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Movie Review - Out of the Past

SEATTLE, Washington - I rented Out of the Past for one reason - Roger Ebert, in a review of another movie, noted that this was "the greatest cigarette-smoking movie of all time." Ebert elaborated:

The trick, as demonstrated by Jacques Tourneur and his cameraman, Nicholas Musuraca, is to throw a lot of light into the empty space where the characters are going to exhale. When they do, they produce great white clouds of smoke, which express their moods, their personalities and their energy levels. There were guns in "Out of the Past," but the real hostility came when Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoked at each other.

I watched the smoking carefully. In fact, what I considered the best-lit smoke in the movie was a shot that included neither Douglas nor Mitchum, but instead was a shot of two of their associates. Still, Douglas and Mitchum had some ciggy-assisted tense moments.

Ebert also noted that "when Robert Mitchum exhaled at a guy, the guy ducked out of the way," and this is true - Mitchum executed some impressive smoke exhalations.

The movie looked great, better than most DVDs of 1940s B&W movies, which I will assume was some combination of impressive cinematography and loving DVD creation. The plot had the usual twists and turns of mid-century noir, and is worth a rent if you're a fan of the lead actors.