Archive of films Pickup on South Street / Pickup on South Street
1953, 80 min
Section: Tribute to Samuel Fuller
One day on an overcrowded subway, pickpocket Skip (Richard Widmark) works the attractive Candy, pilfering her wallet from her purse and unwittingly making off with microfilm of a chemical formula that communist spies have designs on. Awarded at the Venice festival, this legendary noir thriller introduced revolutionary generic elements and angered FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover.
Arrogant and self confident, carefree and charming, disturbing and aggressive – such words aptly characterize Richard Widmark’s portrayal of Skip McCoy. One day on an overcrowded subway, pickpocket Skip works the attractive Candy, pilfering her wallet from her purse and unwittingly making off with microfilm of a chemical formula that communist spies have designs on. Unbeknownst to the pickpocket and the hard-bitten young woman, FBI agents have had Candy under surveillance and Skip interferes with their pursuit. Produced by the legendary Darryl F. Zanuck for Fox Studios, the trio of social outcasts in Fuller’s noir thriller is rounded out by a professional stoolie named Moe who’s "gotta live somehow.” This time Fuller squeezed the attractive plot with its rough love story into a rather classically constructed screenplay. But although the script has a fairly standard dramatic feel, the director employed his usual subversive motifs and, once again, angered FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. Director of photography Joe MacDonald bolstered the vivid atmosphere of disturbing tension, and his sophisticated, high-contrast lighting helped the cult movie win a Silver Lion at Venice in 1953. The roving camera underscores the director’s emphasis on aggressiveness and violence, elements that Fuller could hardly imagine his New York underworld story doing without.
About the film
Black & white, 35 mm
|Section:||Tribute to Samuel Fuller|
|Dir. of Photography:||Joseph MacDonald|
|Production:||Twentieth Century - Fox|
|Cast:||Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Murvyn Vye, Richard Kiley, Willis Bouchey|