Kendall’s Kult Movies 06 – 52 Pick-Up :

Now, looking at that poster above, albeit featuring two iconic stars from Tommy and Jaws, I probably would have given it a miss at the time. But as a (whisper it) grown up, I see that it was on the iconic Cannon label, directed by The Manchurian Candidate’s John Frankenheimer and written by the great Elmore Leonard. Now if they had originally released it like this :

…Then obviously I would have been all over it. Oh well, better late than never, right? And now hopefully I can steer you towards this gritty crime drama. The first thing to state here is how fvcking 80’s this film looks, I mean all that it is missing is Don Johnson gliding in. The whole thing is like a level of Vice City smeared in Vaseline. But then it gets a hell of a lot darker, and you are dealing with blackmail, violence and the sex industry.

Roy Schneider is really great here, you feel for him, even though you also hate him for cheating on ANN-MARGRET, capitals needed for how ridiculous that is, with a 22 year old Kelly Preston. He is shown as the ultimate working blue collar man, despite his swanky house and pool. Then he is a man up against it, being blackmailed as his ‘girlfriend’ is actually setting him up, in on the deal with a group of nefarious crooks.

The scariest of these is played by Clarence Williams III, who seems to be always two steps away from either laughing himself to death or going psycho on you. This is brilliant in the first half of the movie, but once he gets physically violent with Vanity, I just wanted him dead. But then this was probably deliberate, so good work Frankenheimer.

The main villain is a fantastic John Glover, the perfect king looking down on the pawns, you always get the feeling that his short fuse could go off on anyone, his enemies and his ‘friends’, he is brilliant, Roger Ebert called him “The best, most reprehensible villain of the year” and that dude knew about movies.

There’s some grimy action in the sex world here, nothing on a par with Hardcore or 8mm, but Frankenheimer does bring in famous hardcore stars throughout, I only recognised Ron Jeremy because of his mainstream stardom in later years, but there is a feature on the Blu that shows and lists many others, if you want to see more of them, I’m not your mother.

Overall 52 Pick-Up is a great dark crime caper, which seems much more of a 70’s flavour than 80’s, aside from the looks and the soundtrack and the aforementioned vaseline look. Definitely worth a look, even if HE CHEATS ON ANN-MARGRET. *faints*

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