Pickup on South Street

“But why would I be an anti-Communist? If I made a movie about Lenin today, people would say that I’m a Communist! It’s idiotic. I don’t give a fuck about being a Communist, or a reactionary. You are never the same as your characters. If I make a film where some dogs are killed, that doesn’t mean I like to kill. When I show combat, I’m not fighting. I make movies I like. [My wife] Christa [Lang] is really radical. She’s for the people, for the everyday men and women, and she gets really pissed off when people tell her that her husband is a fascist. If my movies or my characters get on my country’s nerves, I’ll make them anyway. I don’t care. It’s my characters that interest me. What we feel is what counts, and not the flags that we wave or the speeches we have to listen to. Knowing whether Stalin was right or wrong, whether Khrushchev was right or wrong, that’s not important, that’s politics. I’m not a politician. When I made Pickup on South Street, I wanted to be honest about the people I was talking about, because I knew them. The informers, the girls who would sleep with anyone for a couple of bucks, the thieves, the pickpockets, I knew them, that’s life in the United States. But they all think the Communists are beneath them. If you ask me what a Communist is, I don’t know. For me, Russians are people, just people.”

Samuel Fuller in an interview with Dominique Rabourdin and Tristan Renaud1

  • 1. Samuel Fuller in, “Proust’s Madeleine. That’s Pure Cinema,” Dominique Rabourdin and Tristan Renaud, From Cinéma (Paris) n°193, December 1974, 84–90. Reprinted by permission of Dominique Rabourdin in: Samuel Fuller. Interviews, ed. Gerald Peary, (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press), 2012, 48.