Fri, 11 May 2007
Sam Fuller's 1953 "Pickup on South Street" leaves open important questions that Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" will feel compelled to answer, and Fuller's film has a more timeless quality as a result. With artful minimalism, Fuller captures the claustrophobic paranoia of the HUAC era. He uses alternating points of view, pitting each character's vision of America against another's, to create narrative tension and an ambiguous moral. The film is a fork-tongued parable--a warning to all in power to be vigilant, but equally to all citizens to beware the "patriotic eyewash" that allows those with power to misuse it in times of crisis. Accordingly, Fuller's is a world populated by conflicted characters: slick pickpockets and savage cops, sinister federal agents and starry-eyed communist messengers, and hard-edged but soft-hearted street hustlers. Nobody's clean, but everyone has a shot at redemption if they're willing to suffer for it. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.