A two-bit pickpocket unwittingly picks his way into the middle of a Soviet spy ring. One of Samuel Fuller's higher-profile productions (20th Century-Fox, Richard Widmark, Jean Peters), much admired by the French, even imitated by Bresson, with added philosophy, in Pickpocket. The McCarthy-era melodramatics are pretty crude, but the details of the hero's marginal existence are flavorful, and the director's in-your-face style packs plenty of punch. Memorable character bit by Thelma Ritter as a withered old raisin on the underworld grapevine. (1953) — Duncan Shepherd
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