Darkness Visible
‘‘Ah, you folks American citizens?’’—opening line of Touch of Evil, 1958
Pickup on South Street (1953) represents a fitting end
for this book, explicitly returning us to those fears
about domestic espionage that resonated so pro-
foundly in Confessions of a Nazi Spy and Stranger on
the Third Floor. Locating the crime thriller specifi-
cally in the context of cold war anticommunism, Sam
Fuller’s film foregrounds the continuity in uncanny
political affect that I have been discussing through-
out my study, from devious interlopers perceived to
threaten national security to another sort of treach-
erous enemy boring from within following the end of
the Second World War. But this similarity between
prewar strangers lurking in the house and Pickup’s
rendition of a state of emergency is also marked by
difference, not only in regard to Fuller’s skepticism
about the efficacy of the government to combat sub-
version but also in terms of his inspired gendered
recasting of the informer. Instead of a menacing,
censoring father figure (e.g., Meng in Stranger),
Fuller gives us a weary, nurturing, matronly soul
(Moe) who insists that her sociable peddling of in-
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