52 Pick Up
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Film: B-
great directors were lost in the shuffle to make mall movie garbage in the
1980s that some of their resulting films become some of their oddest. John Frankenheimer landed up at the infamous
Cannon Films to get his thriller 52 Pick
Up (1986) made, based on the Elmore Leonard book (who co-wrote the
screenplay with John Steppling) about the rich, old, possibly regretful Harry
(Roy Scheider) living a great life. His
wife (Ann-Margaret) is doing well herself, but when a greedy schemer (John
Glover so good at his smarmy roles) has XXX-caliber footage of Harry in bed
with a younger woman (Kelly Preston); Harry has some clever plans of his own on
how to deal with it.
include another hustler named Bobby Shy (Clarence Williams III in a very gritty
performance) and iconic 1980s sex symbol (and one time Prince protégée) Vanity
at her seductive (and pre-born again) best.
The cast is interesting, but as a sort of reply to the 1980s, the film
has a coldness and emptiness unlike most Frankenheimer films. So much so that it is like no other.
his best film since Black Sunday
(1977) and it would take Ronin
(1998) for him to return to great form.
This was his best film in between and is worth a look as it has actually
improved with age. Lonny Chapman also
enhanced 1.85 X 1 image was shot on film by Paul Verhoeven Director of
Photography Jost Vacano in his first Hollywood work (with an uncredited Stephen
Ramsey also contributing) with good color, detail and depth, though it is a
little softer than expected. The Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo has no real surrounds, is somewhat well recorded despite
being an Ultra Stereo release (an analog mono surround system more distorted
than basic Dolby A-type from the 1970s) but is passable. There are no extras, though J. Lee Thompson
had just adapted the book as a theatrical feature with The Ambassador and it would be nice to see that one on DVD. Could we get a featurette on that or a
- Nicholas Sheffo