Pickup On South Street

We came home from a memorial service for a friend’s mother. It was sad, but also… I don’t know the word. Not joyful, or happy, nor even comforting. Wordsworth said it best (as is not uncommon): We will grieve not, rather find/Strength in what remains behind;/In the primal sympathy/Which having been must ever be

Which is a way of saying, it was nice to see colleagues from Eastern Market in an environment detached from economics and think about love and marriage and family and ties and not how the customers are biting that day.

So why is this post named after a classic film noir (maybe the classic film noir; Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, and Touch of Evil might be better movies, but Pickup most truly like a platonic ideal of noir)?

Because, after coming home, having ramen, and doing some work, I flipped through the television and there it was, from 10pm until 11:30pm on Turner Classic Movies. I couldn’t resist.

Even my better half  liked it! Actually, she likes old movies, but not inbetween movies. Movies from 1970-1994 really don’t interest her. To her, those are ‘old movies.’ An actual old movie? She likes those.

And the tight documentation of the seedy side? The close analysis of a pickpocket’s technique, an information broker’s one room dump and sad front selling ‘personality ties?’ Awesome. The blousy woman who only likes guys who beat her up? Umm… not awesome, but it added a real sense of menace to a movie from a time when kisses couldn’t be more than 2 seconds long, ‘sex’ could not be named, and blood was pretty rare. And Richard Widmark as the pickpocket. Handsome, but with an evil looking forehead (you’ll just have to see it to understand what I mean) and with a strange sense of pride, confidence, and badass-ness for a three time loser who’s the least violent kind of criminal (he picks pocket, covering his actions up with a copy of the New York Times). The missus saw it, too: he was hot. In the middle of the red scare, he didn’t care whether the communists got the secrets or not. He only got mad when one of them beat up the girl worse than he had (yes; the ‘good guy’ also smacked the girl around, just not so badly and he didn’t shoot her afterwards).

What am I saying? I don’t know. But what a great freakin’ movie.

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