Pickup On South Street (Originally watched and reviewed in 2013)
This film start’s off when a lowly pick-pocketing thief, called Skip McCoy, lifts the purse/wallet of a woman called Candy, which, unbeknownst to the pair of them, contains a microfilm of top secret information that should have gone to a communist informant.
I mean with a set up like that, what’s not to like? Unfortunately… the second half of the movie.
The problem I had with this film, is that all but one of the characters annoyed me. Or, the situations they were putting themselves in that drove the plot. The familiar face and dry wit of Thelma Ritter, who in this film is playing a police informant called Moe, was the only character I liked the whole time I was watching. She’s not so clean herself, but she’s in the know. She’s a stoolie, and that’s what makes her useful to the police. Well, that, and the clothes she sells to them from out of a brief case.
The rest, though, really irritated me. Joey knows what he’s doing with that information, but he’s too afraid to leave his apartment to do it himself, so he gets Candy to do all of the legwork. Candy does what’s asked of her, no questions asked. Even when she’s had the wallet stolen, she returns to Joey and does more bidding for him. He wants her to go back out and find who stole the wallet, because obviously it’s that easy…
Well, it must be, because once she does find Skip McCoy, she gets a punch to the face, which knocks her out, and then when she’s fully conscious again, tries to turn on her charm to get the wallet, or at least the contents of the wallet, back.
And then she’s falling for Skip, and… Yeah, I don’t know. There’s something about starting a relationship with a punch to the face that doesn’t really go down well with me.
Even the good people I’m meant to like, the policemen; They annoyed me because they had Candy under surveillance and yet didn’t step in when she was being pick-pocketed, allowing Skip McCoy to walk off with the so called top secret information! How is that meant to make sense?
It’s no The Big Sleep.
This is a classic Audrey Hepburn film. Apparently. From experience, I do know that I’m not really one for Hepburn films, but I still watched it with something like an open mind. After all, not every single film on this classic film quest has been a bust!
So, anyway, Audrey Hepburn plays a philosophical bookworm, Jo Stockton, who gets targeted by the duo team of fashion magazine editor, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson), and fashion photographer, Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), after finding she works in the adorable book shop they’ve staked out as their place to do a photo shoot. But, Jo (Hepburn) doesn’t want anything to do with it! She doesn’t like the fashion industry, and thinks it’s a waste of time, and more importantly, they’re disturbing the books! Sentiments I agree with very much. The problem is, this is a romcom film, and even more, it’s a musical, so we inevitably know she’ll change her tune once worn down enough. (Pun only a little bit intended)
Like literally two scenes later, they spend maybe fifteen minutes in-film time together, Dick kisses her, she says she’s not interested and then sings a love balad about him.
And then after they try and give her an impromtu make over, which she hates and runs away from, they all end up going to Paris together. This is after Dick Avery sings a song based on a back handed compliment that actually gives the name to the film. Basically, Jo said she couldn’t be a model because she has a funny face, Dick Avery then says (paraphrasing) says Maggie said the same thing but boy, could they use a funny face like hers!
I didn’t last much longer after that. If someone could explain to me why they like this film, I’d really appreciate it.