Waving the Flag

Richard Widmark does a wonderful job playing a pickpocket, Skip McCoy,  in Sam Fuller’s Pickup on South Street.  He nabs a woman’s wallet that happens to have secret microfilm in it.  She’s being used as a courier by her commie ex-boyfriend.  Soon everyone’s after Skip.

The police drag him in and try to talk some patriotic sense to him.  Just cooperate and no questions asked about how he got the film.  He senses a big score.  The FBI man lays it on.  “If you don’t cooperate, you’ll be as bad as those people who gave Stalin the A-bomb!”  “You wavin’ the flag at me?

The mark he touched in the subway is frantically searching for him.  She finds Lightin’ Louis, who knows everything about everyone.  It’s a great scene.  He just keeps shoveling in that good Chinese food and picks up the crumpled bills with his chopsticks, hardly missing a beat in his chewing.

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