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Pickup on South Street

Pickup on South Street (1953)

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No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 4,259

My Rating

Movie Info

Joey, lowlife grifter, and his unsuspecting girlfriend, Candy, become involved in what appears to be a simple matter of corporate theft. But, it turns out to have grave international implications when Candy's wallet is stolen. Now, Joey and Candy are the key to saving the world from Communism.

Unrated,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Samuel Fuller

Nov 8, 2005

Twentieth Century Fox

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (3) | DVD (12)

Pickup for the most part falls flat on its face and borders on presumably unintended, comedy.

December 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sam Fuller, who wrote it and directed, appears to have been more concerned with firing a barrage of sensations than with telling a story to be believed.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perhaps finally flawed by its overt political assumptions, but the film remains a desperate kind of masterpiece.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It isn't his best, but this 1953 feature may be the archetypal Sam Fuller film, a condensation of his themes and techniques with the steam still rising.

October 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Almost perfect.

May 14, 2009
ColeSmithey.com

Both Widmark and Peters are superb, but it is Ritter, as the seedy but much-loved Moe, who gives the film its emotional punch.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Definitely one of the best film noir movies I've seen so far.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Great noir piece with Richard Widmark complementing Samuel Fuller's direction.

March 9, 2006
Video-Reviewmaster.com

80 minutes of breathless genre fun infused with pure, uninhibited passion.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Engagingly captures the hysteria over Reds and the underworld scene of the early 1950s.

February 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Along with Shock Corridor (1963), arguably [Fuller's] finest work.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

One of Fuller's most compelling films.

July 19, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The 1953 picture does a nice job capturing the mentality of the Cold War United States.

June 3, 2004

Fuller [took] genuine chances, [creating] moments of power unequaled by many more respectable directors.

April 12, 2004 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

One of Fuller's few studio-financed pictures, this bruising, brutal movie still manages to emanate waves of B-movie street cred at every juncture.

March 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It's probably been a while since you watched a film as tough as Pickup On South Street.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Fuller's most accessible film, crackling and frenetic.

March 2, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

hardly a landmark

October 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com | Comments (2)
Filmcritic.com

Opens with a scene that is downright dazzling, even by today's standards.

September 30, 2002
Planet Sick-Boy

Audience Reviews for Pickup on South Street

Pickup On South Street is one of the most brilliant movies ever made. An example of the directing: When Candy (Jean Peters) starts going through her purse and notices her wallet is missing, an alarm goes off in the background in the building she's in -- as if it's an alarm going off in her head. It's not cartoon-like -- it's subtly woven into the background in a way that strikes you on a subconscious level until you've seen the film a few times and it just "clicks" that there's an alarm bell going off when she starts frantically going through her bag.

Richard Widmark is way on top of his game as a smart-alec -- he's really great -- but the highlight performance of the film was the first scene for "Moe," the street peddler/informer, played by Thelma Ritter. Later, in her apartment, you are not seeing a movie -- you're seeing a real person. I've never seen anyone "act" so real I felt like I was looking into a real room until Ritter's performance -- right down to the way her hair stuck out a bit when she removed her hat.

About a million other things just *worked,* from the way Lightning Louie picks up money with his chopsticks to the way Candy's jewelry clicks when she flicks Moe's hand away from her brooch, to the way Moe gets the dollars and change from the police captain across the FBI guy's chest -- and even the way the captain opens his filing cabinet, like he's been doing it in that way in that room for many years. "Pickup On South Street" is detailed moves (directing) with consummate performances (acting) and superb now-nostalgic visuals of the day, such as the panel truck, the boards leading to the shack out on the water, the dumbwaiter, -- and the unforgettable place Skip stashes his pocket pickings. Wonderful stuff.

"Pickup On South Street" is also one of the few movies where, even though the characters aren't perfect, you do care about them -- perhaps because they have been somewhat branded by their pasts in ways that are hard to escape: Skip as a "three-time loser" and Candy as a youngish woman who has "knocked around" a lot. When these people behave a little more badly than you'd expect, it's in sort of novel ways that make it seem you're looking in at people you'd never otherwise imagine -- and yet you know that they are possible because the actors make them so recognizably human. 5 Stars. 4-20-13
April 24, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

One of the great film noir's and my favorite early work of Sam Fuller.
October 31, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

A classic Sam Fuller film Noir. While it features all of the trappings of a detective story during the peak years of the Red Scare (communist spies, atomic espionage), Fuller makes these characters multi-dimensional. Not only are the cops less than honorable in their pursuit of the criminals, but the criminals themselves aren't particularly maladjusted people. In fact, Fuller shows that in many ways they are a victim of circumstance. Americans aren't basking in their lavish houses and doing their part to preserve their freedom and access to copious amounts of material wealth. Many have been worn down by the system and find that getting popped by a "red" is better than facing another day. And sometimes...just sometimes, being a pickpocket is more honorable than being a cop.
With this, Fuller throws a monkey wrench in the classic battle between American good versus Communist evil. I don't know how this one got passed the censorship, but maybe as long as Communists were vilified, then they didn't care so much about the subtext. It is a smart and subtly subversive noir and is well worth a watch.
June 27, 2011
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Utterly brilliant movie, I loved Widmark's performance, I just fell in love with him by watching this movie. If you love 50s thrillers, you can't miss this one.
November 7, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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