Tagline – How the law took a chance on a B-girl… and won!
Starring – Richard Widmark (Skip McCoy), Jean Peters (Candy), Thelma Ritter (Moe Williams).
Released – June, 1953
Directed By – Samuel Fuller
Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Description – The subway was crowded, and she was an easy mark for a skilled pickpocket like Skip McCoy. Taking the purse of Candy was the easy part; things will get a whole lot more difficult from here.
Unknown to Skip, inside Candy’s purse was a piece of top-secret microfilm that was to be passed by Candy to a Communist agent. Candy was just doing a favor for her ex-boyfried and didn’t know just what it was, or how important it is.
Also unknown, to both Candy and McCoy, was the fact that Government agents were watching her every move, knew of her destination, and saw McCoy take her purse.
When McCoy learns of the importance of just what he is in possession of he starts to get ideas. Meanwhile, Candy learns of McCoy’s whereabouts through Moe Williams, a police informer, and sets out to get the microfilm back through seduction.
Her efforts bring on another complication as she finds herself falling in love with McCoy. As for McCoy, he now has the Government agents, and the Communists agents, hot on his trail. Personally, he has no favorite and hopes to give the microfilm to the first party to come up with $25,000.
However, this pickpocket may have bitten off more than he can chew.
NOTABLE: Pickup On South Street received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Thelma Ritter).
Director Fuller turned down a number of more famous leading ladies for the role of Candy. They included Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Shelly Winters, Betty Grable, and initially Jean Peters. However, while having lunch in the studio’s commissary and meeting Peter’s once again, Fuller realized she was perfect, He liked her intelligence, spunkiness, and her ability to play different roles convincingly.
The initial script was ruled as unacceptable by the Production Code due to “excessive brutality and sadistic beatings, of both men and women.” Script revisions were necessary to get approval.
Pickup On South Street was shot in 20 days.
Personal Note: A great job by Director Samuel Fuller and the excellent cast. This is a very good Film Noir, suspenseful, tough, and violent.