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).
Marilyn Monroe sat in on a rehearsal and actually read for the role of Candy. While director Samuel Fuller liked her very much, he said she was wrong for the part, telling her that her "overwhelming sensuality" was wrong for the story.
The German title for the movie is "Polizei greift ein" ("Police takes over"). The film is clearly about espionage, but in the German version the title was changed and even the dialog referring to the spying was completely replaced by dialog about drug dealing.
According to Samuel Fuller's autobiography, "A Third Face," Betty Grable had wanted the role of Candy, and demanded that there be a dance number in the film. Fuller refused. Grable then said she would do the film without the dance number, but by that point Fuller had been rehearsing with Jean Peters and didn't want to lose her for the role.
The French title for the movie is "Le Port de la Drogue" ("The Drugs Port"). The film is clearly about espionage, but in the French version the title was changed to refer to drugs, and even the dialogue referring to the spying was completely replaced by dialogue about drug dealing.
Heard is the recurring background strains of "Again," a song introduced in Road House (1948), Richard Widmark's third picture. It ties Widmark to this film's musical director, Lionel Newman, who composed the music for the former.
After Shelley Winters, the first choice as star had to drop out, Betty Grable was assigned the role. Grable, not wanting to take on a downcast role, declined to play Candy. Twentieth Century-Fox then put her on suspension. Other versions claim that Grable turned down the role because she was pregnant.
Darryl F. Zanuck showed Samuel Fuller, who was then under contract to 20th Century Fox, a script by Dwight Taylor called 'Blaze of Glory' about a woman lawyer falling in love with a criminal she was defending in a murder trial. Fuller liked the idea but knew from his previous crime reporter experience that courtroom cases take a long time to play out. Fuller asked Zanuck if he could write a story of a lower criminal and his girlfriend that he originally titled 'Pickpocke't but Zanuck thought the title too "European". Fuller had memories of South Street from his days as a crime reporter and came up with his new title 'Pickup on South Street'. Fuller met Detective Dan Campion of the New York Police Department to research the background material of his story to add realism, with Fuller basing the role of Tiger the police detective on Campion who had been suspended without salary for six months for manhandling a suspect.