Out of the Past


Against All Odds


SPOILERS for both movies:

Out of the Past is considered one of the five best examples of American film noir, in the same league as The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. Against All Odds was an officially acknowledged remake, although it has only the most tenuous connection to its source material.

The two films have the following basic plot elements in common:

A bad guy exploits a good guy who made some mistakes in the past and has a secret that must remain hidden. The baddie says that the good guy will "square accounts" if he agrees to do one last job. The assignment is to track down the baddie's ex-girlfriend, who took off with a pile of loot, not before leaving a near-fatal wound in her former lover. The baddie swears he will not hurt the woman and doesn't really care about the money. He just wants her back. Under those conditions, the good guy, who is "down on his luck" anyway, agrees to do to the job.

The good guy finds it hard to believe that a woman could inspire such feelings in a hardened criminal until he tracks the dame to Mexico and takes a gander at her, whereupon he not only understands why a guy might have to have her back, but promptly falls in love with her himself. He then proceeds to double-cross the criminal and joins the girlfriend in her fugitive life. Needless to say this can't work out well. The criminal sends another guy after the couple. That guy ends up dead. Bodies start to pile up, and the femme fatale always seems to be the one holding the trigger.

Remakes rarely work out, and few remakes are less promising than a glitzy Hollywood reworking of a classic B&W noir. It turned out about as expected. The problem with Against All Odds was that it softened almost everything that made Out of the Past such a fascinating movie to begin with.

* The most important change in the remake is that the femme fatale has been given legitimate excuses for her actions. In Out of the Past, another character says of her, "She can't be all bad, nobody is." The good guy replies, "Yeah, that's true, but she comes the closest." That was basically the entire point of the film. When the baddie sends another guy to track down the fugitive couple, the sassy dame whips out her roscoe and calmly blows the guy away. Later on, she blows the baddie away. By the end of the movie, she has even pumped some hot lead into our hero. The remake changes her from a cold, scheming monster into a spoiled rich girl. She still always seems to be the one pulling the trigger in the remake, but she has a justification. In her stead, we might do the same. She does not shoot our hero at the end. She shows genuine love for the good guy, and even shows regard and compassion for the baddie she once loved. A lot of her problems stem from her uber-bitch of a mother. The femme fatale character in Out of the Past, the closest of anyone to all bad, has been transformed into a sympathetic character in Against All Odds, a woman who could not only be the object of any man's lust, but could be truly loved as well.

* The tragic denouement has been eliminated. Out of the Past pulls no punches. The good guy turns himself and the femme fatale over to the cops. When she realizes she has been double-crossed, she shoots him dead. The cops then blow her away with machine guns. At the end of Against All Odds, the couple are separated by the scheming mother, but we know that they are still in love and although they cannot be together immediately, we are led to believe they will eventually find happiness as a couple some day. The ending is sad, but not tragic. The tone of the ending has undergone a metamorphosis from Hamlet to The Last American Virgin.

* The quirky minor characters have been whitewashed. Out of the Past includes a bevy of oddball noir characters. The hero's best friend, for example, is a compassionate deaf-mute. The baddie's henchman is a loveable, congenial, handsome murderer. (He'd be our favorite character if we did not know what he was up to off-screen.) The second detective sent to track down the couple is a total weasel. These characters have been eliminated or replaced with stock movie figures with as little personality as possible.

* The sparkling dialogue is gone. That's really what makes 40s-era noir so much fun for me. The anti-hero's mixture of idealism and defeatism. The wisecracks. I grant that such repartee would seem somewhat out of place in a 1984 movie, but the problem is that one of the film's most entertaining elements has been replaced with routine conversations.

