Film Noir Double Feature!

The Big Combo (1955); Pitfall (1948) @ the Million Dollar Theater

The Big Combo (1955)
February 8, 2012 - 7:30 pm
In-person: 
author and film historian Alan K. Rode.

"Brazenly stylized, deeply cynical, and very funny, The Big Combo tells the story of police lieutenant Cornell Wilde's quest to uncover the secret past of a notorious mob boss while simultaneously seducing the mobster's girl.

The film's original tagline read, 'The most startling story the screen has ever dared to reveal!' For a contemporary viewer, the film's most startling effect will be the constant prickle of déjà vu we experience, a déjà vu which points back to the films of the '40s, but also, jarringly forward to the sadistic and self-aware cinema of Quentin Tarantino, P.T. Anderson and the Coen Brothers."

—Theresa Schwarztman, UCLA Festival of Preservation (2006)

"Pitfall is an amazing time capsule of The City of Angels in the immediate postwar period." —Glenn Erickson, Savant Revival Review

"At a time when filmmakers typically trekked to New York to capture urban grit, André de Toth insisted the independent [Pitfall] be shot in Los Angeles. 'It was a must to make this on location,' he later explained. 'It was a sine qua non for me to make it real.' Boasting exteriors that span the area's metropolitan sprawl, from the Santa Monica docks to the suburbanized Hollywood Hills and office towers downtown, Pitfall is an exemplary L.A. noir, a hard-boiled tribute to what de Toth called 'grey, drab Los Angeles, where the cogwheels of life grind people into yesterday's dust.'"

—Jesse Zigelstein, "L.A. Noir: The City as Character" (2006)

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive. Funded by The Film Foundation.

The Big Combo (1955)

Directed by Joseph Lewis

Police lieutenant Cornel Wilde is pulled off of his investigation of crime Boss Mr. Brown, but decides to quiz Brown’s girlfriend. Trouble ensues!

35mm, b/w, 89 min.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with National Telefilm Associates, Inc. Funded by the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pitfall (1948)

Directed by Andre de Toth

Insurance agent Dick Powell falls for femme fatale Lizabeth Scott, whose thug boyfriend has been bilking the insurance company. No one takes the high road in this noir classic.

35mm, b/w, 85 min.