Pickup on South Street
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Petty crook Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) has his eyes fixed on the big score, but when he picks the purse of unsuspecting Candy (Jean Peters) he finds a haul bigger than he could imagine: a strip of microfilm bearing confidential U.S. secrets. Tailed by both Feds and the unwitting couriers Communist puppeteers, Skip and Candy find themselves in a precarious gambit that pits greed against redemption, Right versus Red, and the passion against self preservation. A dazzling cast, hardboiled repartee and director Samuel Fullers signature raw energy combine to create a true film noir classic.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Hour long documentary on Fuller
- Stills gallery of photos, posters, lobby cards and original paintings
- Trailers for this and other Fuller features
Director Sam Fuller's biggest success of its time (and, superficially at least, his most conventional film) is the l953 noir effort Pickup on South Street. Candy (Jean Peters) has her purse picked on the subway by small-time thief and ex-con Skip (Richard Widmark), neither of them realizing that the purse contains microfilm bound for Communist spies and that they are being watched the whole time by Federal agents. The New York police and the Feds catch up with Skip and try to cajole him into turning over the microfilm, but as he's one of Fuller's "outsider" antihero protagonists, the patriotic angle cuts no ice with him. He plays both sides against the middle when he finds out that the Communists are involved, hoping to make a big score off the deal, but eventually he comes around when he realizes that he's smitten with Candy. Finally Skip plays ball with the authorities, but is it out of his love for both his friend Moe and Candy, or is he swayed by the patriotic urgings of the FBI, or does it just come from some inner core of decency? You decide. When Skip is asked, "Do you know what treason is?" he smirks, "Who cares?"; when the Feds try to appeal to his patriotism, he sneers through several layers of Sinatra cool, "Are you waving the flag at me?" Pickup is set almost entirely in the garbage-strewn alleys, grimy subways, seedy waterfront dives, and gloomy streets of New York City; it's marked by extremely lengthy takes and fluid, mobile camera work. The closing scene when Skip tracks down another character in the subway and administers a brutal beating to him is one of the more violent scenes you'll find in '50s film noir. --Jerry Renshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The acting: Widmark is at his best. His Skip is a bomb threatening to explode any time. This is probably Jean Peters's best acting job in a movie. This actress has a lot of fire in her that she seems to keep under control, but - like Widmark - you can sense it can explode any time. Thelma Ritter (who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance) is tops as well and so is Richard Killey. These four actors in fact should have all been nominated for awards and certainly the film should have been - but that was Hollydwood in the 50's - the film was controversial, a film noir at that and Cinemascope and spectacles had entered the picture and sweeping all the awards then selected by fools enchanted with special effects, color and big screens.
This film is a jewel and it should be given more attention, more credit, and you should see it!!!
Two of my favorite actors Widmark and Ritter, hit the bullseye in another great film about the life and times of people trying to make it in this crazy world of ours.
Need to pick this up on Criterion, for any film collector this is a must have in your ever growing collection on noir.
Under the production staff of:
Samuel Fuller [Director/Screenplay]
Dwight Taylor [Story]
Jules Schermer [Producer]
Leigh Harline [Original Film Score]
Joseph MacDonald [Cinematographer]
Nick DeMaggio [Film Editor]
1. Samuel Fuller [Director]
Date of Birth: 12 August 1912 - Worcester, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 30 October 1997, Hollywood, California
2. Richard Widmark
Date of Birth: 26 December 1914 - Sunrise Township, Minnesota
Date of Death: 24 March 2008 - Roxbury, Connecticut
3. Jean Peters
Date of Birth: 15 October 1926- Canton, Ohio
Date of Death: 13 October 2000, Carlsbad, California
4.Read more ›
I wish all such releases of older films were this well-planned and well-executed. "Pickup On South Street" originally came out more than 50 years ago. If its modern-day distributor, Criterion, was -- like some of the characters in "Pickup" -- just looking to make a quick buck, it could have made a cheap transfer to DVD and released the disc to movie lovers like you and me who, let's face it, would have been grateful to even have this classic film noir on disc at all. But the Criterion team has instead gifted us with a superb transfer. The sound and picture are excellent, from opening credits to the final fade. Do you know what that says to all of us who love this film? It says, "We respect your high standards and we respect the filmmaker's vision and creation."
But the good news doesn't stop there. There's some nifty bonus material on the disc itself; interviews with Sam Fuller, trailers for other Fuller films, stills galleries, and a text-only interview with Richard Widmark are among the special features. We also get a 20-page booklet that has excerpts from Fuller's autobiography (including filmmaker Martin Scorsese's introduction) and an essay by cultural historian Luc Sante. The whole booklet is a great read. And both the booklet and the disc's special features provide some wonderful anecdotal material that enhances one's enjoyment of the film and advances one's understanding of the sociopolitical atmosphere in which the film was made and initially released.
The people who created the film -- Fuller, the actors, the production crew -- will always have my thanks and admiration.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Superb acting by Widmark and Peters, Thelma Ritter great as usual. Good plot even if a wee bit dated, Remember this is a 1953 film portraying society 60 years ago.Published on Sept. 17 2013 by Claude G.
Crierien rips you right out of your money...I couldn't be surprised if the owner of the company was right now sitting on a throne and enjoying his/her cash he or she has made out... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2006 by Joanna
Made during the height of the cold war hysteria,
this film gets sidetracked by mindless red baiting. Read more
Skip Mc Coy (Richard Widmark) is a person without colective importance; a rough pickpocket , a scroungy pretty gangster who sneeks a look into a woman's handbag, turns up some... Read morePublished on May 16 2004 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
Excellent old time detective thriller. You never have a doubt as to what's going to happen, but getting to go along for the ride, makes it worth all the while. Read morePublished on April 24 2004
Why does Amazon or Criterion show this 1953 old mainstream film noir movie as having an NC-17 rating, "Not for Sale to Anyone Under 18"??? Read morePublished on April 11 2004
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