* Robert Mitchum's world-weary protagonist has been replaced with a handsome, somewhat naive young Jeff Bridges. The Dude even sheds a tear or two! Can you imagine Mitchum tearing up? Hell, Mitchum knew all along that he was getting hosed by a bad-ass broad, and didn't care. When she says, "I didn't take the money, Joe. You believe me, don't you?", he replies, as he grabs for her body,  "Baby, I don't care." On the other hand, Bridges was in love. I don't blame Bridges for the character's weakness. He did what he was asked to do. I like Jeff very much, and I believe he could have delivered a character appropriate for a proper remake of Out of the Past, if he had been asked to do so. The script for Against All Odds never required him to  do that.

There are so many other changes that you might not even realize that the 1984 film was supposed to be a remake of the earlier classic unless you watch the two films back-to-back as I did, but the other changes were all fine in context, given 37 years of interim modernization.

Some elements of Against All Odds are interesting:

* James Woods brings the same kind of complexity to the baddie role that Kirk Douglas brought to the original. The characters are not identical, but in both cases they are not figures of cartoon evil. Douglas was downright charming in a sinister way, and Woods was revealed to have some genuine tender feelings.

* Two actors from Out of the Past appear in Against All Odds.

  • Jane Greer, who played the cold-hearted femme fatale in the original, played the cold-hearted mother of a victimized femme fatale in the remake. (Thus allowing the actual femme to be less fatale.) Greer's role in Against All Odds was significant, and did not exist in the first film.
  • Paul Valentine, who played the smiling glad-handing henchman in the original film, played a smiling glad-handing councilman (pretty much of a cameo) in Against All Odds.

* Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges had some chemistry, and were both beautiful people with beautiful bodies, so the sex and other romantic scenes in Against All Odds have sizzle. The beautiful Ward was quite the cover girl back around 1983-1984 with this film and a highly publicized mini-series called The Thorn Birds. Her career didn't live up to its early promise, but she continues to work, and her marriage to Bryan Brown has endured for nearly a quarter of a century.

* The ending kinda gets to me. What can ya say?

Overall grades on our system:

Out of the Past is a C+. It was neither an acclaimed film (no Oscar nominations) nor a great box office success in its time, but its reputation grew steadily over the years and it is now considered a noir classic. In fact, it is in the all-time Top 250 at IMDb, and is included in Roger Ebert's "Great Films of the Past." Its reputation is enhanced by the fact that some of its actors, who were merely RKO contract players or struggling newcomers at the time, became major Hollywood icons, particularly Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum. Part of the fun of watching Out of the Past is to see their iconic selves, only younger. It was only Kirk's second movie role, and it represented Mitchum's first real chance to carry a picture. In both cases they established the template for characters they would play all their lives: Mitchum's laconic, lumbering, indifferent, sleepy-eyed antihero; and Kirk's cocky, energetic, athletic, crackly-voiced charmer.

Against All Odds is a C-. I like the movie in some ways, but I like it better as a stand-alone example of a doomed romance, not as a remake of Out of the Past. While not without merit, it is missing most of the elements that made Out of the Past grow in stature over the years. 

Here are some film clips of the rather disappointing level of Rachel Ward nudity in the film. I find all three of the scenes very sexy, but it's more tease than anything else.

Here is a deleted scene in which Rachel Ward actually did full frontal nudity. Unfortunately, it was miles from the camera and behind some trees. The only reason I know it is really Rachel is because the director says so in his commentary.

I may do some collages tomorrow. I'm not sure if the quality merits it.




* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

* White asterisk: expanded format.

* Blue asterisk: not mine.

No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








Perfectly Legal



Perfectly Legal is an example of couples erotica centering on a brilliant attorney (Lauren Hays) who is a workaholic, to the point of ruining her romantic relationships. She is also an idealist and a champion of the underdog, and therefore mostly broke, since she would rather pursue justice than make money. To such a lawyer, Allison Thomas-Miller presents the perfect client. Her ex-lover has written a best selling book and a companion video tape about lovemaking, but she claims she is the actual author, and that he stole her diary and published her work under his name. This is Hays' sort of case, and it comes with a handsome retainer, so she signs on. She finds herself with nearly no evidence, and is up against the single, handsome, rich, and brilliant Rafe Urquhart, who has shown a romantic interest in her even before the case. Her job is made more difficult when her opponent's  assistant seduces her assistant, and gets an advance look at everything she prepares for the case.

