The Film (4/5)
Harry (Roy Scheider) is a guy who seems to have it all. He has a beautiful wife, a spacious mansion, a classic Jaguar and a high paying job. Unfortunately, he also has a mistress named Cini (Kelly Preston) and three blackmailers (John Glover, Clarence Williams III, Robert Trebor) that have a videotape of them in compromising situations. The blackmailers demand $105,000 for the tape. Harry consults with his lawyer who advises that the blackmailers will not stop after the payment. Unwilling to go to the police and jeopardize his wife Barbara's (Ann Margaret) political career, Harry decides to fight back. This leads to the blackmailers killing Cini with Harry's gun and framing him for the murder. With time running out, Harry puts together a plan to set the three blackmailers against each other.
I had never heard of 52 Pick-Up prior to receiving the Blu-ray and thought that was abad sign. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that 52 Pick-Up is an excellent neo-noir crime thriller. Scheider gives an emotionally intense performance as a man that made a huge mistake who's now paying for it and Ann-Margret is solid if underused as his wife. The standout performance for me is John Glover as blackmail ringleader Alan Raimy who is at times calm and collected and at other times bursting with cartoonish violent energy. Clarence Williams III is also fantastic as insane gun toting assassin Bobby Shy. I remarked to a few friends that Frankenheimer was doing Friedkin and I do believe this would pair up well with a film like Friedkin's own To Live And Die In L.A.
Kino Lorber presents 52 Pick-Up on a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encoded transfer 25 gig bluray disc. I saw no discernible pops or scratches, black levels were dark and skin tones were natural for the most part. Audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track and dialogue sounded nice and crisp. No subtitles.
A standard definition trailer for the film is provided.
I commend Kino for putting this out. From sleazy porno shoots to adult motels to abandoned bridges, 52 Pick-Up is a glossy to gritty 80's thriller with some standout villainous performances that deserves to be rediscovered.