Pickup Alley (1957) Poster


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Victor Mature as 007? Cubby Broccoli's feasibility study for the Bond franchise
bmacv19 June 2004
A law-and-order thriller focusing on the international narcotics trade, Interpol (aka Pickup Alley) harks back to such dire warnings as Port of New York and To The Ends of the Earth. It looks forward, too. Courtesy of co-producer Albert (Cubby) Broccoli, who five years hence would issue the first film in the deathless 007 franchise, Dr. No, this British-made movie serves as a brief, black-and-white preview of the trans-global intrigues James Bond would soon be set to smashing.

The surly secret agent here is drug-enforcement officer Victor Mature, and his motives are not merely professional: Not only is his `kid sister' hopelessly hooked to the needle, but in the pre-credits opening scene, a female colleague ends up strangled with her own scarf by heroin kingpin Trevor Howard, an arch and urbane adversary who flourishes a cigarette holder, like Charles Grey's Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. In pursuit, Mature jets from New York to London and thence to Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Naples and back to the States.

There's even an exotic Bondgirl (Anita Ekberg), shanghaied into working against her former boss, and an amusing local helpmate (Bonar Colleano) as an expatriate Yank peddling junk and souvenirs to tourists in the Eternal City. He first pops up before an excursion into the Catacombs, where death proves to be not always ancient. Similar set-pieces – chases across rooftops and up and down steep streets – enliven other ports of call.

But, like many of the Bond movies, Interpol comes at you in sections. We cool down from one diversion in anticipation of the next. But there's not much thought given to a determining plot-line or sustaining mood. And the major characters aren't given much in the way of, well, character; to make matters worse, they're barely allowed to interact. Most of what Interpol has to offer was already done earlier in the noir cycle (occasionally by Mature and even Howard), or would be done better in the splashier spectacles of the 1960s. And let's face it: Apart from her frolic in the fountain in La Dolce Vita, Ekberg would never amount to much of a fixture in film history.
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Reasonably entertaining crime movie.
ronevickers4 April 2008
This is quite an entertaining & energetic crime movie, which rattles along at a fairly brisk pace, but suffers somewhat from lack of character depth, and interaction between the characters. The leads all play their respective roles professionally and with a degree of panache, with the oily and sinister Trevor Howard particularly effective. Bonar Colleano also contributes a likable cameo as a fast-talking, quick-witted exiled American. In the central role, Victor Mature is dour and doesn't really get the opportunity to express more of his character's dual purpose of personal revenge and bringing an arch criminal to justice. Although there are many similar type films to this, I feel that it stands worthy comparison to many of them and is certainly deserving of release on DVD.
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Intercepting Interpol.
morrison-dylan-fan11 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Originally planning to view auteur Robert Siodmak's Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam today for the first time for the ICM poll of the best films of 1957, my attempt at a viewing got interrupted due to unexpectedly needing to go and sort some things out for friends. Getting home late at night, I grabbed a 1957 film which has been by the TV waiting to get viewed for years (!) and made a call to Interpol.

View on the film:

Made as the wheels on British "genre" cinema were starting to gain traction, the movie offers a glorious preview over what awaited, thanks to co- producer (with Irving Allen) Albert R. Broccoli making his mark, and director John Gilling bringing in future Hammer Horror stars André Morell and Yvonne Romain, an on the cusp of fame Anita Ekberg, and rounding it up with a cameo from Sid James. Closely working with future 007- Connery era cinematographer Ted Moore, director Gilling gives this globe-trotting Film Noir a slick sun-kissed atmosphere by glittering the locations with stylish low-lighting which gives off an "exotic" vibe, and also displays McNally's attempts to stop Sturgis capturing him in the light.

Displaying a sharp eye for stylisation which would later make his Hammer Horror films stand out, Gilling uses dissolves with a real precision in creating a disturbing impression of each murder, and up close and personal camera moves to give the punch-ups Sturgis' takes to locate McNally a frantic, rough and tumble edge. Knotting Sturgis's family into McNally's murderous underworld dealings, the screenplay by John Paxton keeps the pressure from McNally firm with stealth kills on any former associate who tries to help Sturgis out.

