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"Pickup on South Street" (1953)

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mongoII
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"Pickup on South Street" (1953)

Postby mongoII » May 10th, 2007, 9:05 pm

Directed by Samuel Fuller, who also wrote the screenplay, "Pickup on South Street" is a tough, brutal, well made film about a pickpocket (Richard Widmark) who inadvertently aquires top-secret microfilm and becomes a target for espionage agents.
Also involved are Jean Peters as a tough broad who is used as a courier by her evil ex-lover Richard Kiley. It's film-noir at its best and although the performances are very good its grand character actress Thelma Ritter who steals the movie. As Moe a weary street peddler selling neck ties (and who also sells information) she is terrific in a role that brought her another Oscar nomination.
Its amazing that Miss Ritter was nominated six times for an Academy Award and she never won. This should have been the role that copped it for her!

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mongoII
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Postby mongoII » May 28th, 2007, 8:37 pm

Am I to assume that no one on the Silver Screen Oasis site has seen the great noir "Pickup on South Street"?
Or perhaps since it is a 20th Century-Fox picture not many had the chance to see it?
The good news is that the movie is out on DVD and VHS.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Postby Mr. Arkadin » May 28th, 2007, 9:46 pm

I've seen it. I liked Ritter's performance, but I am not a big fan of this film. I much prefered Widmark's performance in Night and the City (1950) to this one.

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » May 28th, 2007, 9:57 pm

Mongo asked:
"Am I to assume that no one on the Silver Screen Oasis site has seen the great noir "Pickup on South Street"?"

Mongo, my man, I have lost track of how many times I've seen PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET. It ranks in the top 20 of my favorite films of all time. Not just noir films, but of all the films I've ever seen. I'm a huge fan of the director, Samuel Fuller, and I think this is his best film.

And you're absolutely right about Thelma Ritter; she's outstanding in this film, adding a dimension of compassion that many crime / noir films lack. Her "exit" scene is almost too unbearable to watch.

But what I appreciate most about this film is the non-judgemental way Fuller treats his main protagonists, Richard Widmark and Jean Peters. Both characters are outsiders who operate on the fringes of respectable society. He's a petty thief and a two-time loser, she's a "B" girl who can't get a break. Together, however, they find a way to achieve redemption and it never seems phony or contrived. It's a beautiful film--harsh and sometimes vulgar--but beautiful nonetheless.

Oh, and the music; Leigh Harline's pulsating theme (under Lionel Newman's direction) resonates throughout the entire film underscoring each moment with just the right amount of tension and excitement; one of the best noir soundtracks ever. The Criterion DVD provides a beautiful transfer and is worth every penny it costs.

(I've meant to respond to your original post but it slipped through the cracks; thanks for the reminder!)

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vallo
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Postby vallo » May 29th, 2007, 10:04 am

I have the film and Yes, Ritter was over-looked. I love the premise of the film. Widmark is always good. Sam Fuller is a favorite Director of mine, love The Steel Helmet, The Big Red One, Fixed Bayonets! He was a real character..

vallo
"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."
-Burt Lancaster

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traceyk
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Postby traceyk » June 12th, 2007, 1:41 pm

I just got this film in the mail yesterday and plan to watch it this weekend.
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » June 12th, 2007, 2:10 pm

You're in for a great ride, Tracey! PICK-UP is one sensational film!!

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movieman1957
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Re: "Pickup on South Street" (1953)

Postby movieman1957 » March 14th, 2011, 10:26 am

I loved Thelma. It was nice to see her in a role where she wasn't a maid. Jean Peters gets beat up a lot. Good cast and all but I found the end odd and parts of the middle a bit slow. It has great atmosphere and some really good scenes. I can't say I loved it.

It was a Criterion on disc loaded with extras. It includes two sections with interviews with Fuller.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Professional Tourist
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Re: "Pickup on South Street" (1953)

Postby Professional Tourist » March 20th, 2011, 10:15 pm

For those in the U.S. who may be interested, this film is currently available to view for free on Hulu. But it expires in eleven days.

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MissGoddess
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Re: "Pickup on South Street" (1953)

Postby MissGoddess » March 21st, 2011, 3:09 pm

Thank you, PT, I've had it in my queue for a re-watch, I may take this option instead.
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