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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
Marilyn Monroe sat in on a rehearsal and actually read for the role of Candy. While Fuller liked her very much, he said she was wrong for the part, telling her that her "overwhelming sensuality" was wrong for the story. See more »
When Skip and Joey fight in the subway station, they are fighting in a cleared area near the ticket office and then the next two shots show them confined by exit railings near the newspaper stand and then the next shot cuts back to the open area. See more »
So you're a Red, who cares? Your money's as good as anybody else's.
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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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