Review: Pickup on South Street

Another great film noir from Samuel Fuller who wrote and directed this classic.  We have noir legend Richard Widmark and femme fatale great Jean Peters as our leads.  Throw in Thelma Ritter for a little character and we have the making of one of the top noir films from the classic era.

Our story starts with Widmark stealing the wallet out of Peters’ purse on the subway.  Peters in being followed at the time by an F.B.I. agent and goes to the police.  Enter Ritter who helps the F.B.I. and police finger Widmark as the pick pocket.  Peters goes to her boyfriend and tells him she has lost the microfilm she was carrying for him. as it was in her wallet.  Widmark has everybody chasing him for this microfilm and he doesn’t even know what it is.  Will our hero make it out alive?  What is on the microfilm?  Why is the F.B.I. interested?  Who are the bad guys that will do almost anything to get it back?

All three big stars are great in this one and I enjoyed all their performances.  You can’t go wrong with classic noir dialog like this one:

“I’ve got almost enough to buy both the stone and the plot.”

“If you lost that kitty, it’s Potter’s Field.”

“This I do not think is a very funny joke, Captain Tiger!”

“I just meant you ought to be careful how you carry your bankroll.”

“Look, Tiger, if I was to be buried in Potter’s Field, it would just about kill me.”

A must see for classic film noir fans, especially those that are fans of any of the three stars or Samuel Fullers work.  After this film Peters moved up on my list of favorite femme fatales and I plan to go back and re-watch some of the other films I’ve seen with her in it.

Favorite Tidbit:  Jean Peters was not the first choice for this role of Candy.  Names like Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Shelley Winters where all up for consideration in one way or another.  Fuller went with Peters and I got to say, he made the right choice.