Golden poison

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Golden poison
Original title Out of the past
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1947
length 97 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Jacques Tourneur
script Daniel Mainwaring ,
Frank Fenton ,
James M. Cain
production Warren Duff for
RKO Pictures
music Roy Webb
camera Nicholas Musuraca
cut Samuel E. Beetley

Out of the Past (Original title: Out of the Past ) is a in black and white twisted American film noir of Jacques Tourneur from the year 1947 . It is based on the novel Goldenes Gift ( Build My Gallows High ) by Geoffrey Homes, a pseudonym of the author Daniel Mainwaring .


Jeff Bailey is the owner of a gas station in the sleepy town of Bridgeport , California . He has a relationship with the local Ann Miller. When the seedy Joe Stephanos tracks him down in Bridgeport, Jeff catches up with his past. He tells Ann about the story, which is now rolled out in a flashback:

Jeff Bailey's real name is Jeff Markham, and he ran a private detective firm in New York with his partner Jack Fisher . The gang boss Whit Sterling hired him to find his runaway girlfriend Kathie. She shot Sterling and stole $ 40,000 from him . The trail led Jeff to Acapulco , Mexico , where he actually managed to track down Kathie. He fell in love with the young woman; the two decided to stay together and returned to the USA together. In San Francisco they started a new life. It was here that one day she found Jeff's former partner Fisher, who felt he had been cheated of the lost bonus. There was a fight between the two men, in the course of which Kathie shot Fisher. Jeff now recognized the real face of his girlfriend, who then fled while he hid Fisher's body and went into hiding in Bridgeport.

Joe Stephanos lets Jeff know that Sterling wants to see him. Jeff complies with the request and travels to Sterling's huge estate on Lake Tahoe . Jeff has to discover that Kathie has since returned to Sterling. Sterling is suspected of tax evasion and assigns Jeff to steal the incriminating documents from the possession of attorney Leonard Eels. In return, he wants to leave Jeff alone in the future. Mr. Eels' secretary Meta Carson, who actually works for Sterling, is supposed to help Jeff with the break-in. But Jeff finds out that Eels is about to be murdered and that Sterling wants to cast suspicion on him. Sterling had Kathie draft a letter accusing Jeff of murdering Fisher, which is supposed to serve as Jeff's murder motive. Jeff decides to warn Eels, but any help comes too late - Joe Stephanos had already murdered the lawyer. Jeff removes the body and takes Sterling's papers to blackmail him with. Then he returns to Bridgeport, where he hides fishing.

Kathie, meanwhile, continues to forge intrigues and, without Sterling's knowledge, brings Joe Stephanos to secretly follow the " deaf and dumb boy" - Jeff's young employee at the gas station - to Jeff's hiding place. Joe is already preparing to ambush Jeff, but he is discovered by the deaf and dumb boy and attacked with the fishing rod. Stephanos gets tangled in the fishing line and falls off a cliff to his death. Jeff informs Sterling about Stephanos' death and Kathie's double play. Sterling now wants to hand Kathie over to the police for the murder of Fisher, also because he only gets the attorney's documents through Jeff. Meanwhile, Kathie tries to persuade Jeff to flee with her. Apparently Jeff agrees, but he lets the police know about the planned escape. On his return to the property, he must discover that Sterling has since been murdered by Kathie. Jeff and Kathie escape from the crime scene in the car. As they approach a roadblock, Kathie realizes Jeff's betrayal and shoots him. A few seconds later, Kathie also dies in the hail of bullets from the police.

Jeff's lover Ann was always by his side despite the negative rumors and news about him. After Jeff's funeral, Ann asks the deaf and dumb boy if Jeff really wanted to run away with Kathie. The deaf-mute boy nods, although he knows better. While Ann drives off with her second admirer Jim, the deaf and mute boy nods with a smile at the gas station sign with Jeff's name on it.


Even before the actual novel Build My Gallows High by Daniel Mainwaring was published , RKO Pictures secured the rights after bidding with Warner Bros. Mainwaring was also hired for the script, who received the sole mention in the opening credits. However, as far as we know today, the authors James M. Cain and above all Frenk Fenton also had a significant share in the script. They are said to have revised large parts of Mainware's first draft, which was rejected as too weak. Initially, the RKO producers had Humphrey Bogart in view for the lead role, but Warner Brothers had a studio contract that did not want to borrow him. Pat O'Brien , John Garfield and Dick Powell were then in discussion for the lead role ; even the rather unknown Lex Barker took a test for the role. Only then was the young Robert Mitchum, who was not yet a top film star, accepted for the role. Mitchum's appearance as a laconic private detective defined his role type and many of his later screen characters. Kirk Douglas was loaned to Paramount Pictures to play Whit Sterling . For him it was only the second film and this one helped him to more villain roles in the next few years.

Edward Dmytryk was supposed to direct , but he was already busy with the British film So Well Remembered . In the summer of 1946, for example, the producers brought in the director Jacques Tourneur , who in the early 1940s had already brought the studio two surprising successes with the cheaply produced horror flicks Cat People and I Followed a Zombie . Tourneur was last working with cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca at Goldenes Gift .

