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Out Of The Past / The Big Steal


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On Saturday the 25th of June, *Out Of The Past* is the essential film, definitely worthy of the honor. I don't think any film better illustrates what "film noir" is all about. And I am very pleased to see *The Big Steal* is the following film. Of course its Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer again but I think the film can stand on its own merits too. Its what I would call "noir lite", it has a noir type storyline but it plays more for action and a little fun too. Its a nice contrast to *Out Of The Past* and I hope people give it a look see.

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I am assuming a lot of people aren't familiar with *The Big Steal* so I hope this gives the film some needed exposure. I really liked it when I first saw it on TCM several years ago and have watched it several times since (even bought the DVD that has it paired with Eddie G in *Illegal* ). On the commentary it is said the original story was much tougher but they toned it down for Mitchum, to give him a more appealing image. *The Big Steal* was filmed at the time of Mitchum's drug bust (pot possession), which threatened to ruin his career. *The Big Steal* apparently helped minimize the damage to his career.

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Jun 17, 2011 11:36 AM

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I really like the The Big Steal because William Bendix is in it and he was a central noir figure and he teamed up witn Mitchum again in Macro in 52. But the movie is indeed noir light since there isn't a femme fatale (Jane is very sweet in The Big Steal), no man is placed into a noir trap (core to Out of the Past of course). So as noted the movie is more of an action romantic movie. Still it is very good movie; Don Siegel keeps the pace moving, Mitchum and Bendix trade a lot of good lines and banter, and Jane looks wonderful. What more can one ask for.

 

 

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There's nothing I can add to the precise remarks just posted. OUT OF THE PAST is the epitome of noir. If I taught a class on the genre, this is the film I'd show. THE BIG STEAL is the perfect companion to it, if only for the cast. Both films were frequent features on late night TV in Chicago in the 1980's. It was nice to be able to turn on the TV and see something good.

 

 

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jamesjazzguitar wrote:

 

> I really like the The Big Steal because William Bendix is in it and he was a central noir figure and he teamed up witn Mitchum again in Macro in 52. But the movie is indeed noir light since there isn't a femme fatale (Jane is very sweet in The Big Steal), no man is placed into a noir trap (core to Out of the Past of course).

 

Mitchum *is* in a trap, and trying to get out. Comedy does seem alien to noir. I find this film to definitely be noir. If one wants to call it "noir light," because it is, in many (but not all) parts, light hearted, I can't disagree.

 

I do agree it is the perfect film to play after *Out of the Past*, perhaps the best noir ever made. *OotP*'s ending is so downbeat, it's nice to see the same stars in something with a happier outcome, and lift one's spirits.

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I agree with the comments in this thread!!! OUT OF THE PAST is such a perfect noir, and THE BIG STEAL, while a noir, I agree, is more light, with some comedy, some romantic comedy actually which is nice! I also have that DVD collection and enjoy the commentaries! But it's very cool that both will be airing next week!!

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Considering the fact that William Bendix did half his films playing a dim wit in comedies and the other half playing the heavy in tough guy movies, *The Big Steal* gives you the rare opportunity to see him do a little of both. Its fun watching him get all upset arguing with all of the locals, and of course Bendix can't speak a word of Spanish. But his battles with Mitchum are brutal.

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> He sure beats the living **** out of Alan Ladd in THE GLASS KEY! That's hard to watch, but it's a great scene.

 

He does it two or three times in that same movie, and I can't stand to watch the movie because of that.

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Don't forget "Wake Island" done in 1942 directed by John Farrow { Mia's daddy }, William Bendix, Robert Preston and Brian Donlevy. Bendix got his only A.A. nomination for Best Supporting Actor, he didn't win. I always loved him in Hitchcock's "Lifeboat"

The beating Ladd takes in "The Glass Key" is one of the most brutal in a film from the 40's...

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Jun 22, 2011 7:01 PM

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Ladd and Bendix did three films in the 1940's and became friends. But something happened to the friendship and from the mid 40's to 1958 when they appeared together again in "The Deep Six" they didn't work together.

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I remember reading something in one of those "bathroom" trivia books( not always the most credible of sources )about Ladd and Bendix being best friends and neighbors. Then there was an argument about war time services (or lack of same). Then they didn't speak for years. *The Deep Six* was filmed in 1958, so apparently passing of time healed the wounds. In that film the two were good buddies, but when they got into a brawl with some merchant marine guys Bendix accidentially slugged Ladd and knocked him out. That might have been put into the story as an inside joke.

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It's one of the great film noir's, but I don't know if I would call it the greatest. There are so many wonderful pieces of noir out there. I agree with you about "D.I", but also consider some other masterpieces lioke "Detour", "D.O.A.", "Kiss of Death", "Murder,My Sweet", "Crossfire" and many foreign films like the beautiful French "Rififi".

 

There are many to consider, some great and some not so great, way too many to list here.

 

But "Out of the Past" does contain one of my favorite lines in noir..

 

Kathie {Jean Greer}

"Oh Jeff, I don't want to die"

 

Jeff {Mitchum}

Neither do I baby, but if I have to, I'm gonna die last"

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Jun 26, 2011 3:47 PM

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Since there is no absolute definition as to what a "film noir" is, it would seem to be impossible to say that any one film is the greatest. I think most all of us would agree that *Double Indemnity* and *Out Of The Past* are both on the very top level of noir classics, even if you make that top level a very exclusive place. One important element that *Out Of The Past* brings to noir is that the lead (Mitchum) is truly a tragic character. He never really commits a crime (like murder), his only sin is bad judgment. Because of that we really can root for him to win in the end. But there is that sense of impending doom, that no matter what he does, he's trapped and is going down. In the end I think Jeff finally realizes his fate is unavoidable , so he makes sure that Kathie goes down too. And he even manages to make a final noble gesture by having the boy let Ann know that Jeff Bailey was no good for her (which is not really true) and she should go on with her life. Thats all I have to say, now I have to go have a good cry.

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