“Pickup On South Street”: Pick Up, No Discarding

Pickup on South Street
Pickup on South Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sam Fuller  film, Pickup on South Street (1953), is probably the only movie ever made in which a prostitute, or former prostitute, is accused of being a subversive Communist.  But the woman in question, Candy (Jean Peters), simply doesn’t know the company she keeps, and is, it turns out, badly roughed up by a Communist.  Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark), a cynical thief, gets rough with her too—welcome to New York City—but later the two become, er, committed lovers.

Fashioned under the studio system, Pickup is better directed, more polished, than Fuller’s White Dog, and just as absorbing.  This despite a couple of defects in Fuller’s screenplay:  e.g. Thelma Ritter‘s character never would have stayed alive as long as she does.  I like most of the acting, except that Murvyn Vye, as a police captain, never changes his scowling expression.

 

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