Copyright ©2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Is there a movie you never get tired of, one, you know, where you can practically recite every line by heart? Well, over the next few months, we're going to ask the people who make movies about those films that shaped who they are today.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LAWRENCE KASDAN: My name is Lawrence Kasdan. I'm a movie director, screenwriter and producer. And the movie I've seen a million times is "Out of the Past," directed by Jacques Tourneur, starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. I've probably seen it eight or nine times. It is a film noir, and one of the best ever made. Every scene has got great things in it. It's very funny, very wised up in the manner of film noir.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

ROBERT MITCHUM: (as Jeff) Hello, Marny.

MARY FIELD: (as Marny) Well, look who's back.

MITCHUM: You die your hair?

FIELD: Why?

MITCHUM: I always keep thinking of you as a blonde.

FIELD: For all the thinking you do about me, I could be bald-headed.

KASDAN: The Robert Mitchum character is a former private eye who's been involved with some ugly things and had straightened out and now runs a gas station in a small California town. And the beginning of the movie is all sunlit and cheerful.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KASDAN: But as you get deeper into the story, you see his history, and that's a very dark, complicated history. And he becomes involved with a beautiful woman, with Jane Greer making her debut.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

JANE GREER: (as Kathie) You know, you're a curious man.

MITCHUM: (as Jeff) You're going to make every guy you meet a little bit curious.

GREER: That's not what I mean. You don't ask questions. You don't even ask me what my name is.

MITCHUM: All right. What's your name?

GREER: Kathie.

MITCHUM: I like it.

KASDAN: She's the girlfriend of Kirk Douglas. Kirk Douglas hires Robert Mitchum to find Jane Greer, who has taken off with some of his money.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

KIRK DOUGLAS: (as Whit) She ran out on me with 40,000 bucks. I want her back - all the money.

KASDAN: And Mitchum finds her, falls in love with her, tries to run away with her, gets caught. And they get involved in a terrible scheme, and then they're separated. There's one amazing scene when he is reunited with Jane Greer, who has totally betrayed him.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as character) You remember Kathie, don't you?

MITCHUM: (as Jeff) Yeah, I remember Kathie.

KASDAN: She's gone back to Kirk Douglas. Now, she comes in secretly to talk to Robert Mitchum, and he's totally disgusted by her presence, doesn't believe a word she says. And there's bitter dialogue that I thought was some of the greatest ever written.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

GREER: (as Kathie) Jeff, I've missed you. I've wondered about you, prayed you'd understand.

KASDAN: And he looks at her with sick cynicism and weariness, and he says...

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

MITCHUM: (as Jeff) You prayed, Kathie?

KASDAN: She continues to try to convince him, and he says...

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

MITCHUM: (as Jeff) Well, just get out, will you? I have to sleep in this room.

KASDAN: Get out of here. I have to sleep in this room.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "OUT OF THE PAST")

MITCHUM: (as Jeff) Just leave it where it all is. Get out.

KASDAN: Pretty tough stuff. The whole language of the underworld and the understanding that the characters have of each other, you feel like you're being led into a secret world.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RAZ: That's writer and director Lawrence Kasdan, best known for "The Big Chill," talking about the movie that changed his life, "Out of the Past." Kasdan's new film, "Darling Companion," is in theaters now.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.