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directed by André De Toth
USA 1948

 

Mastered in HD from a 35mm dupe negative preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive - Film noir great Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet) plays an ex-vet living the American dream with a beautiful home, loving wife (Jane Wyatt, Lost Horizon), wonderful kid (Jimmy Hunt, Invaders From Mars) and a great job as an insurance executive. But Powell like many returning servicemen exhibits a restlessness experienced by many veterans, his penchant for excitement leads him an illicit affair with sexy bombshell (Lizabeth Scott, Too Late For Tears) that leads to much more than a guilty conscience a complicated web of intrigue, jealousy and murder. Considered by many as one of the greatest film noirs of all time, Pitfall features top-notch direction by the great André De Toth (Hidden Fear) and a great performance by Raymond Burr (TV's Perry Mason) as a corrupt private eye.

Posters

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

Reviews                                                                           More Reviews                                                                     DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the DVD Review!

1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

   

Distribution

Synergy Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:18 1:25:54.232
Video

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

1.33:1 Disc Size: 19,207,138,328 bytes

Feature Size: 18,202,853,376 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.91 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC / 1080P

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1621 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1621 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

Subtitles None 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

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

1.33:1 Disc Size: 19,207,138,328 bytes

Feature Size: 18,202,853,376 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.91 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC / 1080P

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by Eddie Muller

• Trailers for A Bullet For Joey (2:17) and He Ran All the Way (2:13)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 17th, 2015
Standard
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 9

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray October 15': A magnificent film - yes, also a Noir.  The source is the UCLA archives and support from The Film Foundation, presumably, the best print in existence. It is imperfect but a darn-sight beyond the 2011 Synergy DVD. It is significantly sharper, better contrast (although a few blown-out whites), more information in the frame (NOTE: the 1080P has rounded corners visible throughout!) but there are still some surface scratches, very light marks and it has a tendency to look frail and thin. I'm not looking a gift-horse in the mouth and am thrilled to see this in the higher resolution. I consider it a masterpiece and if this is a good as we get, I am thankful. Single-layered with a supportive bitrate and despite the occasional imperfections - I thought it was very pleasing in-motion.

Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1621 kbps. There aren't a lot of audio effects to export but dialogue is clean and flat. Louis Forbes (Silver Lode, The Man Who Cheated Himself, The Crooked Way, Escape to Burma, Slightly Scarlet, The River's Edge) does the score and it supports the film extremely well. And you can hear some of the depth via the uncompressed track. There are no subtitles and the Blu-ray is coded region 'A'.

The value here is already essential in my mind - but get a new audio commentary by the 'Tsar of Noir' Eddie Muller. It's wonderfully detailed and does a stupendous job of discussing the film, filmmakers (De Toth's brilliant economical direction) and performers merits ranking it so highly in the cycle and as a very adult film of its time. There are also trailers for A Bullet For Joey  and He Ran All the Way.

In spite of niggling complaints - an essential purchase - one of my favorite Blu-ray viewings of the year!  

***

ON THE DVD: 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

 


 

DVD Menus
 

 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Watermark on DVD

 


1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Synergy Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

 

   

Distribution

Synergy Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 

 




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