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3.7
131 Ratings

Pitfall

Directed by André De Toth
United States, 1948
Crime, Drama, Film noir

Synopsis

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.

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Pitfall Directed by André De Toth

Critics reviews

As rote as it sounds, “Pitfall” is notable for its subtle subversion of genre. The Los Angeles locations exude dull domesticity. Even the cocktail lounge of temptation is pointedly drab. De Toth’s most dynamic camera placement involves the reception area of the prison where Scott’s felonious beau (Bryon Barr) sits obsessing over her fidelity.
February 12, 2016
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Powell’s unsentimental performance is the film’s boldest stroke. Most noir heroes encourage the audience to identify with their hungers, vicariously enjoying sex with rarefied women, but Powell establishes John as a bitter mediocrity who spits his lines out in short, direct, nearly staccato bursts. There’s longing and despair underneath that bitterness, but one has to look long and hard at John to see them.
November 18, 2015
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It’s the kind of movie where everyone has their reasons, and everyone gets destroyed. The ending’s unresolved, and surprisingly grown-up; a film that makes the noir genre look like immature misogynistic fantasy, and I like the noir genre.
March 01, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Pitfall

    4.2 Solid Film Noir by Andre De Toth (Crime Wave). The acting isn't great here, although Raymond Burr is suitably detestable and Lizabeth Scott is a dish and a half. And some of the Mid-Century Hollywood conventions...did the Hayes Code require that married couples have separate twin beds? So dumb. But whatever; this film's got momentum and never skips a beat.

  • mjgildea's rating of the film Pitfall

    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.

  • Dave's rating of the film Pitfall

    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.

  • ZYNAB's rating of the film Pitfall

    lizabeth scott didn't deserve all that...i'm going to read the book and hope she fares better and the men fare worse in it!

  • Jason's rating of the film Pitfall

    PITFALL sets you up to expect it to slip nice and easy into pat noir categorization. But this, of course, is De Toth, and he has a habit of pulling rugs out from underneath you w/ a kind of cavalier lack of fanfare. This is another efficient De Toth masterpiece in which human beings with dimensions operate in a world of consequences. Lizabeth Scott plays the bombshell, but it's she who is destroyed by men's bullshit.

  • SpacePirate's rating of the film Pitfall

    Pitfall is a blast. What an unsung little gem. I always love catching a great noir I havent seen yet. Scott and Powell have both been in several top notch noirs, but this may be the best either were in (although Murder My Sweet is pretty damned perfect). Throw in Burr as a creepy stalker ex cop and you have a film thats a bit Double Indemnity meets...well Im not sure off hand. Oh well, great stuff. 4.5 stars

  • Tendoza's rating of the film Pitfall

    Vertically built frames, with lots of horizontal lines! De Toth's direction is economic, but the script is pretty bad, squandering themes of corrupted domesticity with poor dialogue and characterizations. Powell also turns in a pretty weak lead performance, makes me wish the flick was about Burr.

  • Basqueville's rating of the film Pitfall

    Un assureur s'ennuie dans la routine de son existence, jusqu'au jour où il rencontre la femme d'un homme qui purge une peine de prison pour des vols qu'il a commis pour elle. Les problèmes commencent... L'archétype réussi de l'histoire d'une vie ordinaire qui bascule, et qui ne sera plus jamais la même. Structure: équilibre/ monotonie - frisson de la nouveauté/crise/lutte pour les siens - retour à la normale .

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