PITFALL
1948, Paramount, 86 min, USA, Dir: André de Toth

Enjoy an adult dose of SoCal suburban angst as Dick Powell’s by-the-book insurance man, dissatisfied with his dead-end job and humdrum wife (Jane Wyatt), indulges an extramarital dalliance with tough-luck model Lizabeth Scott. Who will make him pay for his indiscretion? The thuggish private eye (creepy Raymond Burr) who has his own designs on Liz? Her jealous boyfriend, about to be sprung from prison? Or his own steel-spined spouse? Come see who survives the guilt-sodden affair, a remarkable and vastly undervalued noir masterpiece.


THE MAN WHO CHEATED HIMSELF
1951, 81 min, USA, Dir: Felix Feist

A veteran San Francisco homicide cop (Lee J. Cobb) spirals into a moral morass when his married socialite lover (Jane Wyatt, in a rare fatale role) “accidentally” bumps off her husband. Instead of playing it by the book (would that be noir?), he covers up the crime, only to have his younger brother (John Dall) - himself a fledgling homicide dick - start putting together the pieces. This James M. Cain-inspired thriller gets maximum impact out of its San Francisco locations, including a memorable climax at Fort Point.


HOUSE BY THE RIVER
1950, Kino Lorber, 88 min, USA, Dir: Fritz Lang

Struggling novelist Stephen Byrne (Louis Hayward) makes a play for his maid, and when she resists he impulsively murders her. Thus begins the web of evil that Byrne spins, drawing in his wife (Jane Wyatt) and brother (Lee Bowman) as his crimes pile up. Director Fritz Lang pours on the atmosphere in this eerie melodrama.


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