One of the best and best known of all films noirs, this obviously has a fairly substantial entry in my Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir. However, when Sam Juliano of the great Wonders in the Dark website offered me the chance to write about it in greater depth and at greater length as part of that site’s Romantic Movies Countdown, I leapt at the chance, you bet. My essay on the movie has just gone up there, and already one of the commenters is disagreeing with my reading of the piece . . .
by John Grant
vt Build My Gallows High
US / 97 minutes / bw / RKO Dir: Jacques Tourneur Pr: Warren Duff Scr: Geoffrey Homes Story:Build My Gallows High (1946) by Geoffrey Homes Cine: Nicholas Musuraca Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Richard Webb, Steve Brodie, Virginia Huston, Paul Valentine, Dickie Moore, Ken Niles, Theresa Harris, Wallace Scott, John Kellogg.
Film noir is not generally a genre much associated with romance, so it’s perhaps a surprise to find prominent noirs listed in this countdown, and perhaps most surprising of all that this, one of the half-dozen or so films noirs that could be regarded as defining the genre, is one of them. Other noirs deal exquisitely with the obsessive face of love—The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and Double Indemnity (1944) spring instantly to mind (and is obsession truly romance?)—but Out of the Past manages…
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