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Pickup on South Street

USA 1953. Dir: Samuel Fuller. 80 min. DCP

NEW DCP RESTORATION! ► “A superb thriller ... A desperate kind of masterpiece” (Time Out), the lurid Pickup on South Street is a leading exemplar of pulp-fiction primitive Sam Fuller's brutally kinetic cinema. Richard Widmark is “three-time loser” Skip McCoy, a New York pickpocket who finds himself dangerously embroiled in Cold War espionage when he inadvertently lifts some microfilm from the purse of Candy (Jean Peters), former mistress of a Red spy. The action unfolds in a sensationally shadowy, shabby universe of subways, waterfronts, and seedy rooms. Thelma Ritter, as lovable stool-pigeon Moe — “What do I know about Commies? Nothing. I just know I don't like them.” — earned an Oscar nomination for her supporting role. “The most claustrophobic American film before Psycho, and the finest distillation of Fuller’s tabloid sensibility” (Charles Taylor, Village Voice).


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REVIEWS

"[A] highly embroidered presentation of a slice of life in the New York underworld ... Violence bursts in every sequence."

Bosley Crowther | full review

"Some of Fuller's films may be more personal and idiosyncratic than 1953's Pickup On South Street, but none have better exemplified his no-nonsense journalistic ethos ... A diamond-cut crime drama."

AV Club | full review