Monday, August 25, 2008

A Somewhat Gratuitous Thought on Samuel Fuller's Masterpiece Pickup on South Street

Richard Widmark, you can pick my pockets and unknowingly steal my communist microfilm anytime.

Ignoring my huge infatuation with the tough, take no prisoners Richard Widmark after this and Kiss of Death (in which he pushes a cripple down a flight of stairs!), Pickup on South Street is a fantastic film. It's one of those films that you don't quite expect to be so amazing, but at the end all your left thinking is "Damn, this film is a masterpiece!" Widmark was excellent as the sneering anti-hero who plays both the police and the communists against each other for more money. Jean Peters, as the female lead, was unexpectedly good since the females in these types of movies tend to be one dimensional, we-need-a-good-looker-here roles. Then, of course, there's Thelma Ritter as the world-wise purveyor of information about the two-bit thieves who operate in her neighborhood. Not only is Moe the greatest, most in-depth character Ritter was every given to work with but she also does some of the best acting of her career (especially in her final scene, a real tearjerker it is). A

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