Pitfall - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pitfall Reviews

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½ May 30, 2017
This family drama about a man who is bored with his routine, but comes to appreciate it only when he gets embroiled into a crazy affair. It moves a bit slow for me. The main character should feel as though he is the luckiest man in the world at the end, but instead he is in a world of self pity and almost ruins the family he has built. The acting was good and the only thing that kept my attention. It felt almost realistic.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2016
Fairly good drama about the perils of infidelity. A bored, middle class, married man with a child falls for a jailed crook's girlfriend. Things get more complicated when the woman is stalked by another suitor who tries to frame her into dating him. Performances by the three leads are all excellent,Dick Powell as the adulterer, Lizabeth Scott as the femme fatale and Raymond Burr as the scorned man. Film's conclusion suffers from a didactic conclusion, no doubt influenced by the censor board at the time. Recommended for noir fans.
May 22, 2016
awesome noir with 1 of my fave gals of noir, lizabeth scott how this differs from most noirs as it is set in suburbia not some big city or other urban setting.
½ June 9, 2015
Post-War suburban boredom leads to infidelity and murder. Jane Wyatt and Raymond Burr foreshadow future roles. Brilliant cast and a tight script make this a lost noir classic. Worth seeking out.
August 25, 2014
Burr truly menacing, a stalker before stalker movies. Liz Scott very sympathetic ---not the Stanwick femme fatale.
½ May 19, 2014
Pitfall (1948)

I'm a big fan of the non-musical Dick Powell movies. But Pitfall isn't one of my favorites, but maybe you'll like it. This one is those typical film noirs where the protagonist is caught in a trap (usually of his own making). This one features a very young Raymond Burr (from Perry Mason) and Jane Wyatt (from Father Knows Best).

John Forbes (Powell) is a bored suburbanite. He feels that he's in a rut, despite being an insurance adjuster/investigator in Los Angeles, and married to a very hot wife, Sue (Wyatt). Then one of his private detectives, MacDonald (Burr) brings a report about a model, Mona Stevens (Lizabeth Scott) who is the fiancée of the guy, Bill Smiley (Byron Barr) who stole from the insurance company and is doing time in jail.

Mac isn't hiding the fact that he has the hots for Mona and that he's very serious about her. John tells him to pursue her on his own time. John heads over to Mona's apartment to collect any money or gifts that Smiley may have given her. Mona doesn't take to John's taking her valuables, including her engagement ring.

Mona gives John hell for his callousness and John takes it to heart. Even tries, to let her keep her beloved speed boat, until Mac turns this item in also. There is even a "Fade to Black" moment between John and Mona.

Mac is obsessed with Mona, stalking both of them as well as egging on poor Smiley from jail. Things will come to a head with all of them.
September 25, 2013
I would have given this film at least 4 1/2 stars if it weren't for all of the technical flaws. The screenplay wasn't bad and the acting was good. There was some great chemistry between Lizabeth Scott and Dick Powell. Really, though, I have to say that Raymond Burr made this a movie worth watching. He was excellent in the sinister role of McDonald; he was perfect as the creepy stalker. I think this obscure gem is worth your time if you can overlook the subpar mise en cine, the mediocre cinematography, and the poor special fx.
½ September 16, 2013
Solid bit of film noir has a fairly risqué set-up that I'm surprised got past the production code. Dick Powell has an extramarital affair with Lizabeth Scott and is then sucked into something of a downward spiral involving Scott's jailbird ex-boyfriend. Jane Wyatt plays Powell's wife. What makes this film interesting is that the Hollywood production code allowed extramarital affairs for villains who were punished, but never for the hero of the film. The story goes that the film was not going t one allowed to go into production because of this story element, so the studio invited to execs from the production code office and then also invited their mistresses. The film was then allowed to be made. André De Toth directed.
March 4, 2013
De Toth's subversive look at the organization man gone astray--Powell protects Scott from Burr while Barr waits to get out of jail!!
August 18, 2012
Nicely done melodramatic noir from Andre De Toth
April 24, 2012
Noirish melodrama, worthwhile for Powell's disillusioned insurance man, depressed to be 'the backbone of American society.' This depiction of the post-war malaise again highlights the flaws in the capitalist system where some people with cut corners to get what they (are told by the American dream, they) want, such as Raymond Burr's detective using blackmail to get the girl, Smiley being in jail because of embezzlement. Desire and guilt are examined well here, unfortunately the film as a whole doesn't hold together.
January 29, 2012
Greatest Femmes Fatales in Classic Film Noir
½ January 14, 2012
I've always enjoyed Dick Powell and he's pretty great as a bored-with-routine insurance salesman churning out the sarcasm. However, he makes some bad decisions in this domestic noir and risking his marriage for Lizabeth Scott is the primary one. Although he regrets it, this is noir and so he must pay the price and gets entangled with a pretty nasty character in the form of Raymond Burr (note that I didn't say "heavy" when I could have). Powell does look raked over the coals by the end and I wouldn't exactly call it happy. On the low budget side, in the noir scheme of things.
August 27, 2011
Dick Powell is great in this little seen noir. The film itself is a good example of the genre. No happy ending. No easy resolutions. Powell's character gets himself into a sticky situation with no way to go but down. The story is standard fare but it's this character that is the focus of attention here and gives the film an compelling edge. Here's a man who has everything - a nice house, a decent job and wife and kids. He risks it all by starting an affair. He wasn't satisfied with his life but like every noir - a little mistake is a heavy price to pay. The film lacks suspense or surprises but if you are looking for good performances and an intriguing character study - this film makes a good watch.
½ March 22, 2010
A story about essentially post-war domesitc bliss. Dick Powell plays John Forbes, a man whom appears to have the model life but as we learn he yearns for some adventure. De Torh's film is a study of the structured man gone astry. Dick Powell is fantastic as are pretty much everyone. Ande De Toth seems to be director that seems to get no recognition but man he deserves it.
½ February 21, 2009
An unconventional film noir, but also one of the best. Raymond Burr is a total creep and Lizabeth Scott is a femme fatalle that's actually just the girl next door type.
½ July 13, 2008
Enjoyable noir thriller with Dick Powell as an ennui-stricken insurance man who feels the bonds of family man and 9 to 5 grind chafing just a little too much. Investigating the whereabouts of the loot stolen from a firm his company insured, he comes across smoldering femme fatale LIzabeth Scott with (melo)dramatic results. With Raymond Burr as the heavy who saw Lizabeth first, and the remarkably pretty Jane Wyman as Powell's seemingly meek wife. Great shots of 1940s LA and atmospheric photography add charm.
February 29, 2008
The lead character is so fun to watch, the rest of them are ehh. The plot drives the movie and none of the characters care for their environment. It is merely a story for story's sake.
½ July 13, 2007
Not awfull, but came off as a B noir with an A cast. The plot was a little tough to follow in places. Dick Powell was, as usual, great. Raymond Burr really steals the show in the villian role, showing the versatility that he hardly got the chance to show off after Perry Mason started in 1957.
December 12, 2006
I wonder what this is about, i think ill see it!
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