Pickup on South Street [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1953]

The Criterion Collection's typically splendid DVD release of Samuel Fuller's nervy slice of film noir is not only an excellent presentation of a classic piece of genre moviemaking, but an engaging and enthusiastic tribute to Fuller and his unique style. Pickup on South Street has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono; both the sound and the image are excellent, with the picture especially sharp and clean without belying its chemical origins. The dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles, but no multiple language options. As usual, Criterion has added an excellent selection of relevant bonus materials. Most notable is a filmed interview with Fuller, conducted by film critic Richard Schickel, in which the director talks about his philosophy of filmmaking and the production of Pickup on South Street. A short film produced for French television is also included, in which Fuller watches and discusses the first ten minutes of the picture. Additional extras include an illustrated biographical essay on Fuller, a gallery of film posters, a collection of trailers for Fuller's pictures (including Pickup on South Street), and a booklet featuring an extended excerpt from Fuller's autobiography, as well as short appreciations by Martin Scorsese and Luc Sante. In short, this release of Pickup on South Street is an absolute must for Samuel Fuller enthusiasts, regardless of their familiarity with the movie.
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Overview

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Exclusive video interview with the late Sam Fuller, made by renowned film critic Richard Schickel
  • "Cinéma Cinémas: Fuller," French television show with Fuller discussing the making of the film
  • Illustrated biographical essay on Fuller
  • Complete Fuller poster filmography
  • Stills galleries of photos, lobby cards, and original paintings
  • Trailers for eight Sam Fuller films
  • 20-page booklet including excerpts from Fuller's award-winning autobiography "A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking," featuring Martin Scorsese's introduction, and Fuller on Pickup on South Street, plus a new essay by acclaimed cultural historian Luc Sante ("Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, Evidence")
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Pickup on South Street
Samuel Fuller scarcely used Dwight Taylor's source material, a languid courtroom romance, in crafting this pugnacious potboiler. Pickup on South Street is strictly Fuller film noir -- lean and wicked straight to its core. Barely out of prison, loner and pickpocket Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) quietly helps himself to the contents of a woman's purse. His beautiful victim, Candy (Jean Peters), turns out to be an unwitting courier for the communist underground; McCoy's booty is actually microfilmed U.S. government secrets, formerly en route to Moscow. Both the FBI and Candy's employers are desperate to retrieve the film. The apolitical and arrogant McCoy has a plan to play both ends against the middle and come up ahead. However, dealing with the authorities may mean life in the clink, and the sadistic communists would rather kill McCoy than pay him off. He quickly becomes embroiled with Candy, who will risk everything to right her wrongs, and eventually even more to save her new man. When McCoy loses a cohort and Candy is almost killed, the cocksure pickpocket finds a stronger motivation than personal gain. ~ Aubry Anne D'Arminio, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Richard Widmark
    Richard Widmark - Skip McCoy
  • Jean Peters
    Jean Peters - Candy
  • Thelma Ritter
    Thelma Ritter - Moe
  • Murvyn Vye
    Murvyn Vye - Capt. Dan Tiger
  • Richard Kiley
    Richard Kiley - Joey
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