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52 Pick-UpUSA 1986
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Running time 110 minutes
John Frankenheimer gives the Elmore Leonard novel, 52 Pick-Up, a faithful rendering (Leonard co-wrote the screenplay) but the trouble is the when the original text is so unremarkable, fidelity is no virtue.
Fidelity, and the price for not keeping it, is the substance of Leonard's story with Roy Scheider, looking like he's been oven-basted after some budget-priced cosmetic surgery, playing a successful middle-aged businessman being blackmailed by a trio of dirt-bags (John Glover, Robert Trebor and Clarence Williams III) for cheating on his wife (Ann-Marget) with a young floozy (Kelly Preston) who works in the sex industry.
The film is well cast and Frankenheimer gets the sleazy, low-life vibe right but the trouble is that it all so unremittingly tawdry and even worse, two-dimensionally so, that it holds little interest. As with Leonard’s original story, there is simply no character development or effective contrast between the “decent” world of middle-class respectability and the moral sewer of the blackmailers - Schieder's Harry Mitchell takes to the gutter with little more than a wince. If you want to see this sort of thing done well, check out Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997).