Out of the Past

Out of the Past (billed in the United Kingdom as Build My Gallows High) is a 1947 American 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) from his 1946 novel Build My Gallows High (also written as Homes), with uncredited revisions by Frank Fenton and James M. Cain.


Joe Stefanos arrives in Bridgeport, California, a rural mountain town, seeking Jeff Bailey, who owns a local gas station. Bailey is fishing with Ann Miller. They are in love. (Her lifelong friend Jim is jealous.) The Kid, Jeff's deaf-mute employee and friend, interrupts them, signing to Jeff. At the station, Stefanos tells Jeff that he must go to Lake Tahoe to meet "Whit." Jeff invites Ann to ride with him. He tells her about his past in a flashback.