Archive for February 24th, 2011

Director: Andre De Toth

Producer: Samuel Bischoff

Screenwriter: Karl Kamb, Andre De Toth, and William Bowers

Cinematographer: Harry J. Wild

Studio: United Artists 1948

Main Acting: Dick Powell and Lizabeth Scott

It’s past midnight and I was getting ready to post George Cukor’s Gaslight as my number 43 on the film noir countdown. As I write below, I have serious reservations about including this movie on the list. At this late hour, I decided to place Pitfall here as a last minute replacement. I regret not being able to write in detail about De Toth’s wonderful 1948 picture starring Dick Powell. Similar to I Walk Alone, Pitfall deserves a legit DVD/Blu Ray release and is a great noir that screams out for more recognition. I will allow my initial pick to be read as I explicitly describe why I feel strongly to have it removed from consideration. After some deliberation, Gaslight is simply not film noir in my eyes. To be honest, Pitfall is probably the overall better film anyway.

Dave Hicks included Pitfall in his own noir countdown almost a year ago. He had the De Toth film coming in at #13. The movie deals with John Forbes (played by Dick Powell), an insurance agent trying to find some excitement in his boring middle class life. He sparks a romance with model Mona Stevens (played by Lizabeth Scott) who happens to be the girlfriend of a imprisoned criminal that Forbes has been assigned the task of repossessing various expensive items from. Forbes ends up lying on his reports, falsifying what Mona has in her ownership (primarily a speedboat) and gets involved in a relationship that sends his envious private investigator colleague MacDonald (Raymond Burr) into a jealous frenzy. The couple is increasingly stalked and threatened by MacDonald. Forbes must now wade his way through various entanglements that could cost him not only his marriage but even his life. (more…)

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