Tonight's feature presentation is a real Smoking Saturday Night Special, and I mean that literally!
The title sounds innocent enough, but "Pickup On South Street" is a real mean film, so let's talk about something else!
Back in 1953, cigarettes and tobacco were just about as common as masks are today! People smoked everywhere, restaurants, clubs, hospitals, and it was something that was just taken for granted. The people who were intelligent enough not to smoke were the ones who were the weirdos. It was not even uncommon for Doctors to smoke!
For years, cigarette machines were as common as phone booths! These days, you're not likely to find either one except in a bar or a casino!
Roosevelt included farm subsidies in the New Deal, and tobacco farmers were getting paid from the 1920's well into the 2000's, all in the name of stimulating the economy. Who cares that smoking was, and has, been killing almost as many people annually as Covid-19 for decades on end!
That's just the way it goes, tough shit!
Miss Ohio 1945, Jean Peters was married to Howard Hughes from 1957 to 1971 and basically disappeared during those years! She died in the year 2000, from leukemia, not lung cancer.
Richard Widmark also did not die from cancer, but lived to be 93 years old, and died from complications after falling down one day.
An odd pairing at best, back when people of different political ilks could still get along and work together, Jean Peters was a staunch Republican, and....................
.......................Richard Widmark was a super liberal Democrat, but at least they had that one common bond....................Smoking!
Smoking in cafes and restaurants was the worst, and it's only been the last twenty years that it has been banned in most public places. When we were kids, you could smoke in the local movie theaters as long as you were not in the main seating section, like that stopped the whole place from filling up with smoke anyway.
What an inexpensive way to kill some time in a film. A 'smoking a cigarette' scene must have been a scriptwriter's dream. I'll bet five to ten minutes of this film is just smoking in some form or another.
You had to be really bad, to be cool enough to use a cigarette holder, and not be ridiculed by your peers.
Murvyn (Voodoo Island) Vye as Police Captain Tiger also smokes his way through the whole film. Smoking, what a great way to be totally obnoxious without ever having to say anything.