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Pickup on South Street (The Criterion Collection) (1953)

Richard Widmark , Jean Peters , Samuel Fuller  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

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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 (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00012L786
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pickup on South Street (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully restored version of a Samuel Fuller classic September 5, 2004
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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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 1950's classic June 14, 2004
By tacks31
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 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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Face of Film Noir March 7, 2001
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let's have a small dose of straight talk." January 27, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw that someone categorized this as a mystery, and after watching Pickup on South Street (1953) last night, and I wondered if we saw the same film. I certainly wouldn't classify this as a mystery but a hard-boiled (just like I like my eggs) thriller/caper populated by interesting characters caught up in a situations beyond their control. Well, as my sweet, old Gammy always said, opinions are like fecal orifices, in everyone has one (technically, fecal orifices wasn't the exact term she would use, but common decency and review guidelines prevent me from printing what she would use). Written and directed by the legendary Hollywood curmudgeon Samuel Fuller (I feel comfortable enough calling him a legend since his passing in '97), the film stars Richard Widmark (Halls of Montezuma) and Jean Peters (Viva Zapata!), who was once married to famously nutty billionaire recluse Howard Hughes. Also appearing is Thelma Ritter (Rear Window, Pillow Talk), Murvyn Vye (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court), Richard Kiley (Blackboard Jungle), and Willis Bouchey (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Panic in Year Zero!).

Widmark plays Skip McCoy, a pickpocket (or cannon, as referred to in the film) and a three-time loser (meaning he was convicted and sent over three times, with a fourth conviction translating into life in prison) whose troubles began the day he picked the wrong pocket book on a crowded subway, one belonging to a comely muffin (seriously, the men kept calling her this in the film) named Candy (Peters).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Widmark is stunning!
I am such a fan of Richard Widmark. I have watched most of his movies and he has always delivered such compelling performances. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Verne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 1 month ago by Daniel Perrier
5.0 out of 5 stars Thelma Ritter as "Moe" -- best New York tough dame
Thelma Ritter as "Moe"
Watch her scenes, and know what a New York dame can be.
She sells ties -- as a cover for information,
she roams the streets and docks,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Annie Lanzillotto author of L is for Lion
5.0 out of 5 stars so tough and cynical Mickey Spillane is curled up in the corner...
Richard Widmark has got one of those faces where I bet you when he was born, his ma took one look at him and grabbed her purse tight. Read more
Published 2 months ago by H. Bala
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Value. Good Servive. Recommended.
Published 2 months ago by Bozopol1
5.0 out of 5 stars spy film noir
Top of the line spy film noir that doesn't have the guy at the end selling out to the cops. Richard Widmark retains his street honor. I really loved this film.
Published 4 months ago by Bartok Kinski
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Flick
Nice heat between Widmark and Jean Peters. Terrific story line.
Tight skirts are a beautiful thing! Though I must say that Jean looked very hot in Niagara as well. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Og Ogelby
3.0 out of 5 stars Routine Noir
There's nothing really special about this noir informed by Red Scare politics. I was expecting more because it was written and directed by Samuel Fuller but he doesn't imbue this... Read more
Published 12 months ago by David Baldwin
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange bedfellows.
I had high hopes for this film. With Sam Fuller directing, and Richard Widmark starring, I expected a film noir. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Notary Sojac
5.0 out of 5 stars Jean Peters Crazy Chick
A+ for this movie...I watch it over and over...too bad Jean Peters quit the business later...but kudos to her for being choosy.....Richard Widmark excels again... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Julie Nelson
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