Beverly Michaels and Allan Nixon in Pickup (1951)


(director/writer: Hugo Haas; screenwriters: Arnold Phillips/based on the novel Watchman 47 by Joseph Kopra; cinematographer: Paul Ivano; editor: Donald W. Bagler; music: Harold Byrns; cast: Hugo Haas (Jan ‘Hunky’ Horak), Beverly Michaels (Betty), Allan Nixon (Steve Kowalski), Howland Chamberlain (The Professor’, tramp), Jo-Carroll Dennison (Irma, Betty’s friend), Bernard Gorcey (Peddler with Dog), Mark Lowell (Counter-man), Jack Daley (Company Doctor), Art Lewis (Motorist); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hugo Haas; Columbia; 1951)

Loved the film for its lurid noir-like atmosphere and the blunt way the loser characters were portrayed.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The forgotten Czech-born movie “renaissance man” Hugo Haas(“The Girl on the Bridge”/”Lizzie”/”Hit and Run”), unfairly more appreciated for his acting than unique directing style, financed his own low-budget movies he directed. This b/w one was released by Columbia. It’s based on the novel Watchman 47 by Joseph Kopra, and is written by Arnold Phillips. It involves a chilling drama revolving around a romantic triangle.

The middle-aged, frugal, lonely and half-deaf recent widower, Jan Horak (Hugo Haas), a railroad dispatcher, marries the blonde zaftig gold-digger floozy Betty (Beverly Michaels). Soon Betty is bored living with hubby, and falls for Jan’s new assistant, Steve Kowalski (Allan Nixon), and the lovers scheme in front of Jan to kill him by Steve pulling a hit-and-run and thereby to live off the inherited money Jan salted away for a rainy day. But at the last minute lover boy swerves the car, as he doesn’t have the guts to go through with the sinister plan. Jan when knocked down somehow regained his hearing, but fails to tell his wife. I guess the restored hearing also cleared up his vision, as he now hears his assistant and wife chatting and recognizes he’s been cuckolded. The result is that he tosses Betty out.

Loved the film for its lurid noir-like atmosphere and the blunt way the loser characters were portrayed.