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Pickup on South Street

Pickup on South Street (1953) - Samuel Fuller

Brief Sinopsis : Richard Widmark plays a "fresh out of jail" pickpocketer, who unknowingly steals a film destined for Communist agents and therefore becomes trapped between police and Communist spy ring.

After being impressed with Richard Widmark's performance in Kiss of Death, I got this flick as a recommendation from edarsenal. And I have to say it was a good one...

Pickup on South Street was gritty, dark and nicely scripted. I liked the atmposhere the film had established and the whole NY underground setting seemed realistic. Eventough the story was pretty straight-forward, it was nonetheless very riveting and entertaining.

Widmark was the film's corner-stone and his charismatic and strong presence is what made the movie for me. What a cool cat this guy is... I really need to see more of his work. His first scene with Jean Peters was my favourite one, because of its sheer rawness and intensity. And their chemistry in general was very nice.

The supporting cast was pretty strong aswell, especially six time Oscar nominee Thelma Ritter, who rightfully snatched one of her nominations for the role of a professional informer, also perhaps the most tragic character in this film. She really put on a acting clinic in her closing scene.

Only thing that kinda bothered me was, how abruptly Peters character fell in love with Widmark. I thought that segment could have been more carefully developed and introduced.

I also admired how Widmark's character was constructed. On the surface he's a violent, distrustful criminal with no attachment to anyone, but later we discover he has somewhat of a decent side and some basic moral values. This added a nice human touch to his character.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable 50's Noir ,with an engaging atmosphere and some nice performances.