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Pickup on South Street (1953)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 7,221 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 62 critic

A pickpocket unwittingly lifts a message destined for enemy agents and becomes a target for a Communist spy ring.

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Title: Pickup on South Street (1953)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Murvyn Vye ...
Captain Dan Tiger
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...
Zara (as Willis B. Bouchey)
...
Detective Winoki
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Storyline

On a crowded subway, Skip McCoy picks the purse of Candy. Among his take, although he does not know it at the time, is a piece of top-secret microfilm that was being passed by Candy's consort, a Communist agent. Candy discovers the whereabouts of the film through Moe Williams, a police informer. She attempts to seduce McCoy to recover the film. She fails to get back the film and falls in love with him. The desperate agent exterminates Moe and savagely beats Candy. McCoy, now goaded into action, confronts the agent in a particularly brutal fight in a subway. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

communist | microfilm | purse | subway | police | See more »

Taglines:

How the law took a chance on a B-girl... and won!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1953 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Blaze of Glory  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Shelley Winters, the first choice as star had to drop out, Betty Grable was assigned the role. Betty Grable, not wanting to take on a downcast role, declined to play Candy. Twentieth Century-Fox then put Miss Grable on suspension. Other versions claim that Grable turned down the role because she was pregnant. See more »

Goofs

After Joey shoots Candy and she's lying unconscious with her foot against the door, you can see that she moves the foot forward before he opens it. See more »

Quotes

Moe Williams: I have to go on making a living so I can die. But even a fancy funeral ain't worth waiting for if I've gotta do business with crumbs like you.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Remington Steele: A Pocketful of Steele (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Mam'selle
Music by Edmund Goulding
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Played on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tough and compelling
2 January 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is yet another gritty and compelling film directed by Sam Fuller in the early 1950s. This minimalist and fast-working director has something unusual for his earlier films--a cast with some stars. Richard Widmark, Jean Peters and Richard Kiley star in this film about a group of Communist agents who are trying to sneak secrets out of America--and they'll stop at nothing to succeed.

The film starts with Peters on a subway car being watched by federal agents. They know she is a link in a long espionage chain. Unknown to everyone is the wild card in the equation--a small-time pickpocket (Widmark) is also on the train and he manages to steal the secrets that Peters is carrying. Widmark thinks it's just another purse he's ransacked--only later does he realize the seriousness of what he's stolen. Now it's Widmark on his own--with Commies and the FBI hot on his trail.

Widmark and the rest are exceptional and the film is gripping from start to finish. Although she didn't get top billing, a special mention should be made of Thelma Ritter. This supporting actress had perhaps the performance of her lifetime as a stool pigeon. Seldom was she given this much of a chance to act and I was impressed by her ability to play a broken down and sad old lady.

As far as the script and directing go, they are very good--but with one small exception. At first, I loved the way Widmark and Peters interacted. It's one of the few times on film you'll see a woman punched square in the mouth! Now THAT'S tough. Later, inexplicably, they become amazingly close--too close to be believable. Still, with so much great drama and such an effective Noir-like film, this can be overlooked. See this film.


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