A for me unheard of Film Noir, and this until i read a novel by one
of my favourite writers of crime - the Detroit based Loren D.
The Raymond Chandler of today, famous for mainly his fantastic Amos
Walker P.I. series but he also writes other series, historical
from Detroit and one about the UCLA film archivist Valentino. Estleman
is a film LOVER and there are references to film spread around in
most of his novels and stories. It's a pity that Estleman seems to be
totally unknown in my home-country Sweden, and along with the
genius Elmore Leonard (R.I.P.) he's my favourite modern writer of crime
In one of Estleman's books private investigator Amos Walker is hired
to find a missing husband. A man that escaped the harsh realities
of life, and in Detroit probably extra harsh, by watching old Film Noir
movies in his cellar cinema. He supposedly believes that he's inside
a Film Noir movie and has lost the grip of reality, and the
last film he watched before vanishing into smoke was the 1948 Pitfall,
one of Amos Waker's favourite movies, so naturally i had to see this
film too. I watched it on Youtube streaming video in OK quality.
The 19th in the Great Amos Walker Series, the 2006 Nicotine
Johnny Forbes (Dick Powell) has a lovely sweet wife,
Sue (Jane Wyatt) and a little son and they live in a semi-detached house
and he has a good work as a loss adjuster at an insurance company. He's
bored and fed up with his life, just a lot of routines and
his wife teases him that he is The Average American, he's the embodiment
of the Invisible Man. No Fun.
One day at his work, Olympia Mutual Insurance Co., a private detective,
MacDonald (Raymond Burr) is waiting for him with a report
about an insurance case. The Case of Bill Smiley (Byron Barr), a man
doing jailtime due to embezzlement, money stolen for buying
presents to his mistress Mona Stevens (Lizabeth Scott). The insurance
company is now trying to regain as much as possible of the
embezzled money, and it's Johnny's job to visit Mona and make her compile
a list of everything Bill Smiley has given her.
Johnny and Mona drives to the harbour to look at the
boat Bill has given her, and surprise .... Johnny falls in love with
Time. They start seing each other a lot and the problem isn't just that
he's married to sweet Sue, but also that MacDonald, the
detective also has fallen in love with her. Even worse is, that the
big, rough looking detective has a distinctly psychopathic mind
and that he begins to follow them around. Could it be any more troublesome
Yes it can, because soon Smiley will be released from prison and he's
crazed out due to jealousy and also armed and dangerous.
Poor Johnny. Will he tell his wife about the mess he's in, caught between
2 violence proned maniacs?
Aaah, yes, a very fine film noir crime drama Pitfall
is indeed, and it has the genre iconic actress Lizabeth Scott in it.
with the lovely eyebrows and unique looks who was made to act in the
films that was to be called Film Noir later.
Maybe not a masterpiece though as Loren D. Estleman and others claim
it to be, but very good, very good.