Archive for July 8th, 2014


by John Grant

vt Build My Gallows High

US / 97 minutes / bw / RKO Dir: Jacques Tourneur Pr: Warren Duff Scr: Geoffrey Homes Story: Build My Gallows High (1946) by Geoffrey Homes Cine: Nicholas Musuraca Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb, Steve Brodie, Virginia Huston, Paul Valentine, Dickie Moore, Ken Niles, Theresa Harris, Wallace Scott, John Kellogg.

Film noir is not generally a genre much associated with romance, so it’s perhaps a surprise to find prominent noirs listed in this countdown, and perhaps most surprising of all that this, one of the half-dozen or so films noirs that could be regarded as defining the genre, is one of them. Other noirs deal exquisitely with the obsessive face of love—The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and Double Indemnity (1944) spring instantly to mind (and is obsession truly romance?)—but Out of the Past manages to tell a tale of obsession that more than matches those while doing so in the context of, and within the narrative framework of, a genuinely romantic love story.

The tale of obsession first:

A couple of years ago PI Jeff Markham (Mitchum) was hired by hoodlum Whit Sterling (Douglas) to track down the mistress who’d put four bullets into him and run off with $40,000 of his money, Kathie Moffatt (Greer). With the help of her maid, Eunice Leonard (Harris), Jeff tracked her down to Acapulco, where he became instantly infatuated with her. When Whit and his goon Joe Stefanos (Valentine) followed Jeff to Mexico, Jeff claimed that Kathie had left for some destination unknown in South America. In fact, Jeff and Kathie then snuck away to San Francisco, where they lived together incognito for a while before Jeff’s old PI partner, Jack Fisher (Brodie), spotted them quite by chance at a racetrack. Fisher followed them home and there was a confrontation, during which Kathie shot the interloper dead, thereafter fleeing into the night . . . (more…)

Read Full Post »