Grade: C+ (Highly recommended for genre fans.)

The story is interesting -- more so if you like courtroom drama; the performances are good; the nudity is excellent; and some of the sex scenes sizzle.

Ignore the IMDb score of 3.5. Not only is this an unappreciated genre at that site, but this rating seems to be based on an 89 minute TV version. The English language DVD available from RLDVDs.com is the full 100 minute version. Click on the image below for all the info.


Perfectly Legal (2002)

All but one of the women in the film do full frontal and rear nudity. The exception is Monique Parent, who keeps her clothes on. The nudity is from Lauren Hays, Belinda Gavin, Andrea Saint James, Allison Thomas-Miller, Stephanie Swift and Beverly Lynne.


Lauren Hays



Belinda Gavin



Andrea Saint James



Allison Thomas-Miller



Stephanie Swift



Beverly Lynne.










With yesterday being a holiday we did not get much done, but we did take a quick Time Machine trip back to 1982 for "Porky's". This one is of course known for it's hole in the wall shower scene, so here's Kaki Hunter (she's under the shower head on the right) with a bunch of unknown stark naked lovelies.



A very young Kim Cattrall shows a flash of "Muff"

Pat Lee plays a stripper letting her boobs flop out of her top.






Notes and collages

The Getaway

Sally Struthers








Latin Lover

More from the erotic soap opera from Latin America.



Liliana Mas



Malu Costa



Paola Aravena



Natalia Villaveces



Silvia Caballero









A+ (Amas)


An example of the new independent Spanish cinema, A+ consists of three different stories from three different genres with quite different styles. The framing device is that all three sets of characters attend a musical show called "A+."

The first story tells us about a young couple of drug dealers that get themselves in serious trouble with local mafia and have to run away from home almost naked, with two packages of cocaine in their hands.

The second one is a farce featuring comedians Fernando Ramallo and Eloi Yebra as two young guys who ride to A+ in a flimsy sidecar.

The third story is a moving drama about generational miscommunication between a father and daughter who attend A+ together.

Elvira Herreria








Film clips of Maribel Verdu in Huevos de Oro


Jessica Biel on the set of that Chuck and Larry movie. No nudity. Just Jessica Biel being sexy without even trying.
Maria Conchita Alonso, slight see-through. Still attractive at 50.
Eva Longoria in a bikini

Maribel Verdu in The Other Side of the Tunnel

Karen Black in Killing Heat
Karen Black in Separate Ways






The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...

Researchers from Indiana University studied speed daters in Germany to find what they were looking for. A researcher said women know what they can get and aim for men who are about as attractive as themselves.  They didn't overshoot by picking men who were more attractive because the man might run off with someone hotter.

*  This study came as news to nobody except Jennifer Aniston. 

Some officials in Hugo Chavez's Venezuelan government have proposed banning parents from saddling their children with names that "expose them to ridicule, are extravagant or difficult to pronounce."  For instance, there are two Venezuelans named "Superman" on the voter rolls, and they sparked a fraud inquiry until it was discovered that really was their name.  The plan would also ban ridiculous spellings, such as "Jhonny" for "Johnny," and create a list of about 100 traditional names parents could view "as a reference."    

*  99 names for girls, and for boys just "Hugo." 

Sonya Thomas, who weighs 105 pounds and has already set world records by eating 37 hot dogs, 35 bratwursts, 11 pounds of cheesecake and 44 lobsters, beat 12 huge men to win the national Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York.  She ate 173 buffalo wings in 12 minutes

* Before she got married, she'd just order 53 salads

* The previous record of eating 43 lobsters was set by a girl I went
out with ONE time.