Pickup (1951)

“She has a good husband, a nice home, a car, no worries about tomorrow — what else does she want?”

Synopsis:
A sexy gold digger (Beverly Michaels) marries a naive widower (Hugo Haas) for his pension money.

Genres:

Review:
In his first independently produced American film, Czechoslovakian director Hugo Haas took a fairly standard tale of greed and cuckoldry and turned it into a tawdry, low-budget camp classic. He’s aided in no small part by sexy Beverly Michaels’ performance — while she’s no great actress, her droll sneers and deadpan delivery are perfect here; she never overplays her scenes, instead allowing an air of false insouciance to envelope her every move. Only during a critical moment towards the end of the film — when she must give up control and rely on someone else to carry out her wishes — does she reveal that her nerves may be made of less than steel; watching her fumble to light a cigarette, one realizes just how calm she’s been until then. Haas’s screenplay is overly predictable (particularly the love triangle aspect), and his cuckolded character is too naive to be believed; but the film is redeemed by plenty of zingy dialogue, some creative plot twists (including Haas’s sudden deafness), and Michaels’ sultry allure. Definitely a worthy B-flick.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Beverly Michaels as the conniving femme fatale
    Beverly Michaels
  • Michaels mugging to her friend as she randomly picks up the clueless Haas at a diner
    Pickup
  • Good use of psychosomatic deafness as a plot device
    Deafness
  • Effectively gritty locales
    Locales

Must See?
Yes. This camp classic epitomizes Hugo Haas’s B-level sensibility.

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