domingo, 28 de septiembre de 2008

Pickup on South Street

Pickup on South Street (2004 DVD)
Directed by Sam Fuller
USA, 1953
In English

There's nothing like watching a grumpy old man pretend he invented patriotism to put you in the mood for a black and white movie from the Red Scare era, but even people who buy into John McCain's condescending "country first" flagwaving should find something of interest here. In this gritty '53 noir, apolitical pickpocket Skip McCoy (a sneering Richmard Widmark) finds way more than he bargains for after he picks somewhat dimwitted go-between Candy's purse on an NYC subway train--neither one of the characters initially realizing that Candy's intended delivery had featured a strip of microfilm with top secret info being peddled to the communists. When the cops and the feds get involved and the reds realize they're in danger of losing the classified information that they'd paid for, McCoy and Candy (Jean Peters) get sucked into a web of criminal and political intrigue where personal and political loyalties are all up for sale and seemingly everyone's out for themselves.

Fuller does a fine job of keeping the action moving, and a series of excellently-chosen Manhattan location shots gives this 80-minute movie an edgy urban feel akin to a rough draft of the crime films shot there in the '60s and the '70s. The political angle's approached in a fairly crafty way--Fuller himself has stated that Pickup was condemned as pro-Communist by conservatives and anti-Communist by leftists--so don't be surprised if the grandmotherly stool pigeon (Thelma Ritter) turns out to be the most morally-grounded and "likeable" character in the lot. Unfortunately, while Widmark and Peters cause sparks to fly in their scenes together, the relationship that develops between the pickpocket and his victim is the lone plot element that drags things down a bit. All in all, great film, totally entertaining, no partisan pandering...just one cheesy love story short of a masterpiece. (

Richard Widmark strikes a blow for the right with his left!

5 comentarios:

  1. I love old movies!! Well, many of them...the acting is so different than today.Thanks for posting on this.

    oh, and if you stop by
    you'll find a little something :)

  2. Bethany,

    Old movies do indeed rock from time to time, but I can always make my wife squirm by offering her a chance to watch a silent movie with me. Suddenly, she has a million other things she needs to do!

    En cuanto al post en tu blog, gracias por las palabras tan amables. "I heart bilingual" too! ¡Un abrazo!

  3. It's all very well. I have been trying to make an entry of A Road To Perdition as Paul Newman passed away and I watched that on TV. I had it on HDD. There was a nice song by Louis Armstrong, too. But I just have been too busy with my Barcelona trip - and then it will not be actual anymore:-( How are you doing?

  4. Merike,

    I'm going to read all about your Barcelona trip this weekend, but I'm very jealous that you're there and I'm here. Let me know if you want to trade places! De totes maneres, estàs parlant el català o el espanyol durant les vacances? Adéu!

  5. I haven't written all:-) Besides, I met two nice bloggers... We spoke French which is not my best language:-) But it is amazing to see how quickly you learn again something you have long ago forgotten! Trying to learn català and reading other blogs is a hard job for an old girl. But Barna was superb as always. Many surprises..