ACF Critic Series #16: Teachout, Out of the Past


Second podcast this week–we’re coming up to my birthday, so for a couple of weeks, we’re doing the part of generosity here at the ACF! Today, Terry Teachout and I turn to noir: Out of the Past. Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, and Jane Greer starring in Jacques Tourneur’s directing of the Daniel Mainwaring script. Roy Webb scoring, Nicholas Musuraca shooting. This is one of the peak achievements of noir and we had such fun talking about it. It is beautiful and tragic. It shows small-town life vs. the big city; America vs. south of the border; and the corruption of glamour that makes a chump of a noble man.


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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey

    Yep, one of the noirs that was an electrifying rediscovery for film lovers of the Sixties who saw it on TV or at revival houses. By then Kirk Douglas had long since moved on from heels to babyfaces, in wrestling parlance, so his early heel turns were more surprising to us kids later, who rarely saw him before “Spartacus”.

    Mitchum was one of the authentic Bad Boys of real life Hollywood, but compared to some of the exploitative monsters, Mitchum’s predations seem kinda tame: smoked pot, swam in his backyard pool with naked women. Despite his tabloid splashes, he was always popular with men, something of a Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood of his day. 

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  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    & Kirk Douglas was slow enough to fame to then get the lead in Ace in the hole, Billy Wilder’s only bitter pill, when it came to criticism of America. No sugarcoating there… I tend to prefer him in his early roles.


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  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey

    Ace in the Hole AFAIK is partly based on a sad, true story here in Los Angeles, one of the major city-wide events that metaphorically put local television on the map here, April 1949

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  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    I did know know that. It’s somber & sobering, but oh, so believable!

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