Pickup on South Street

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“Pickup on South Street” it’s a thriller film of 1953 directed by Samuel Fuller. It is considered one of the best films of the genre and one of Fuller’s most important works.

The plot revolves around a pickpocket named Skip McCoy, played by Richard Widmark. One day, McCoy steals the wallet of Candy, a young woman who is later found to be involved in an industrial espionage operation. The wallet contains top secret information that is desired not only by the police, but also by a foreign spy network. McCoy then finds himself drawn into a dangerous game between the police, foreign spies and members of the New York underworld.

One of the distinctive aspects of “Pickup on South Street” is the raw and realistic atmosphere that Samuel Fuller creates through vigorous storytelling and intense staging. The film explores themes such as betrayal, patriotism and ethics, offering a dark and disillusioned vision of American society at the time .

Skip McCoy’s character is a charming and cynical anti-hero who tries to use the situation to his advantage, but ultimately finds himself embroiled in a moral dilemma. The film also offers a strong female representation through the character of Candy, played by Jean Peters, who proves to be a brave and intelligent woman.

“Pickup on South Street” is also known for its breathtaking action sequences and the tension that builds as the story unfolds. Fuller effectively uses the urban spaces of New York, especially the South Street neighborhood, to create a sense of realism and authenticity.

The film was critically acclaimed for its brilliant writing, energetic direction and intense performances. It is considered a classic of the noir genre and an excellent example of Samuel Fuller’s talent as a director. “Pickup on South Street” represents a combination of entertainment and social commentary, providing an immersive cinematic experience for fans of the noir movie.

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Plot

The plot of “Pickup on South Street” revolves around the protagonist Skip McCoy (played by Richard Widmark), an unscrupulous pickpocket operating in the South Street neighborhood of New York. His life takes a dangerous turn when he decides to steal the wallet of a young woman named Candy ( played by Jean Peters) on a crowded subway.

What Skip doesn’t know is that Candy is involved in an industrial espionage operation. The wallet that Skip stole contains microfilms containing classified information that is of great interest to US authorities and a foreign spy network. When Candy discovers her wallet has been stolen, she becomes the target of foreign spies and an FBI investigation.

The police, led by Officer Zara (played by Willis Bouchey), try to track down Skip to recover the microfilm. Meanwhile, Moe (played by Thelma Ritter), a spy working for foreign spies, is determined to get the microfilm at any cost and tries to convince Skip to hand it to her.

Skip, who is initially only interested in money, begins to realize the importance of the information he has in hand and decides to use the situation to his advantage. Ultimately, however, he is faced with a moral dilemma: he must choose between self-interest and loyalty to his country.

Tensions build as Skip finds himself drawn into a dangerous game of intrigue, betrayal and action. Over the course of the film, secrets and suspicions emerge, and Skip and Candy find themselves facing increasingly dangerous situations.

“Pickup on South Street” features a series of twists, situations of imminent danger and a gripping ending that tests the main characters.

The plot of the film explores themes such as loyalty, patriotism, morality and ethics, offering a critical look at the American society of the time and the dynamics of power.

“Pickup on South Street” is an immersive and well-crafted noir thriller, offering a gripping story and unforgettable characters in a gritty and realistic urban setting.

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Movie Characters

pickup-on-south-street

“Pickup on South Street” features several key characters who contribute to the plot and plot of the film. Here is an overview of the film’s major characters:

Skip McCoy (played by Richard Widmark): He is the protagonist of the film, a cynical and ruthless pickpocket. After stealing Candy’s wallet, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous game of spies and intrigue. Throughout the film, he faces a moral dilemma regarding the fate of the secret information he is holding.

Candy (played by Jean Peters): She is a young woman involved in the industrial espionage operation. After losing his wallet containing the secret microfilm, he becomes the target of foreign spies and the FBI. Candy proves to be a brave and determined woman in trying to protect herself and her country.

Moe Williams (played by Thelma Ritter): She is a spy who works on behalf of foreign spies. She tries to get Skip to give her the microfilm, even though she doesn’t know the true importance of the classified information. Moe is a shady character who finds himself in a dangerous situation.

Agent Zara (played by Willis Bouchey): He is an FBI agent who leads the investigation into the case of the stolen microfilm. He is determined to track down the culprit and recover the secret information. Zara represents authority and law in the hunt for Skip.

These are the main characters of the film, but there are also other secondary characters who contribute to the plot, such as other FBI agents, foreign spies and members of the New York underworld. Each character has a specific role in the story and contributes to the tension and conflict within the film.

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Production

pickup-on-south-street

“Pickup on South Street” was directed by Samuel Fuller and produced by Jules Buck for 20th Century Fox. Production of the film occurred in 1952, with its official theatrical release in 1953.

Director Samuel Fuller, known for his bold style and socially relevant themes, also wrote the screenplay for the film. Fuller was known for his hands-on involvement in the making of his films, bringing his signature personal touch to every aspect of the production.

The film’s budget was relatively modest, but Fuller was able to make the most of the resources at his disposal. He used the authentic locations of New York’s South Street to create a realistic urban environment, emphasizing the gritty nature of the neighborhood and contributing to the film noir atmosphere.

