Tag: Pickup on South Street

June 16, 2008 / / Film Notes

pickup on south street 2Pickup on South Street – dir. Samuel Fuller – 1953

Samuel Fuller didn’t fool around; he was not out to prettify film and once said being restricted to little or no budget was a blessing: “The cheaper the budget, the grittier the film”. And boy, are his films gritty! From the start of his career, Fuller fine-tuned a technique that was taut and raw, a bald tire style that makes you think everything and everyone in his films is going to explode at any moment. He did not embrace and had no patience for the lush, velour shades of a Lubitsch or a Capra; he didn’t give a damn if his pictures fell easily on the eye. He was concerned that they depict accurately that slice of the world he grew up in and knew, a world where you could as easily be kissed as killed,where one minute, you are being romanced by a handsome thug and being rubbed out by him like a half-smoked cigarette the next. Fuller celebrated low-life and the denizens of New York the way children celebrate birthdays — with noisemakers, pop guns and glee, and he made no apologies for accusations that he glorified crime – being Sam Fuller meant never having to say you’re sorry. His films were not blockbusters in their day; Time has turned them into lasting gems for now we see the honest tales they told; time capsule artifacts of a period in our history that truly was unique.

June 16, 2008 / / Film Notes

By: Melvin Cartagena

Pickup on South Street – dir. Samuel Fuller – 1953 pickup on south street 1

The title crowning this piece of writing comes from the mouth of Mr. Fuller himself. In Jean-Luc Goddard’s 1965 film Pierrot Le Fou, he explains his philosophy of film to Jean Paul Belmondo as: “The film is like a battleground. Love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word…” In House of Bamboo, gang boss Sandy Dawson barges into Griff’s house while he’s soaking in the little wooden tub, shoots him dead, and then talks to the corpse, tender and bitter-like, patting the dead man’s head like it’s his betraying lover.
In Pickup On South Street, when Candy goes to Skip’s shack to talk to him, Skip knocks her out in the dark, wakes her up by pouring beer in her face, and while he touches the bruise on her lips they caress each other with the tenderness of old lovers.

“The heat of the story is what I’m interested in.” – Samuel Fuller

This is about Pickup On South Street.