Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Samuel Fuller's "Pickup on South Street" (1959)

Samuel Fuller's Pickup on South Street is a gritty anti-communist film noir starring Richard Widmark as Skip McCoy, a petty thief who is fresh out of jail. When Skip nabs something from the wrong purse, he gets himself into an ordeal he just wasn't looking for. McCoy soon becomes involved with a police investigation of an international problem concerning communist activity. Samuel Fuller makes a statement here. He places this low life thief, brilliant played by Richard Widmark, as someone who is better than our Russian foes. That's at least the feeling I got from time to time.

Widmark's performance is the highlight of this film in my opinion. He's always great in whatever he does and this role was absolutely no different. This one places into the evil, creepy category for him once again. His performances are things that can simply lift a poor or weak storied film and make it something different. Luckily, Fuller has a fine story to back Widmark up with. The film is rather short so pacing is quick and kept up. Decisions are made fast and often.

Overall, Pickup on South Street is worth seeing as a film noir and time piece. It's a good realization of the kind of scare our country had in earlier years. I personally really enjoy that aspect of film. It's what makes them so timeless so very often. This is just a darn good film.


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