Out of the Past (originally released in the United Kingdom as Build My Gallows High) is a 1947 film noir directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas. The film was adapted by Daniel Mainwaring (using the pseudonym Geoffrey Homes), with uncredited revisions by Frank Fenton and James M. Cain, from his novel Build My Gallows High (also written as Homes).
The film is considered by film historians to be a superb example of film noir, due to its convoluted, dreamlike storyline and its chiaroscuro cinematography (cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca also shot Tourneur's Cat People). In 1991, Out of the Past was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Jeff Bailey (Mitchum) seems to be a mundane gas station owner in remote Bridgeport, California. He is dating local girl Ann Miller (Virginia Huston) and lives a quiet life. Town lawman Jim (Richard Webb) is in love with Ann and unsure about Jeff, who is secretive about his past.
A man named Joe Stephanos (Paul Valentine) passing through town recognizes Jeff. He returns and tells Jeff that their mutual acquaintance Whit...