Out Of The Past Film Analysis

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The 1947 movie Out of the Past, directed by Jacques Tourneur, starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, is a classic noir film, tells the story of gas station worker Jeff Baily: his mysterious past is revealed by the visit of his old employee Whit Steirling, turns out he used to be a private detective, helps Whit to track down his mistress Kathie Moffat, who shot Whit and disappeared with 40,000 dollars. Jeff, of course, quickly fell in love with Kathie, believed she was innocent about the money. He betrayed Whit and ran off with Kathie. Soon, Fisher, the other detective hired by Whit, found both of them. During the fight, Kathie shot Fisher and disappeared again, the same time, Jeff found out Kathie did take 40,000 dollars and was lying to him …show more content…
First of all, of course, she is seductive and sexy, innocent even, when she’s first introduced in the movie. She dresses in all white, as Jeff says: “I saw her coming out of the sun, and I knew why Whit didn’t care about that 40 grand.” Even though the audiences know the fact that she shots Whit and ran away, they cannot associates this woman with cold, bloody crime. Like Helen Grayle from Murder, My Sweet, she bleaches her hair from red to blond. The idea of pretending is one of the characteristics of femme fatale. She says she is taller than Napoleon, when Jeff says she is such a small woman. Compare to what Eunice, the woman at the Harlem bar, says, Eunice says she weights exactly like Kathie’s suitcase, Kathie does not like being looked down at. Saying her taller than Napoleon is suggesting that she is more capable than man, even famous military man like Napoleon. She is in control of the situation all the time, both Jeff and Whit is under her control. After Kathie shoots him, Whit is still willing to take Kathie back. By the end of the movie, Jeff and Whit have to work together in order to get rid of Kathie’s control and accuse her for the murder of Fisher. Unfortunately, Kathie kills Whit before they could figure out a way. Unlike the usual femme fatales in noir films, Kathie cannot be defeated by men. She is not punished by the noir hero directly, even in the end, she orders Jeff to go away with her, and Jeff cannot say no to her. The backstory of Kathie is a mysterious, the audiences do not know if she is simply born evil or things happen to her made her who she is right

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