Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
USA, 1984. Columbia Pictures, New Visions, Columbia-Delphi Productions. Screenplay by Eric Hughes, based on the screenplay Out Of The Past by Daniel Mainwaring, adapted from his novel. Cinematography by Donald E. Thorin. Produced by William S. Gilmore, Taylor Hackford. Music by Larry Carlton, Michel Colombier. Production Design by Richard Lawrence. Costume Design by Michael Kaplan. Film Editing by Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp. Academy Awards 1984. Golden Globe Awards 1984.
Ridiculously hyperglamourized remake of the 1947 film noir classic Out of the Past. Jeff Bridges steps in for Robert Mitchum as a football player who has just been fired from his team following a shoulder injury. In need of employment, he accepts money from his shady underworld friend James Woods to travel to Mexico and locate Woods’ girlfriend (Rachel Ward), whose mother also happens to own the team that Bridges was recently playing for (and who is played by Jane Greer, the ingenue in the original version). Bridges locates Ward and they fall in love, having steamy sex in Mayan temples and getting matching tans before having to make their way back to Los Angeles and face a series of dangerous plot twists. She goes back to Woods, who turns out to be setting our hero up to take the fall for his own misdeeds, forcing our hero to get himself out of so much bigger a mess than he originally thought he was flirting with. The sexy romance under palm trees in the hot sun is the most appealing aspect of this film, neither star ever looked better and their postcard-perfect lovemaking confirms the level of escapism that this film is intentionally indulging in. Even while accepting the fact that you are watching a heightened Hollywood thriller, though, there’s no denying that very little of the dialogue or narrative actually comes across as anything other than preposterous. The long preamble setting Bridges up in the world of football doesn’t provide adequate context to justify how long it takes to get the story going, and a good deal of revelations and changes in loyalty in the final act feel like you’re switching channels. As a celebration of Bridges looking superb in blazers and dress shirts, however, this is entertainment of the finest order.