Putting her between both sides, Paxton builds up the Film Noir doubt by Sturgis attempting to gain the trust of courier Broger, in the hope that she will turn, and become a courier for McNally's arrest. Brushing off his gentlemen image, Trevor Howard gives a dastardly turn as hard man McNally, whose fists Howard slams against anyone who raises a disagreement. Crossing the globe to nab McNally,Victor Mature gives a very good performance as Sturgis, holding his nose to the grindstone Mature keeps Sturgis simmering with anger to get his revenge. Seductively performing a song number which hints at what was to come with 1958's Screaming Mimi, Anita Ekberg gives a fetching, sultry Femme Fatale twist as Broger, who Ekberg has become filled with nervousness over being caught between McNally and Interpol.
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Samson meets La dolce Vita
sol-kay14 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS**** Having seen everything sleazy and destructive that illegal drugs, like morphine and heroin, can do to people Bureau of Narcotics Agent Charles Sturgis, Victor Mature, never expected that doing his job would hit home like it did at the beginning of the film.

With Agent Sturgis finding his sister Helen, Dorothy Alison, strangled to death it turned out from clues found at the murder scene that her killer was the notorious, but faceless, international drug pusher Frank McNally, Trevor Howard. Helen was about to expose McNally to the police but he got to her first strangling Helen with her own scarf.

With him now determined to catch Helen's killer Sturgis starts to track the elusive drug dealer down in a world-wind pursuit that covers some five major cities, New York London Lisbon Rome & Athens, in both Europe and the USA. Meanwhile McNally plans to knock off his competition in the drug trafficking business his partner Salko, Alec Mango. McNally getting his personal squeeze the voluptuous Gina Borger, Anita Ekberg, to do the hit on Salko she messes up when Salko, seeing what a dish Gina is, loses control of his emotions and motor movements and ends up getting blasted.

It just happened that Salko's unexpected, as if she didn't see it coming, move on Gnia had distracted her aim, that prevented her from hitting a vital organ, in being able to kill the horny and uncontrollable hood. Salko seemed to have survived the shooting but without medical help, which his "good friend" McNally made sure he didn't get, his days on earth were numbered. Sturgis in London, where Salko was shot, now gets some clues to who Salko's attempted assassin is-through fingerprints left on the crime scene-Swedish blond bombshell Gina Broger!

Tracking down Gina who's now wanted by the London police, for shooting Salko, Sturgis ends up in Rome. It's there where Gina's to get the cash that's to cement a deal for her boss McNally in shipping a sealed refrigerator back to New York loaded with heroin. Things get a bit sticky for McNally when his henchman Guido, Marne Maitland,screws up when he's distracted by an excited tourist from murdering Sturgis, with a switchblade, in the ancient Roman Catacombs. It's then that Sturgis gets to meet local hawker, he'll sell you anything for a price, Amalio, Bonar Colleano, who in the end leads him straight to McNally and his gang of international drug traffickers.

The movie has the distinction of having three different titles at the time of its release besides "Pickup Alley":"Half Past Hell" "Interpol" and "The Most Wanted Woman". Victor Mature as narcotic agent Charles Sturgis had his hands full not only with the McNally gang but even the good guys in the film. Sturgis chasing McNally gets shot and wounded by a watchman, at the New York piers, who mistook him for a saboteur.

Anita Ekberg as Gina Broger was anything but convincing as McNally's woman in that she was always getting abused by him, like getting belted in the mouth, and still didn't have a mark on her. In fact you wondered why Gina, until she was blackmailed by him for shooting his partner Salko, would put up with a creep like McNally in the first place. McNally treated her like dirt making Gina do all his dirty work and paid her in peanuts for risking her neck for him.
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Hunting a low profile syndicate kingpin
bkoganbing7 April 2013
Victor Mature stars in Pickup Alley as a drug enforcement officer who has his professional and personal life combined in this film. His sister Dorothy Alison is strangled by Trevor Howard who is a big drug syndicate kingpin that everyone knows about, but who has successfully kept a very low profile. All kinds of police agencies are looking for Howard and now Mature has a personal reason to get him.

Thinking she killed Howard's partner his moll Anita Ekberg is also on the run. She might be the one to lead Mature to Howard so he tails her across several international cities back to New York where the climax takes place.

This idea had already been tried and far more successfully in the Dick Powell noir classic To The Ends Of The Earth where Powell was the drug enforcement agent with no personal axe to grind who follows a drug shipment. We get to see several glimpses of major cities in Europe and of course New York. Nothing that really registers a decent impression.