The cast of the film included talented actors, with Richard Widmark in the lead role of Skip McCoy. Jean Peters played the role of Candy, while Thelma Ritter played Moe Williams. The actors helped bring their characters to life, delivering convincing and engaging performances.

“Pickup on South Street” was critically well received upon its release and achieved good commercial success. It received praise for its brilliant writing, bold direction, and strong performances. Over the years, the film has become a classic of the noir genre and has continued to be appreciated by film enthusiasts.

The production of “Pickup on South Street” demonstrated Samuel Fuller’s ability to create an engaging and thought-provoking film, despite the limited resources available. The end result is a memorable film noir that deftly combines suspense, action and relevant social themes.

Distribution and Reception

“Pickup on South Street” was released by 20th Century Fox in 1953. The film was critically well received and did well at the box office.

Critically, the film was praised for its intelligent writing, energetic direction by Samuel Fuller, and convincing performances from the cast. In particular, Richard Widmark was praised for his performance as the cynical and handsome pickpocket Skip McCoy. Jean Peters also received praise for her portrayal of Candy, a brave woman caught up in a dangerous espionage plot.

“Pickup on South Street” was also appreciated for its realistic and gritty depiction of urban life, using the authentic locations of South Street in New York to create an authentic and immersive atmosphere. The combination of suspense, action and social themes made the film compelling for the public and contributed to its popularity.

At the box office, the film achieved reasonable success, attracting good interest from the audience. His reputation has built over the years, and “Pickup on South Street” has become a classic of the noir genre, praised for its gripping narrative and visual impact.

Today, the film is considered one of Samuel Fuller’s best works and a notable example of the noir genre. He is often cited as a point of reference for his bold style and the way he tackles complex social issues within an emotional thriller.

Altogether, “Pickup on South Streetwas well received by critics and audiences alike, leaving a lasting imprint on the history of film noir and confirming Samuel Fuller’s mastery as a filmmaker.

Style

“Pickup on South Street” is widely recognized for its distinctive style, which reflects Samuel Fuller’s vision and talent as a director. Here are some of the stylistic elements that characterize the film:

Gritty realism: Fuller was known for his realistic depiction of urban life, and “Pickup on South Street” is no exception. The film uses the authentic locations of New York’s South Street to create an authentic and often dirty urban environment, which helps bring a feeling of realism and authenticity to the story.

Energetic Direction: Fuller is known for his energetic and engaging direction, which is felt throughout the film. It uses dynamic framing, sharp camera movements and fast cuts to create a frenetic pace and keep tension high. His skill in handling the action sequences and suspenseful scenes helps to keep the viewer on his toes throughout the film.

Sharp Dialogues: The screenplay written by Samuel Fuller features sharp and memorable dialogues. The characters speak directly and often cynically, reflecting the harsh reality of the urban underworld in which the story takes place. The dialogues help define the characters and create an intense atmosphere.

Social commentary: Like many of Fuller’s films, “Pickup on South Street” contains relevant social commentary. It tackles themes such as betrayal, patriotism and ethics, examining the dark side of American society at the time. Fuller uses the noir genre as a vehicle to explore these complex issues, offering a critical look at the condition Human.

Ambiguous characters: The characters of “Pickup on South Street” are complex and often ambiguous. No one is completely good or bad, but nuanced in their motivations and actions. This contributes to an atmosphere of uncertainty and tension, as one can never be certain of the intentions of the characters.

The combination of these stylistic elements gives “Pickup on South Street” its distinctive identity and makes it a classic of the noir genre. The film is notable for its gritty depiction, energetic direction, sharp dialogues and social commentary, delivering an immersive and memorable cinematic experience.

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Director

Samuel-Fuller

The director of “Pickup on South Street” is Samuel Fuller. Born August 12, 1912, in Worcester, Massachusetts, Fuller was one of American cinema’s most influential and distinctive filmmakers. He was known for his bold style, forthright writing, and insightful social commentary.

Fuller began his film career in the 1930s as a journalist and writer before entering the film industry as a screenwriter. He then made his directorial debut in 1949 with the film ‘I Shot Jesse James’. Over the next few years, he directed a string of critically acclaimed films, including “Fixed Bayonets!” (1951), “Steel Helmet” (1951) and, of course, “Pickup on South Street” (1953).

His distinctive style was characterized by an energetic and engaging direction, which used dynamic camera shots, sharp camera movements and fast cuts to create a fast pace. Fuller was adept at combining action and suspense with relevant social themes, offering critical commentary on American society of his time.

Many of Fuller’s films dealt with issues such as war, racism, corruption and social alienation. His direct and provocative approach has earned him a reputation as a courageous and visionary filmmaker. Fuller often worked with modest budgets, but was known for making the most of the resources at his disposal, creating powerful and emotionally intense works.

Samuel Fuller’s filmography includes a wide range of genres, from noir to western, from war cinema to social drama. He directed such films as “Shock Corridor” (1963), “The Naked Kiss” (1964) and “White Dog” (1982), which continue to be regarded as cinema classics.

Fuller was a respected auteur both at home and abroad, and his influence extends to many generations of subsequent filmmakers. He left a lasting impression on cinema with his unique and provocative vision, and his contribution to the noir genre is particularly significant. Samuel Fuller passed away on October 30, 1997, but his artistic legacy lives on through his films.

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