Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

PICKUP

Beverly Michaels
PICKUP (1951). Director: Hugo Haas.

"Is that where you're living? In that shack? Oh boy -- when does the floor show start?" -- Betty

"Never fails. Young. Handsome ... Broke." -- ditto

Lonely train station master Jan Horak (Hugo Haas) meets an attractive if immoral woman named Betty (Beverly Michaels) at a carnival, and she manipulates him into marriage when she's about to be thrown out on the street. Complicating matters is the presence of an assistant, Steve (Allan Nixon), who arrives as the station after Jan loses his hearing. But as he and Betty become increasingly attracted to each other -- and Betty begins plotting -- is it possible that her husband hears a lot more than she thinks ...? Obviously influenced by The Postman Always Rings Twice, this low-rent version is nevertheless entertaining, even if the vivid Michaels overacts on occasion. Haas, who appeared to advantage in such films as Summer Storm -- he was quite a good actor, actually -- directed a number of B film noirs such as One Girl's Confession and also helmed Lizzie with Eleanor Parker. Michaels is best-known for her saucy adept playing in the memorable Wicked Woman, made two years later. Allan Nixon was a sexy leading man and credible actor who might have developed leading man status if he had gotten a few good breaks and hadn't gotten in a few too many drunken brawls; cave women fought over him in Prehistoric WomenPickup isn't entirely predictable, and there are some interesting deviations from the usual formula.

Verdict: Entertaining melodrama with some good performances. **1/2 out of 4.

2 comments:

angelman66 said...

I love 40s and 50s noir, so this is right up my alley. My mom and I went to see Double Indemnity on the big screen last weekend. But a lot of the little-known lower-budget films are gems, too, well-filmed with good plots and performances.
-C

William said...

Well, this is no Double Indemnity, but it's fun. DI is one of my favorite movies. I used to visit my mother and make the poor gal sit through all kinds of movies, but I don't recall if this was one of them. Good picture, though!