52 Pick-Up

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For the card game, see 52 Pickup.
52 Pick-Up
52 Pick-Up.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Produced by Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan
Written by Elmore Leonard (novel)
Elmore Leonard and John Steppling (screenplay)
Music by Gary Chang
Cinematography Jost Vacano and Stephen Ramsey
Edited by Robert F. Shugrue
Distributed by Cannon Group
Release dates
  • November 7, 1986 (1986-11-07)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $5,186,646[1]

52 Pick-Up is a 1986 crime thriller film directed by John Frankenheimer. The film stars Roy Scheider, Ann-Margret, and Vanity, and is based on Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name.


Harry Mitchell (Roy Scheider) is a successful industrialist living in the suburbs of Los Angeles whose wife Barbara (Ann-Margret) is running for city council while he is having an affair. Harry is confronted by three blackmailers demanding $105,000 for a videotape of him and his mistress, Cini (Kelly Preston).

Because of his wife's political aspirations, he can't go to the police. Harry's lawyer advises him that paying the blackmailers won't likely make them go away, so he refuses to pay. The criminals up the ante by murdering Cini and framing Harry for the murder, demanding $105,000 a year for the rest of his life to keep the evidence they have on him under wraps.

Harry opens his financial records to one of them with a background in accounting, Alan Raimy (John Glover). Seeing that their mark owes money to the government and cannot afford the $105,000, Raimy agrees to accept Harry's counter offer of $52,000, at least as a first payment. Harry then turns the blackmailers against one another, putting his wife's life in grave danger in the process.



The movie gained mixed reviews. On the one hand, Patrick Goldstein, writing in the Los Angeles Times, described it as "a dull, plodding thriller that finds Mitchell in a deadly war with a trio of crazed blackmailers."[2] On the other hand, Roger Ebert, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, claimed it "provides us with the best, most reprehensible villain of the year and uses his vile charm as the starting point for a surprisingly good film. ... This is a well-crafted movie by a man who knows how to hook the audience with his story; it's Frankenheimer's best work in years."[3] The New York Times film critic Janet Maslin described it as "fast-paced, lurid, exploitative and loaded with malevolent energy. John Frankenheimer, who directed, hasn't done anything this darkly entertaining since Black Sunday."[4]

Box office[edit]

The movie debuted poorly at the box office.[5]


  1. ^ "52 Pick-Up (1986)". Box Office Mojo. 1988-07-05. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  2. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (7 November 1986). "Movie Review: '52 Pickup': Film Noir Idea Gone Gray". LA Times. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (7 November 1986). "52 Pick-Up". rogerebert.com. 
  4. ^ New York Times Company (November 7, 1986). Screen: '52 PICK-UP,' A No-Frills Thriller by Janet Maslin. Retrieved on March 25, 2007.
  5. ^ David T. Friendly (1986-11-13). "Reagans on 'Soul Man': Thumbs Up - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 

External links[edit]