Bogie Could Have Led Out of the Past

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Out of the Past is noir to die for. A man trying to walk the straight and narrow, a cynical crook unwilling to lose control, and a femme fatale backed into a corner all mix together with dramatic results. Go behind-the-scenes of this essential film noir below!

1. Bogie was sought for the lead.

The film was originally called Build My Gallows High, and the script was inspired by The Maltese Falcon. Screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring and producer Warren Duff both thought Humphrey Bogart would be perfect and sent him a script to read. Warner Brothers, however, said the star was busy (probably because RKO had outbid them for the rights to the film). Dick Powell and John Garfield were also considered, but the role eventually went to Robert Mitchum.

2. Everyone loved the director.

Everyone had nice things to say about director Jacques Tourneur. Rhonda Fleming said, “He would be sure that you were in a comfortable position… He liked actors, which was wonderful.” Paul Valentine said, “Tourneur was a delightful, lovely man, and he treated everybody like they were his own family members.” Dick Moore said, “It turned out to be the most fun I ever had on a movie.”

3. Mitchum and Douglas had a funny rivalry.

Jane Greer said, “It was a hoot to watch them going at it. They were such different types. Kirk was something of a method actor. And Bob was Bob… but they both tried to get the advantage. At one point they were actually trying to upstage each other by who could sit the lowest [in a scene].” Another time, when Mitchum was talking, Kirk started doing moving a coin inbetween his fingers. The trick worked to pull attention away from his co-star, but it also ended up taking Kirk’s attention too. Interestingly, Douglas got paid $2,500 for 2.5 weeks of work, while Mitchum got approximately $10 thousand for 10 weeks of work.