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Pickup on South Street (1953)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 7,224 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:
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...
...
Murvyn Vye ...
Captain Dan Tiger
...
...
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

In the opening scene on the subway, a soldier who leaves the train is shown wearing the "Big Red One" 1st Infantry Division shoulder patch. Director Samuel Fuller fought with the 1st Infantry Division during World War II, and later made a film about it - The Big Red One (1980). See more »

Goofs

When Skip gets off a subway train at the 33rd street station, he is getting off of an IND line R-1 train. There is no 33rd street station on any IND line. The only 33rd street station is on the Lexington Ave Line(today known as the #6 train). The Lexington Ave line is a branch of the IRT line and did not use the R-1 cars. They used the Low V cars. An R-1 car was too wide and would not fit on to the IRT tracks See more »

Quotes

Moe Williams: What's the matter with you? Playing footsie with the Commies!
Skip McCoy: You waving the flag, too?
Moe Williams: Listen, I knew you since you was a little kid. You was always a regular kind of crook. I never figured you for a louse.
Skip McCoy: Stop, you're breaking my heart.
Moe Williams: Even in our crummy line of business you gotta draw the line somewhere.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Century (1999) 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

 
Maybe Fuller's best film
13 August 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

The best of the seven Sam Fuller movies that I've seen (including Park Row, Run of the Arrow, Verboten!, Shock Corridor, The Naked Kiss, The Big Red One, and this film), Pickup on South Street counts as one of the best film noirs. It represents Fuller at his most controlled. I like him when he's out of control, of course, but nearly everything in Pickup is perfect. The film is absolutely beautiful. Richard Widmark stars as a pickpocket who steals some microfilm that was meant to go to communist spies. Jean Peters plays the woman who was carrying the film for her boyfriend, played by Richard Kiley. Peters is forced to find Widmark and get it back. She finds him through a stool pigeon played by Thelma Ritter. Widmark and Peters are attracted to each other, which changes Peters loyalties (that, and the fact that she learns she's working for communists; the Cold War stuff is really interesting). The love story is done a little quickly and not entirely believable, but it's not so bad that it harms the film (unlike Fuller's previous film, Park Row). Richard Widmark is great. This must be one of his best roles, but I'm not so familiar with his career that I can say that for sure. Thelma Ritter gives the most memorable performance. Her role gives the film an unexpected emotional resonance, and her final scene in this film is as touching as any you will find in the cinema. I will never forget that. 10/10.


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