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directed by André De Toth
USA 1948

 

By the time he helmed Pitfall in 1948; Hungarian born émigré director André de Toth had a filmography consisting of a handful of largely forgettable films, and was perhaps better know as the one-eyed husband of the beautiful Veronica Lake. Although he’d have limited success later in his career, most notably with the 3-D horror film House of Wax, a growing number of people, myself included, have come to believe that in Pitfall he has created one of the finest, and most unique, entries in the film noir canon.

Excerpt of review from samspadefan located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 11 August 1948 (Atlantic City, New Jersey)

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DVD Review: Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Synergy Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:25:18
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Synergy Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2011
Keep Case

Chapters 17

 

Comments

Even before the success of Warner Archives, the made-on-demand discs became mainstay of Amazon with many public domain films popping up there from various dubious companies. Recently, titles that are not event in public domain started showing up there, mostly sourced from 16 mm collector's prints or video masters from the past. Pitfall is one of the better examples of independently-produced film noir (or, as written on the back cover of this disc, film noire) from director André De Toth. The film was distributed theatrically by United Artists, but the VHS release came out in 1998 from Republic Pictures. Currently, Republic Pictures (as well as Studio Canal library) is hold hostage by Lionsgate that is uninterested in releasing anything but the latest theatrical and straight-to-DVD films. Which is a shame as Republic Pictures released a lot of most wanted and rare film noirs and westerns of the classic period. This is when these dubious public domain companies come to the rescue, although the quality of the disc is not as good as could've been if released from properly sourced print.

Pitfall stars always dependable Dick Powell as a family man with a beautiful wife (Jane Wyatt) and a little son (Jimmy Hunt) who, as an insurance investigator, makes an acquaintance with Lizbeth Scott's character. Despite her reputation as femme fatale, our favorite noir girl rarely played predatory man-eater (as she did in Too Late for Tears and she is more of a victim of circumstances and her poor judgment in men in this film as well. Along with Dick Powell, it's Raymond Burr as a PI who can't take 'No!' for an answer and Byron Barr as an imprisoned crook who bought her gifts with stolen money. A girl just can't get a break and you feel really sorry for her by the end of the film.

Made-on-demand DVD-R from Synergy Entertainment is sold exclusively at Amazon. The single-layered transfer is interlaced and most like was sourced from a video master. The print is in a good shape, with a few specs and marks, including cue marks, and there was a noticeable Synergy Entertainment watermarked seen a couple of times. Unfortunately, the image is soft and the contrast is poor - there is nothing film noir about this transfer, more like a film gris (grey film). Still, this is a decent, if not stellar, presentation of a film otherwise unavailable on digital media. We don't have Republic VHS to compare its transfer, so we can not comment if it has a better contrast, but otherwise, for $10 this is mildly recommended until something better comes along.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


 

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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Synergy Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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