Pitfall (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray)

Director - Andre De Toth

Cast - Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott

Country of Origin - U.S.

Discs - 1

Distributor - Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Reviewer - David Steigman

Date - 12/3/15

The Film (4 /5)

What a great film! Pitfall is one of those under the radar gems that is just a dynamic Film Noir. Dick Powell (Murder My Sweet) stars as John Forbes, an insurance investigator who gets involved with Lizabeth Scott (Too Late for Tears, Dead Reckoning) playing Mona Stevens.  No, it’s not that simple, it’s a Noir after all!  Lizabeth Scott happens to be married to a man who is doing time in jail; and still worse she is being harassed by big Raymond Burr (Godzilla 1985, Gojira, The Blue Dahlia) who basically is stalking her, forces himself on her, despite her constantly tell him that she’s not interested. Burr, no willing to accept the word no and perhaps not realizing that there are about 2 billion females in the universe,  creates a scheme to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ with Scott’s husband who gets out of jail and Powell by pitting them against each other.  The plan works, and with both out of the way, Burr makes his move on Scott, who takes matters into her own hands.  Burr plays such a sleaze in this; it makes me glad there are sexual harassment laws because he wouldn’t get away with his shenanigans in this movie. Imagine coming home from work and there is a man that you are not fond of sitting in a chair waiting for you. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea to put locks on the doors.

Why the name Pitfall? Simply because Dick Powell has a very content married life and he ruins it. He decides to get involved with a married woman which ultimately leads to his downfall, i.e. Pitfall. Jane Wyatt plays the unaware wife Sue Forbes, while their son happens to be little Jimmy Hunt from the great 1953 science fiction classic, Invaders from Mars.

Audio/Video (4.5/5)

Pitfall gets a surprising but most welcome blu ray release, thanks to Kino Lorber and this blu ray release is a really good presentation. UCLA and the Film Foundation provided the master for this which, according to other sources, had the best materials available.  Given a 1080p, MPEG 4 AVC encode, Pitfall’s image quality looks really sharp. Blacks are solid, good contrast overall.  It’s a clean image overall, although there are a few scenes where the image has some scratches or marks but overall this is a really impressive full screen transfer.

The audio quality is the usual Kino DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0 and as usual, there are no real audio issues. There are no subtitles for this release.

Extras (2.5/5)

There are two extras; we get an audio commentary by Eddie Muller and trailers for A Bullet for Joey and He Ran All the Way

Overall (4.5/5)

Pitfall with its great story and cast is an excellent film Noir, equal to or even surpassing some of Kino Lorbers other Film Noir titles such as He Ran All the Way and Storm Fear. This movie really does pack a punch. An excellent transfer along with a commentary to boot makes this one fine release. Recommended !