7.7/10
11,664
102 user 91 critic

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)
Reviews
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

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. Writer/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

At one point, Candy refers to an address in New York City on Houston Street (pronouncing it like John Huston or the Texas city). In reality, the street is pronounced "House-ton" - something known to every New Yorker. See more »

Quotes

Skip McCoy: I know you pinched me three times and got me convicted three times and made me a three time loser. And I know you took an oath to put me away for life. Well you're trying awful hard with all this patriotic eye-wash, but get this: I didn't grift that film and you can't prove I did! And if I said I did, you'd slap that fourth rap across my teeth no matter what promises you made!
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 Edge of Outside (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Again
(uncredited)
Music by Lionel Newman
[love theme for Candy and Skip]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tough and compelling
2 January 2009 | by MartinHaferSee 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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