MovieChat Forums > Pickup on South Street (1953) Discussion > McCarthysm in cinema, and incredible plo...

McCarthysm in cinema, and incredible plot elements

I can't believe the high score on this site. The movie is reasonably well made, and is entertaining to watch, but the whole premise is so juvenile. Those evil commies are so, so bad, that they make the criminals look good. I guess back then it would have been easy to tell the public that communists ate babies for breakfast.

Other posters have commented on how the gal falls in love so quickly and completely for a two-bit subway pickpocket. That's as much a fairy-tale as the depiction of commies as diabolic evil doers. Moe being a "well-known stoolie" is almost laughable; she would have been beaten up, or worse, by any pickpocket worth his salt.

The fact that Skip dressed better than the cops and knew how to use the public library and a microfilm reader was also a stretch, but that's the type of suspension of disbelief we viewers can put up with.

Overall, 5.5/10 would be a generous score for this cold war-era piece of propaganda.


I disagree with almost everything.

To me, yes, the film is simplistic and corny. That's not bad - it's getting caught up in a dream with x number of other people sharing the same dream at the same time (not my analogy, BTW).

Not sure about the stoolie getting beaten up - she made me believe her while I was watching the movie. I understand Sam Fuller used material he had learned while a crime reporter - I am guessing Moe was based on one or more real people that Fuller knew as a reporter....? Maybe not.

Regarding the propaganda aspect, I heard that Hoover disliked the film. When we saw it at Revivals at the Charles here in Baltimore (MD, USA) the anti-Red stuff got a lot of laughs. I can't say for sure that that's what Fuller intended, but to me he was toeing the company line while at the same time exaggerating it enough to make it ridiculous to sophisticated viewers.