Out Of The Past

Out Of The Past (1947)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Jane Greer
Extras: Commentary Track

Warner Home Video has prepared a series of classic film-noir movies, one of which is ’Out Of The Past, ’ a film by Jacques Tourneur starring Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas. Boasting Tourneur’s wonderful cinematic style, the film tells the engaging story of Jeff Bailey (Mitchum), a former gumshoe, who left his past life behind as he is pulled back into his old life. As one of his former clients hires him once again, quickly his past seems to catch up with him, causing him trouble once again.

The film is presented in its original fullframe aspect ratio and the transfer that Warner delivers on this DVD has been nicely cleaned up and is mostly free of defects and blemishes. Occasional splice-jumps are visible but they are extremely rare and no scratches or dust mar the picture. The contrast of the black and white picture is wonderfully balanced with deep blacks and nice highlights that allow the presentation to run the full gamut. No edge-enhancement is visible and the compression is without flaws.

The audio on this DVD comes as the original mono track that has also be cleaned up a bit to remove all hiss and background noise, making for a very clear presentation. The frequency response and the dynamic range are limited as a result of the film’s considerable age, of course, but overall this is a great and, most importantly, faithful presentation of this classic genre movie.

A commentary track by film-noir specialist James Ursini is included on the disc as the only extra. Ursini is very knowledgeable on the subject and is able to point out quite a few things about the production, the cast, the filmmakers, the history of the film and the times of its making.

Re-visiting classic noir films on DVDs such as this is a lot of fun and I am grateful that Warner gives films like this one a proper home on DVD. If you’re a fan of the genre, you definitely check out this film, as well as the series of other film-noir gems that Warner is releasing as part of this batch.