hotel room (you were expecting the Four Seasons?) reflecting over the past few months — rotten weather and rubbing elbows with lowlifes and deadbeats. Weary of “ducking police” and apparently needing to confess, he calls Det. Lt. Nulty (John Ireland), who agrees to come to the hotel. While waiting for Nulty to arrive, Marlowe begins a second flashback, in which Nulty is a participant, and we get to the meat of the story.
On a boring bread-and-butter case, Marlowe bumps into Moose Malloy (Jack O’Halloran), long on brawn, short on brains and just out of jail. Moose wants Marlowe to find his girlfriend, a one-time showgirl named Velma, whom he describes as “cute as lace pants.”
The pair head to Florian’s nightclub in search of clues. Nothing turns up, though, and the frustrated Malloy kills a guy with his bare hands. Back to the slammer for the ungentle giant? Well, since the victim is black, the cops aren’t going to do much about it. Next stop for Marlowe: A visit to Jessie Florian’s, with a big bottle of cheap booze in hand. Upon seeing Marlowe, Jessie dons her best bathrobe and turns on the charm.
Meanwhile, a very different client, the posh and effeminate Lindsay Marriott (John O’Leary) hires Marlowe to be a bodyguard during an attempt to retrieve a stolen jade necklace. You’d think the fact that Marriott shows up in a disco suit much like John Travolta’s in “Saturday Night Fever” might put Marlowe off. Instead, the job opens the door to a circle of unsavory mover/shaker types.
There’s elderly and insipid Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle (a cameo role for Jim Thompson, a famed noir writer of the ’50s); his much younger wife Helen (Charlotte Rampling), ravishing, shrewd, brash and, like Jesse Florian, very fond of strong cocktails; the mannish madame of a high-class whorehouse Frances Amthor (Kate Murtagh); and the suave but slippery Laird Brunette (Anthony Zerbe). As Brunette puts it: “All I do is run towns, elect judges and mayors, corrupt police, peddle dope, ice old ladies with pearls.” More
Raymond Chandler once described a noir hero as a knight in tarnished armor. Robert Mitchum, playing Philip Marlowe, illustrates the point in “Farewell, My Lovely” from 1975. Sylvia Miles and Charlotte Rampling also deliver excellent performances.
As famed critic James Agee put it: “Robert Mitchum is so sleepily self-confident with the women that when he slopes into clinches you expect him to snore in their faces.”
While none of my Robert Mitchum fantasies involve snoring, I can’t say I’d kick him out of bed just for a few noisy ZZZs. One of Mitchum’s finest vehicles is “Out of the Past” (1947) by French-born director Jacques Tourneur.
If I happened to meet someone who wanted to know film noir and only had 97 minutes to live, this is the film I’d recommend. But pay close attention, little dying chum, because there are plot twists aplenty.
Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey (aka Jeff Markham) who runs a gas station in a small town. He’s seeking a quiet life, where he can put his messed-up past behind him. Ha! Free will doesn’t stand much of a chance in film noir, so when menacing Joe Stephanos (Paul Valentine) comes to town looking for Jeff, we know he’s about to be plunged back into the darkness.
Once Jeff learns that his former nemesis, gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas), wants a reunion, he decides to bring his pure and wholesome girlfriend Ann Miller (Virginia Huston) up to speed on his shady past and so launches a filigree of flashbacks with some of the most haunting images in all of noir.
Before he pumped gas, Jeff was a gumshoe whom Whit hired to find his double-dealing girlfriend Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer). Jeff finds her in Mexico, having escaped from Whit with a little help from a gun and a bigger helping of his money. It’s a long time into the flick before we see this fabulous femme fatale but when we finally do, she’s breathtaking. James Pallot in “The Movie Guide” calls Greer’s appearance “one of the greatest entrances in film history.”
Jeff, a self-confessed sucker, falls for her in about 3 seconds and decides that Whit Sterling can go to hell. As far as Whit’s cash, Kathie says she didn’t touch it and asks him: “Won’t you believe me?”
He replies: “Baby, I don’t care.”
The two relocate to San Francisco where they can hang incognito and go to movies (sounds divine!). Still, there’s that niggling bother of Whit, brilliantly played by Douglas, and he cares quite a bit.
Meanwhile, Jeff’s ex-partner in the detective biz Jack Fisher (Steve Brodie) catches up with the couple, angling for a pay-off to keep his mouth shut re: their new life. Jeff and Fisher come to blows, but Kathie decides to cut to the chase and shoot him dead.
Earlier Fisher comments: “A dame with a rod is like a guy with a knitting needle.” In fact, a knitting needle can double as a handy weapon but it’s far less efficient than a gun, as Kathie clearly knew.
Whit figures Jeff still owes him, and makes him part of the scheme to steal incriminating documents from attorney Leonard Eels (Ken Niles). In on the set-up is Eels’ secretary Meta Carson (Rhonda Fleming) a Jane Greer lookalike and good-time girl. Over drinks with Jeff and Meta, Eels remarks: “All women are wonders because they reduce all men to the obvious.”
“And so do martinis,” Meta says.
When Eels ends up dead, Jeff appears to be the fall guy, but he staves that off by hiding the body. The next snag? Kathie signed an affidavit (at Whit’s insistence, she says) that Jeff killed Fisher. But Jeff doesn’t give up easily and, after tracking the above-mentioned documents, is happy to exchange them for $50,000 and the affidavit.
As the treachery escalates and the bodies start piling up, Kathie has all her men exactly where she wants them, but then noir guys are awfully recalcitrant…
“Out of the Past” is director Jacques Tourneur’s noir masterpiece. In a series of celluloid paintings almost baroque in their intensity, Tourneur and director of photography Nicholas Musuraca create a seamless and sinister world that captivates from the first shot to the last. As Eddie Muller in “Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir” describes it: Musuraca achieves “the richest chiaroscuro cinematography of any noir.” And as Michael Wilmington wrote in the Chicago Tribune, the movie is: “Moody and poetic, filled with some of the most strangely beautiful images ever to grace a crime movie.”More