7.7/10
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Pickup on South Street (1953)

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

Director:

Samuel Fuller

Writers:

Samuel Fuller (screenplay), Dwight Taylor (story)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Widmark ... Skip McCoy
Jean Peters ... Candy
Thelma Ritter ... Moe Williams
Murvyn Vye ... Police Captain Dan Tiger
Richard Kiley ... Joey
Willis Bouchey ... Zara (as Willis B. Bouchey)
Milburn Stone ... 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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1953 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Blaze of Glory See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$780,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Candy lights a cigarette in an early scene, the matchbook cover reads "Park Row"--which was the title of Samuel Fuller's previous film, Park Row (1952). See more »

Goofs

At one point, it's stated that McCoy is living on the west side. However, the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge - on the East River - are visible at times out his window. See more »

Quotes

Moe Williams: You got any Happy Money?
Candy: Happy Money?
Moe Williams: Yeah, money that's gonna make me happy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the movie was released in France, the French dubbing replaced the communists spying with drug dealing to avoid political controversy. No English print with subtitles went in circulation. The French title "Le port de la drogue" could be translated by "Pier of Drug". The original version was released several years after. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Mam'selle
Music by Edmund Goulding
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
[played on Moe's phonograph]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Maybe Fuller's best film
13 August 2002 | by zetesSee 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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