John Forbes is a family man who’s tired of the 9 to 5 humdrum of his job an insurance company executive. Life gets a little more exciting for him when he calls upon femme fatale Mona Stevens. Her boyfriend has robbed a store insured by Forbes’ company and has showered her with gifts using the loot. Forbes comes to collect the ill-gotten gifts, but the boyfriend is in jail, and Forbes falls hard for Mona and begins an affair. The only problem is that MacDonald, a private dick who freelances for the insurance company, has had his eyes on Mona first. The obsessed MacDonald turns the soon-to-be-released boyfriend against Forbes. —IMDb
André de Toth (May 15, circa 1912 – October 27, 2002) was a Hungarian-American filmmaker, born and raised in Makó, Csongrád, Kingdom of Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire. He directed the 3-D film House of Wax, despite being unable to see in 3-D himself, having lost an eye at an early age. He is known for his gritty B movies in the western and crime genres.
Born ca. 1912 as Sâsvári Farkasfalvi Tóthfalusi Tóth Endre Antal Mihály, he earned a degree in law from the Royal Hungarian University in the early 1930s. He garnered acclaim for plays written as a college student, acquiring the mentorship of Ferenc Molnár and becoming part of the theater scene in Budapest. From that involvement he segued to the film industry and worked as a writer, assistant director, editor and sometime actor. In 1939 he directed five films just before war began in Europe. Several of these pictures received significant release in the Hungarian communities in the United States. De Toth went to England, spent… read more
Pitfall is the reason I sit through any movie that even claims to have noir-like tendencies. For as many weak noir imitators as I've seen (after making it through the greats) I'll find one such as Pitfall that keeps me searching through the wreckage. Pitfall looks like a noir even if it doesn't entirely act it (sorry, despite the ending Lizabeth Scott was too kind to be a femme fatale) but is S O worth the watch.
At first you could say that Pitfall's main theme is the most politically and morally correct theme possible for a film shot in the late 40's. A married man is bored of his everyday-life, meets a sexy woman, cheats on his wife, feels terribly guilty about it, is punished by the Divine justice (which is totally in line with the Code Hays by the way) and finally implores his wife to take him back. Now, if I tell you that his mistress is NOT your typicable bad girl but feels sorry for the cheating husband, you'll understand why Pitfall is considered, by the rare ones who've seen this little pearl, as one of the best film noir ever released. Highly recommended.
This film needs a DVD release. The direction from de Toth and cinematography from Harry Wilds are far from groundbreaking. On the whole, de Toth’s direction has a detached feel to it. He puts the camera in the best place to take in the action and then just lets things unfold. It works though, because the three lead performances come close to being career bests. In my top 20 for all time noirs. It's that good.
"It can sometimes feel like Toronto is Michael Snow's city, and the rest of us are merely living in it," writes Jason Anderson for Artforum
Above: Dick Powell in André de Toth's 1948 film Pitfall. Andrew Sarris's blurb on André de Toth in The American Cinema contains a hint about