Pickup Alley was an OK second feature, but will never be a classic. Fans of Mature, Ekberg, and Howard will be satisfied. Best in the film in a small role is Bonar Colleano, exiled American gangster who lives by his wits both as souvenir salesman in Rome and peddler of information to those with a price.
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Solid second feature
JohnSeal4 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A past-his-prime Victor Mature stars in this rarely seen thriller from director John Gilling. Originally released as Interpol in its native UK, the film was retitled for US consumers, who perhaps thought Interpol was a brand of toothpaste. "Get that great Interpol smile!" - I'm just guessing, but it sounds reasonable, right? Mature plays Charles Sturgis, a super secret agent out to break up the narcotics ring of evil dealer Frank McNally (Trevor Howard), who's placed a monkey on the back of Sturgis' sister and then strangled her. Our hero latches on to McNally's moll (Anita Ekberg), and he's soon hot on the villain's trail through the back alleys of Lisbon and Rome. An early effort from James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, Pickup Alley travels from New York to Europe and back again, and features outstanding cinematography by Ted Moore, who would go on to shoot Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball. A superb supporting cast, including Sid James, Eric Pohlmann, Andre Morell, Bonar Colleano, and Marne Maitland make this essential viewing for British cinema enthusiasts.
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What a surprise!
christopher-underwood18 November 2019
What a surprise! Launched with no publicity, that I saw, just watched this new Arrow Blue-ray and it is an absolute gem. Anglo-American production from Warwick Films, a company set up in part by fledgling producer, Albert A Broccoli and starring Victor Mature as a not so gentle gentleman and Anita Ekberg, on the cusp of stardom. Both are great, Mature letting fly with his fists at the slightest provocation and Ekberg holding her own well enough and looking marvellous. The noirish narcotics drama moves incredibly fast and covers much ground with fabulous views of New York, London, Rome and the Greek port of Piraeus. Trevor Howard is ever present and the best I've seen him, relishing his role as chief baddie and we even get a raft of smaller parts played by familiar faces including Sid James bookending the film as barman. Excellent.
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A long pursuit around the world !!!
elo-equipamentos26 October 2019
American British co-production, released as Picket Alley on USA and Interpol on UK, Mature plays Charles Sturgis an American policeman from US narcotics department, when his sister who works as informer, was killed before to reveal the identity of the smuggler's Boss in New York, now he got starts again from scratch, the new clue nothing less than the beauty Anita Ekberg as Gina Bolder a delivery girl, they track down his steps, a long journey through Lisbon, Rome, Greece and finally back to New York, this picture goes far beyond the standards known, Charles Sturgis tireless pursuit of his unknown target, the long waiting romance between he and Gina Bolder never Happens, actually she plays a cold women, pressure by his Boss, due she committed a murder of his former old partner, the highlights coming from of nowhere, the Italian character Amalio played by the big mouth Bonar Colleano brings some relief on the plot, also a bit humor neither, Trevor Howard was fabulous as the slippery man, moving each couple days, unknown face, a hard assignment really, interesting picture!!


First watch: 2019 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD-R / Rating: 7
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One movie I'd like to see again!
JohnHowardReid14 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Producers: Irving Allen, Albert R. Broccoli. A Warwick Production, released through Columbia Pictures. Copyright 1957 by Warwick Film Productions. No New York opening. U.S. release: August 1957. U.K. release: 6 May 1957. Australian release: 10 October 1957. The full 94 minutes version was released only in Australia. Elsewhere the film was cut to slightly less than 92 minutes.

U.K. release title: INTERPOL. U.S.A. release title: PICKUP ALLEY. Australian release title: INTERNATIONAL POLICE.

SYNOPSIS: The United States Anti-Narcotics Squad smashes an international drug ring.


COMMENT: A superior thriller, "Pickup Alley" challenges the best efforts of Samuel Fuller and other masters of American noir who are still spoken of so reverently today. But John Gilling seems to be forgotten. Yet his reliance on Ted Moore's and Stan Pavey's fantastic camera-work, plus taut editing and his own bravura compositions, signal that he is not only a master of the CinemaScope image but a potent creator. Despite familiar script material, he has directed in such a well-knit yet breathtakingly machine-gun-paced style, everything we see on the screen all seems totally topical.

