Out of the Past par Bosley Crowther

Out of the Past par Bosley Crowther

26 novembre 1947. En rejoignant son boulot, le Passant Cinéphile passe devant le Palace et voit que l’on y donne un nouveau film, Out of the Past. A l’affiche, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Jane Greer et Rhonda Fleming. Il s’interroge. Ce film vaut-il le coup ? Curieux, il hèle un vendeur de journaux et achète le New York Times. Le critique acerbe Bosley Crowther l’éclairera peut-être.

Critique d’époque originale :

« There have been double- and triple-crosses in many of these tough detective films, and in one or two Humphrey Bogart specials they have run even higher than that. But the sum of deceitful complications that occur in « Out of the Past » must be reckoned by logarithmic tables, so numerous and involved do they become. The consequence is that the action of this new film, which came to the Palace yesterday, is likely to leave the napping or unmathematical customer far behind.

Frankly, that’s where it left us. We were with it, up to a point, and enjoying the rough-stuff and the romance with considerable delight and concern. For this story of an ex-private detective who is shanghaied from a quiet, prosaic life to get involved with his old criminal associates is intensely fascinating for a time. And it is made even more galvanic by a smooth realistic style, by fast dialogue and genuine settings in California and Mexican locales.But after this private detective has re-encountered an old girl friend (who originally double-crossed him after luring him to double-cross his boss, whom she had shot) and the two get elaborately criss-crossed in a plot to triple-cross our boy again, the involutions of the story become much too complex for us.

The style is still sharp and realistic, the dialogue still crackles with verbal sparks and the action is still crisp and muscular, not to mention slightly wanton in spots. But the pattern and purpose of it is beyond our pedestrian ken. People get killed, the tough guys browbeat, the hero hurries—but we can’t tell you why.However, as we say, it’s very snappy and quite intriguingly played by a cast that has been well and smartly directed by Jacques Tourneur.

Robert Mitchum is magnificently cheekly and self-assured as the tangled « private eye, » consuming an astronomical number of cigarettes in displaying his nonchalance. And Jane Greer is very sleek as his Delilah, Kirk Douglas is crisp as a big crook and Richard Webb, Virginia Huston, Rhonda Fleming and Dickie Moore are picturesque in other roles. If only we had some way of knowing what’s going on in the last half of this film, we might get more pleasure from it. As it is, the challenge is worth a try ». Bosley Crowther for the New York Times.

Jane Greer et Robert Mitchum e route vers leur Destin

Out of the Past semble avoir laissé notre critique cinéma sur le bord du chemin. En cause, une intrigue bien trop alambiquée pour lui. Et il promet le même résultat aux spectateurs distraits. Pourtant, tout semblait bien démarrer pour notre critique grâce à une mise en scène enlevée et des dialogues de qualité. Mais, tout se complique lorsque les différents protagonistes s’associent les uns aux autres pour mieux se trahir. Tout cela devient vain, sans raison bien que divertissant. Notre critique du jour finit par louer l’interprétation et se désole de n’avoir rien compris à l’histoire. Tout en concluant, que Out of the Past se doit d’être vu, comme une sorte de défi à relever…

Aujourd’hui, Out of the Past, La Griffe du Passé, est considéré comme l’un des meilleurs film noir.

Ma critique, toute personnelle, est disponible directement ici.

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