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Pickup on South Street (The Criterion Collection)

4.3 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Petty crook Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) has his eyes fixed on the big score, but when he picks the purse of unsuspecting Candy (Jean Peters) he finds a haul bigger than he could imagine: a strip of microfilm bearing confidential U.S. secrets. Tailed by both Feds and the unwitting courier's Communist puppeteers, Skip and Candy find themselves in a precarious gambit that pits greed against redemption, Right versus Red, and passion against self preservation. A dazzling cast, hardboiled repartee and director Samuel Fuller's signature raw energy combine to create a true film noir classic.

Special Features

  • New transfer with restored image and sound
  • Exclusive Interview with director Samuel Fuller, made by renowned film critic Richard Schickel
  • Excerpts from Cinema Cinemas series with Fuller discussing the making of the film
  • Illustrated biographical essay on Fuller by Jeb Brody
  • Complete Fuller poster filmography
  • Stills gallery of photos, lobby cards, and original paintings by noted artist Russell Christian
  • Trailers for 8 Fuller films
  • 20-page booklet including excerpts from Fuller's autobiography A Third Face

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Murvyn Vye, Richard Kiley
  • Directors: Samuel Fuller
  • Writers: Samuel Fuller, Dwight Taylor
  • Producers: Jules Schermer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00012L786
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,149 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pickup on South Street (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2004
Format: DVD
This is one of the finest low budget crime films of the fifties, one that manages to get an extraordinary number of things right. After a dozen years of film noir and tough detective films, one would have imagined that most of the angles would have been tried and worked to exhaustion, but PICKUP ON NOON STREET managed to be amazingly fresh and original. It is also a multi-layered film. On one level, it is an espionage film, with federal authorities, with the help of local police in New York, on the trail of a group selling secrets to the Communists. Interestingly, the collaborators are not treated as political individuals, but utterly unprincipled capitalists. As Joey, Richard Kiley's character, puts it early in the film to his former girlfriend Candy, "How many times do I have to tell you we're not criminals. This is big business."

The film features a first rate cast. Except possibly for his screen debut in KISS OF DEATH, Richard Widmark was never better than he was in this film as three-time loser pickpocket Skip McCoy. The ultimate anti-hero, McCoy's motives are complex and opaque, even at the end. Jean Peters, later Mrs. Howard Hughes (to whom she was married from 1957 to 1971), is fetching as Candy, a shady dame with a past but with the proverbial heart of gold. Richard Kiley is suitably slimy as Joey, the seller of secrets to the Communists. Kiley would later (after his voice darkened) become the narrator for dozens upon dozens of National Geographic specials (such a familiar voice that they joke in JURAISSAC PARK about getting him to do the voice over for their guided tour).
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Format: DVD
For those who appreciate the fine acting of Thelma Ritter, this film is a must-have (along with Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window"). Her portrayal as the informant is a classic role for one of the best supporting actresses Hollywood has ever seen.
Richard Widmark also lends one of the greatest performances of his career, right up there with his roles in "Kiss of Death" (1947) and "Judgement at Nuremburg" (1961). The Criterion release provides a magnificent restoration of this underrated film noir gem.
I am rather baffled as to the clueless wonder at Amazon.com who tagged this motion picture with an NC-17 rating. Either that person didn't see the film, or the lights are on but nobody's home. "Pickup on South Street" isn't a skin flick. It is one of the greatest dramatic thrillers of the 1950's.
Get this DVD on Criterion. It's an essential classic for any serious film collector.
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Format: VHS Tape
The face of film noir wouldn't have been the same without the distinctive face of Richard Widmark who exploded into the genre with his memorably over-the-top performance as baddie Tommy Udo in 1947's Kiss of Death. For my money, however, it's the underrated Victor Mature who really carries that film, although Widmark gets all the flashy scenes (his pushing of a wheelchair-bound Mildred Dunnock down the stairs is widely considered one of the cruelest in film history).
In Jules Dassin's Night and the City (1950) and Pickup on South Street, however, Widmark truly comes into his own with two of the finest film noir performances of all time. The stage trained actor had added some substance to the flash. You find yourself sympathizing with the callous Skip McCoy (Pickup on South Street) and nervous Harry Fabian (Night and the City) despite their bad qualities. There's an underlying vulnerability behind all the tough talk and rough gestures (the fact that Widmark looked so undernourished in the '50s may have also had something to do with it).
With the uncompromising Sam Fuller (Shock Corridor) at the helm and Thelma Ritter (All About Eve, Rear Window) in a scene-stealing supporting role, you can't go wrong. An essential release for the film noir afficionado.
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Format: VHS Tape
The camera angles, the emotion, the violent outbursts of its characters and the suspense can be sensed in every frame of this film. Sam Fuller did create a masterpiece and it won him the Best Film Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1954 - deservedly!
The acting: Widmark is at his best. His Skip is a bomb threatening to explode any time. This is probably Jean Peters's best acting job in a movie. This actress has a lot of fire in her that she seems to keep under control, but - like Widmark - you can sense it can explode any time. Thelma Ritter (who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance) is tops as well and so is Richard Killey. These four actors in fact should have all been nominated for awards and certainly the film should have been - but that was Hollydwood in the 50's - the film was controversial, a film noir at that and Cinemascope and spectacles had entered the picture and sweeping all the awards then selected by fools enchanted with special effects, color and big screens.
This film is a jewel and it should be given more attention, more credit, and you should see it!!!
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Better than most film noir entries, Samuel Fuller's PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET explores the life of a pickpocket who gets in over his head. Skip McCoy picks a pocket on the subway, and gets classified government documents for his troubles.
The police convince a woman to help them find Skip and the microfilm, and heavy drama ensues. Thelma Ritter is especially good as the informant. Today her acting would be considered over-the-top and unconvincing, but for the time, it was a standout performance. Widmark is excellent as the pickpocket, with his portrayal only rivalled by his work in KISS OF DEATH (also a must-see film noir).
As a landmark film for Widmark and Ritter, as well as for director Samuel Fuller, PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET is a must-see for fans of 1940s cinema and film noir.
ken32
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