The locations were widely distributed: San Francisco , furthermore the small villages of Bridgeport , Lake Sherwood and Sequit Point; the deserts of Nevada and California; various lakes such as Lake Tahoe and also the RKO Pictures film ranch in Encino . Additional background shoots were shot in Acapulco, Mexico, and New York City . After filming was finished, the producers, who were satisfied with the result, signed a new contract with the director Tourneur.

Out of the Past , filmed under the novel / working title Build My Gallows High , launched in the United States on November 13, 1947. In Germany, the film opened in German cinemas on May 14, 1954 . In December 1984 the film was shown again in Germany.


When it was released, Goldenes Gift received largely positive reviews, but as a production by the comparatively small studio RKO Pictures, it was completely ignored at the Oscars, for example . The film is now widely regarded as one of the best and most essential film noirs . At Rotten Tomatoes , the film has a rating of 97% from 32 reviews, with a very high rating of 8.9 out of 10 points.

“Well, as we say, it's very peppy and quite engaging played by a line-up that was well and cleverly directed by Jacques Torneur. Robert Mitchum is splendidly cheeky and self-assured as the tangled private detective, he consumes an astronomical number of cigarettes to represent his nonchalance. And Jean Greer is very slick as Delilah, Kirk Douglas is crisp as a big cheat and Richard Webb, Virginia Huston, Rhonda Fleming and Dickie Moore are vividly in other roles. If we only had a clue of what actually happened in the last half of the film, we might enjoy it more. As it is, the challenge is worth a try. "

- Bosley Crowther , New York Times, 1947

Out of the Past is a hard-boiled melodrama that is strong on characterization. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, it pays special attention to the development of moods, it creates a realistic taste, which is also emphasized by the lifelike scenes and the great camera work by Nicholas Musuraca. Mitchum gives a very strong portrayal of himself. Jane Greer as the baby-faced, charming killer is another credit for potential interest. Kirk Douglas, the gangster, is believable and Paul Valentine stands out in the role of the henchman. Rhonda Fleming can only be seen briefly, but effectively. "

- Variety , December 31, 1946

“A classic from the black series of the 1940s. Confused and with a melodramatic tone, but in terms of performance and atmosphere of extraordinary intensity. "

"The brilliantly dark black and white photography, an unpathetic narrative reduced to the essentials and Mitchum's inimitable lacony and scenic presence made this classic of film noir a cult film."

" Goldenes Poison [...] is rightly considered one of the masterpieces of 'film noir'. His play with light and shadow reflects the ambiguity of people and history and at the same time creates an almost dialectical tension in which the fear of the hidden collides with the compulsion to conceal. "

- Meinolf Zurhorst : Lexicon of crime films

Out of the Past is one of the greatest films noirs (…) The main role is played by Robert Mitchum, whose sad eyes and laconic voice, his presence as an aggressive man make him an archetypal noir actor. Mitchum and Douglas think [in the film] that the story is a competition of strength between the two of them when in fact both are just the instrument of a depraved woman. (Rating: four out of four stars) "


In 1991, Golden Poison was included in the National Film Registry of the American Library of Congress .


The German dubbed version of Golden Gift was created in 1954 by RKO Synchron in Berlin.

In the German synchronization was from Kathie the name Kitty and out whit the name Fred .

role actor German speaker
Jeff Bailey / Jeff Markham Robert Mitchum Horst Niendorf
Kathie Moffett Jane Greer Tilly Lauenstein
Whit sterling Kirk Douglas Ralph Lothar
Joe Stephanos Paul Valentine Peter Petersz
Jim, Ann's admirer Richard Webb Heinz Giese
Jack Fisher Steve Brodie Herbert Stass
Leonard Eels, lawyer Ken Niles Siegfried Schürenberg
croupier Manuel Paris Erich Poremski
Jose Rodriguez Tony Roux Erich Poremski
Taxi driver Petey Wallace Scott Clemens Hasse
Edith Leonard, Kathie's maid Theresa Harris Marianne Prenzel
Edith's companion Caleb Peterson Toni Herbert


Taylor Hackford made a remake based on the script of Golden Poison in 1984 under the title Against Every Chance . Two actors from the original film also played in it: Jane Greer in a supporting role, the mother of her original character, and Paul Valentine in a small appearance as a councilor.

DVD release

  • Golden Gift , Arthaus, Leipzig 2011, 97 min.


  • Geoffrey Homes (d. I. Daniel Mainwaring): Goldenes Gift (original title Build My Gallows High ), Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin 1989, 157 p., ISBN 3-548-10604-8

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Out of the Past (1947) - Articles. In: Turner Classic Movies , accessed September 3, 2017 .
  2. ^ Out of the past. In: American Film Institute , accessed September 3, 2017 .
  3. Golden Poison in the Internet Movie Database .
  4. a b Golden Poison. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed September 3, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. Out of the Past at Rotten Tomatoes (English)Template: Rotten Tomatoes / Maintenance / Wikidata designation different from the set name
  6. ^ Review in the New York Times
  7. Critique in Variety
  8. Golden Gift on, accessed on August 9, 2012.
  9. ^ Meinolf Zurhorst : Lexikon des Kriminalfilms , Heyne, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-453-05210-2 , p. 144.
  10. Roger Ebert on Out of the Past
  11. ^ Out of the past. In: Library of Congress , accessed September 3, 2017 .