OTHER VIEWS: Despite extensive location shooting in London, Paris, Rome, Athens and New York, and an elaborate, elliptical sub-Welles plot, this film suffers from obvious and unresourceful type-casting, though Trevor Howard plays with jaded relish. – Monthly Film Bulletin.
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1957 B Film
whpratt116 March 2008
This was an interesting film which starred Victor Mature, (Charles Sturgis) who was a US Narcotics Agent working with Interpol in order to catch a large dope smuggling operation. Gina Broger, (Anita Ekberg) played a young gal who was working with a big shot dope king, Frank McNally, (Trevor Howard) and was only working with him because he kept her against her will and would not let her go. There is plenty of travel into Lisbon, Greece and New York and it seemed at times that Charles Sturgis was running around in circles. Trevor Howard gave a great supporting role along with Anita Ekberg, but this film was definitely a low budget film and because this was a 1957 film, the gals all wore skirts down to their ankles.
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"Yes, I know how you feel. The first kill is always a bit trying".
classicsoncall4 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Seems to me the title of the picture should have been saved for a noir tale, what with the inference of a sleazy femme fatale. One could make the case if hard pressed enough, since Anita Ekberg got pushed around considerably, but with the quickly changing venues from New York to a handful of European cities, the pace was just a bit too hasty for a noir treatment. I really dug the opening New York City street scene filled with era marquees and storefronts, that was pretty cool.

Victor Mature puts in an earnest performance as the hard bitten Narcotics Bureau detective on the trail of an international drug kingpin. Fueled by the murder of his sister by the notorious Frank McNally (Trevor Howard), Charles Sturgis (Mature) makes it his personal mission to bring the gangster to justice, even if he has to hop half way around the world to do it.

You know, if you never get a chance to see the Roman catacombs, pretty much all you have to do is tune in to this flick. The tour guide gives you a pretty good rundown on everything you need to know before you ever get there.

The main thing that impressed me here was that wild rooftop chase right after McNally did in his partner Salko (Alec Mango). When McNally lit out on that slanted runway he slid more than half way down before getting back his footing. I had to wonder if it was planned that way or the stunt guy really slipped and played it out to a conclusion. The same with the cops who high tailed it right after him. That was some nifty stunt work.

Well after rolling out the barrels for McNally, Sturgis gets his man, but I couldn't help feeling that the finale was somewhat anticlimactic. I thought McNally was a lot smarter than getting ID'd by a narc detective, and he probably should have just dropped the getaway effort until it was a safer bet. When all was said and done, the pickup alley of the title never came into play, the bad guy got nailed right out in the open.
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Another European-American hybrid 50s film with middling results.
MartinHafer24 May 2016
In the 1950s, American actors were in demand in European films. It seems that it was far cheaper to make movies there and by bringing in one or two big-name or semi-big name American actors the movie would have greater international appeal. So the likes of Richard Basehart, Anthony Quinn and many other mostly B-list actors made there way to Europe, though a few, such as Alan Ladd, were big name stars. Almost as big as Ladd at that time was Victor Mature and here he stars as, what else, an American in Europe!

The film finds American Cop, Charles Sturgis (Mature) in Europe to try to break up an international drug smuggling outfit. His part in the film was at best mildly interesting...as mostly he played the stereotypical angry, blustering American. What WAS interesting was the leader of the baddies. While you don't think of Trevor Howard in such a role, he was vicious and very exciting to watch...and sadly he was barely in the film! As a result of this and a mediocre script, the film has 'time-passer' written all over it and nothing more.
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Dope...where do you get? Where does it come from?
michaelRokeefe17 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Film Noir concerning drug trafficking and revenge. The rugged Victor Mature plays a U.S. Narcotics agent, Charles Sturgis, who's sister was murdered trying to pass on information about a drug dealer. Sturgis will become a man obsessed tracking down an international drug boss Frank McNally(Trevor Howard). This will not be an easy self-assigned task since the drug kingpin has above average abilities of disguise. Sturgis will follow a beautiful accomplice, Gina Broger(Anita Ekberg)through "pickup alleys" in not just New York, but Spain, Italy and England too. Interpol will recommend special help.

This movie runs 1 hr and 32 minutes, but at times seems a lot longer. You might say there is a lack of action; but you have Ekberg to follow around. Acting is not her strong suit. As for Mature, his characters may change, but his acting method appears to stay the same. Some nice European scenery.

Other players: Bonar Colleano, Peter Illing, Martin Benson, Dorothy Allison and Sydney Tafler.
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ordinary crime
Kirpianuscus22 May 2018
Drugs, Anita Eckberg and Victor Mature. and, at the first sigh, nothing more. because something missing to transform the film in more than ordinary crime. sure, few scenes are more than interesting. few performances are real inspired. but all seems be too well known. the girl, the bad guy, the detective. Victor Mature seems prisoner of a sort of sketch of his roles. Trevor Howard is the basic pillar of the film but in few scenes he is uninspired used. the film is out of emotion or real interest. nothing bad. if you ignore its potential.
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