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Pitfall (1948)

Dick Powell , Jane Wyatt , Andre de Toth  |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Pitfall (1948)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Dick Powell, Jane Wyatt, Lizabeth Scott, Raymond Burr
  • Directors: Andre de Toth
  • Writers: Jay Dratler, Karl Kamb
  • Producers: Samuel Bischoff
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Synergy Ent
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0051WTN32
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,320 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A film noire about an insurance salesman who gets himself in a messy situation through his involvement with another woman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chilling movie, lousy transfer June 3, 2011
By Roochak
"Pitfall" is the bleak, beautiful tragedy of a man who makes one mistake, and watches his life spiral out of control as a consequence. I'll forgo a plot synopsis (earlier reviewers have that covered) and merely note that the print-on-demand Synergy Entertainment DVD is a lousy transfer of a terrific movie. The image on this disc is faded and slightly blurred from beginning to end -- for viewers of a certain age, it's like catching this picture, with uncertain reception, on a local TV station's late, late show (back when there were things on late night TV besides infomercials). The sound, though, seems fine.

In the absence of any other available DVD transfers of this movie, this disc will do. It'll have to.
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Title For A Fine Film August 1, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Although she appeared in over twenty films before her career was abruptly halted because of rumors surrounding her lesbian private life, Lizabeth Scott is best remembered for her steamy roles in noir films. Scott hits the mark in the 1948 picture Pitfall as Mona Stevens, a seductive siren who charms a conservative insurance investigator ( Dick Powell) into an affair. Powell as John Forbes, the married suburbanite bored with the restricting bonds of middle class conformity, is drawn into a web of deception that begins when he alters an insurance report benefitting Mona. Forbes then begins an affair with Mona. The affair for Forbes serves as a sexual escape from his regimented life as husband, father, and loyal employee. For Mona, the affair might bring her happiness as a future wife and mother. Mona only has convict Bill Smiley ( Byron Barr) to wait for as his parole date draws near. To compound her problems, a psychotic, overweight, private investigator ( Raymond Burr) is stalking her. Forbes and Mona's lives cross for a brief interlude, but the events that emerge as a result of their dalliance shape into classic noir cinema. Deception, revenge, murder-all frequent vistors to the frames of noir, appear as lessons to those that dare play with fire. Pitfall is a solid film that warrants attention.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Father didn't know best in this ironic noir May 10, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Before he became TV's teddy-bear Perry Mason, Raymond Burr played the heaviest of heavies (and, as was the case with Laird Cregar, his heft led him to be cast in swinish parts in bitter films; The Blue Gardenia and Rear Window are examples). He becomes the nemesis of Dick Powell, a happily married insurance functionary who falls hard for Lizabeth Scott when he repossesses goodies her jailbird boyfriend wooed her with. Unfortunately, Burr, as an investigator retained by Powell's firm, falls for Scott even harder -- he's what we now call a stalker -- and finds out about the illicit dalliance. Great nastiness ensues. By no stretch of the imagination is this film a ringing defense of the institution of marriage; its supposedly "happy" ending is congealed in irony. Director Andre DeToth (who did only one other film noir, Crime Wave in 1954) shows a real flair for the style and narrative of the cycle. The Pitfall is an overlooked and underrated film.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Improved Over Synergy Release December 6, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ok, the Film Chest release isn't exactly pristine, but it is an improvement over the Synergy release. The source material just wasn't in that great a condition--which is probably why it took so long for this film to come to DVD. Anyway, it is quite watchable and is in fact a great movie. With Raymond Burr (who steals the movie in a very menacing fashion) along with Dick Powell and film noir diva Lizabeth Scott---how can you go wrong?
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Hardboiled Noir! June 5, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Now here is a serious noir film! The cast features Dick Powell, Jane Wyatt, Raymond Burr and Lizabeth Scott. Powell is an L.A. insurance man, slowly becoming bored with his predictable suburban lifestyle. His wife is Jane Wyatt, the perfect 40s/50s homemaker. Trouble brews when Powell hires a smarmy P.I. (Burr) to investigate a theft of property. This is long before his role of Perry Mason. Burr gets the perpetrator (Byron Barr) arrested. Powell visits Barr s girlfriend to wrap things up and reclaim the remaining goods. But this is no ordinary lady! This is the classic noir good girl/bad girl-Lizabeth Scott. The two have the requisite noir affair, even though Barr is her supposed boyfriend! The plot thickener is that P.I. Burr also is interested in Scott, leaving the 3 male leads pining for the same girl! The by now obvious villain, Burr, visits boyfriend Barr in the slammer, teasing him with tales of Powell and Scott. Matters intensify more when Burr pays Barr's bail and gets him drunk enough to try to kill Powell. Good girl Scott phones Powell to warn him. In the deadly showdown, Powell kills the boyfriend. LAPD presses no charges. This reviewer won t reveal the resolution of The Pitfall but at this point Burr and Scott are still standing. Most viewers may side with Scott but fate does not exactly smile on either. There is one more dead body and one more live one on the way to San Quentin. The film fades out after Powell has confessed all to the wife. She stands by him in the true 40s/50s tradition but allows that things will never be the same again. One doesn t know who to feel sorriest for, the dead characters, the one on the way to the Big House or Powell-who will have to face his wife every morning for the rest of his life while still trapped in his hum drum middle class life. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Noire Tragedy
Raymond Burr...does anyone do "creepy psycho" better? John Forbes (Dick Powell), insurance investigator, hired P.I. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Phyllis Le Chat
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
never ordered
Published 23 days ago by aland
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Noir
A fine example of Film Noir from the late Forties. Leads Dick Powell & Lizabeth Scott are wonderful. Read more
Published 29 days ago by The Mighty Tyrone
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
There's no "bad" Film Noir.
Published 1 month ago by Paz
5.0 out of 5 stars Boredom in suburbia
Boredom in suburbia can lead to more excitement than you can handle. I just heard Lisbeth Scott liked this film.
Published 1 month ago by James A. Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love Dick Powell in any movie that he does as always!
Published 1 month ago by Believer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not...quite....
This 1948 film, produced by United Artists and directed by André (HOUSE OF WAX) de Toth, boasts a strong cast: Jane Wyatt as the weary housewife, Dick Powell as her bored... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Allen Smalling
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
If you like Powell and SCOTT you probably will enjoin this movie otherwise you should pass
Published 2 months ago by Larry Snider
3.0 out of 5 stars it was good, i hate to raymond burr play the heavy ...
it was good, i hate to raymond burr play the heavy because I liked him so much in perry mason
Published 2 months ago by kathy eldridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Someone is Watching
Interesting film noir with good performances..
Published 2 months ago by Tom Ramon
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