YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 19: Pitfall (1948)

Today’s pick is my third Lizabeth Scott starrer of the month: Pitfall (1948). Do I need to even bother saying that it’s a favorite?

The film boasts a stellar cast that, in addition to Scott, includes Dick Powell, Jane Wyatt, and Raymond Burr; brisk direction by Andre De Toth; and an engaging story that’s just complex enough to keep you on your toes, but not so involved that you don’t know what’s going on.

It’s the kind of noir that sneaks up on you – there’s very little in the first 20 minutes or so that hints at the darkness to come. But once it turns, boy, does it turn.


This shot wasn’t in the movie, but I love it. (Don’t you?)

Powell is insurance adjuster John Forbes, whose boredom with his humdrum life makes him a prime candidate for a little afternoon delight when he encounters model Mona Stevens (Scott). Unfortunately, Forbes is a very married man and Mona not only has a jealous boyfriend temporarily cooling his heels in jail, but she’s also being stalked by an uber-creepy private dick who won’t take no for an answer. From anybody.  


Director De Toth was Veronica Lake’s second husband; the two were married for eight years and had two children.

Mona’s jailbird boyfriend was played by Byron Barr. You might remember him for his best-known role, Nino Zachetti in Double Indemnity (1944).

Powell getting the jump on Byron Barr.

Featuring an adulterer who isn’t sufficiently punished for this misdeed, the film’s script was in violation of the Hays Code. Reportedly, De Toth knew that two members of the Hays Office were engaged in extramarital affairs of their own. After meeting with the men, the script was allowed to remain intact.


Join me for my next YouTube recommendation on Day 20 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 19, 2020.

3 Responses to “YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 19: Pitfall (1948)”

  1. Johnny: “Whatever happened to those two people who were going to build a boat and sail around the world?”
    Sue: “Well, I had a baby. I never did hear what happened to you.”

  2. […] schedule for April on TCM is chock full of first-rate noirs, including Out of the Past (1947), Pitfall (1948), Gun Crazy (1950), and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). But my shadowy recommendation for the […]

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