Josh Olson on

52 Pickup

Released 1986
Distributor Cannon Film Distributors

About 52 Pickup

This was a bright spot in a fallow period for director John Frankenheimer after disasters like PROPHECY. The magic charms of the late Elmore Leonard kicked in big time with his screenplay from his own novel, part of his lucrative evolution from westerns to suspense and crime films.

About Josh Olson

Josh Olson  was the only student in his second grade class to see The House That Dripped Blood.  Many years later, he wrote and directed the no-budget horror film, Infested, a brutal assault on The Big Chill, with zombies. He went on to write the screenplay for A History of Violence and was nominated for the WGA, BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. He kept losing to Larry McMurtry, but that’s okay.  He co-wrote the teleplay for the Masters of Science Fiction episode, The Discarded, with Harlan Ellison, and is currently writing a sophisticated thriller, Tabloid, for Mick Jagger.  
  • Ghijath Naddaf

    But Josh, “White of the Eye” was good too.

  • steppxxxxz

    Josh….Dutch didnt write a word of this script. I wrote the entire script. Cannon and the late Frankenheimer wanted Leonards name on it….so i just agreed. But you will note later that Dutch said several times in interviews that he didnt write any of that script. Then still later Roy and Frankenheimer took credit for rewrites. But in fact, this was 99% my screenplay. Just for the record.

  • steppxxxxz

    and you will note, it reads screenplay by elmore leonard and john steppling. As i say, dutch wrote a comma………he wasnt even around…..but such is the history of movies I guess.

  • Alex

    You listed the 7 good movies! Hilarious. Perhaps the best line ever on TFH

  • Freddy Waff

    I snuck into this movie at lunch the day it came out I was 15 man i loved it all that nudity and Damn Vanity was Hot!
    Blackmail Murder dbl crosses i can’t think of a better way to spend 5th and 6th period. Thanks Josh
    this movie is a Gem

  • Tasteflex

    It is the Elmore Leonard movie that feels most like one of his books. It’s not just because he wrote it, it’s in the performances. The cast seems to know how to play the smallness and vulnerability that Leonard gives his characters. Everyone’s pretty great across the board. John Glover destroys! Is that a Baltimore or Philly accent? I know there’s a difference. Outside of the accent though, Glover has gleefully unaware hubris that makes me think he could have been an inspiration for John Wurster’s Philly Boy Roy character on “The Best Show on WFMU”.
    Glover in this movie joins the 80’s movie villain pantheon. He’s up on the throne with Alan Rickman in “Die Hard” and Ben Gazarra in “Road House”. He’s wicked specific!
    John Frankenheimer seemed to excel at the claustrophobic action thriller. This one reminds me a bit of French Connection 2 with its tension filled enclosed spaces filled with unbent volatile characters. It makes me think this movie would have been better served by shooting this movie in Detroit (dead winter) than in sunny L.A. It’s so much more a Detroit story than it is a Los Angeles story.

  • Marco Antonio S F

    …and let´s not forget former b-movie beefcake, Doug McClure, in one of his last roles before his untmely passing.
    For trivia nuts> The Cannon heads had already adapted the same Elmore Leonard novel and turned into a movie two years earlier (THE AMBASSADOR, with Robert Mitchum and Ellen Burstyn)