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November 14, 1986 - Image 9

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-14

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 14, 1986 - Page 9

'52'

picks

up

where

Hitch

left off

By Eileen Kahn
The term "52 Pickup" is a bad
card trick, a fifty-two thousand
)lollar blackmail pick up, and the
hame of Roy Scheider's new
'movie. 52 Pickup is a film ada -
ptation of Elmore Leonard's
suspense novel of the same name.
:Leonard is half of the sceen-writing
team for 52 Pickup-which guar -
antees a disturbing twist to the
-suspense film formula.
52 Pickup is concerned with
:Harry "Mitch" Mitchell (Roy
Scheider), a successful inventor and
,industrialist. The first five minutes
,of the film deftly characterizes his
long marriage with Barbara (Ann-
eR e
_n 1n

Margaret), an aspiring council -
woman. The two glance lovingly,
shyly it each other, but there is a
physical and emotional distance
between them. It comes as no
surprise to learn that Mitch has had
an extra-martial affair. Upon visi -
ting his lover, Cini (Kelly Prest -
on), to end the affair, Mitch is
confronted by three masked men and
their video tapes of Mitch and Cini.
Mitch refuses to pay the blac -
kmailers. The three men contact
Mitch again with a video tape of
Cimi's murder committed with
Mitch's stolen gun. Because the
evidence against himself is so
strong and because Barbara's pol -
itical career is reaching a peak,
Mitch decides not to go to the
police. So begins a story of male
gs to

vendetta. Mitch gradually unmasks
his blackmailers. He makes the
assassin of the group (Clarence
Williams III), and the gay "talent
scout" (Robert Trebor) each in turn
feel cut out of the deal by Alan.
Mitch destroys the three with
their own greed, but his triumph is
very expensive. As the stakes grow
higher, Alan kidnaps, drugs and
rapes Barbara. At the climax of the
movie, Mitch smiles as the last
blackmailer, fatally trapped by one

of his inventions, dies in an
explosion. In the light of the
flames, Mitch lets Barbara, drugged
and beaten, slip to the ground
unnoticed. There was little applause
in the audience to accompany
Mitch's "triumph." As in Leo -
nard's novels, there are no heroes
here. To defeat the blackmailers
Mitch must decend to their world of
exploitation. Alan is a sexually-
perverted videophyle and as the
audience views his camerawork, we

become exploiters as well.
As the blackmailers' plot
disintigrates due to Mitch's inte -
rference, the audience can let the
women in the film fall away
unnoticed. But director, John Fran -
kenheimer, is brutal: Cini dies
before our eyes, and
her "exotic dancer" friend Doreen
(Vanity), is almaost suffocated by
one of the blackmailers with a teddy
bear. Frankenheimer presents a

strong and finely paced film. He
illicts a good performance from
Scheider, and brilliant charact -
erizations from Glover, Williams,
and Trebor, the blackmailers. Ann-
Margaret is striking in the small
role of Scheider's suffering wife.
Frankenheimer contributes to the
suspense film genre in the tradition
of Hitchcock. A man in peril must
ultimately face himself, and it is a
disturbing view.

benefit 'Life'

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By Beth Fertig
Tonight at 8:00, East Quad's
Halfway Inn will host an evening
of music and poetry readings to
raise money for the Jazz For Life
Project.
Scheduled to appear tonight are
local radio personalities arwulf
arwulf and Marc Taras (both of
WCBN-FM and WEMU-FM),
whose creative programming has
been a 'staple in the Ann Arbor
area's jazz diet for several years.
They will be reading from some of
their original poems. In addition,
the evening will be highlighted by
guitar music from Detroit-area
talent A. Spencer Barefield, of The
Griot Galaxy and the Barefield,
Holland, Tabbal trio.

The Jazz For Life Project began
just seven months ago. It is a non-
profit, non-political organization
(with a University chapter) which
works to focus attention on the
needs of disadvantaged children
(under age six) in Washtenaw
County, and donates the funds it
raises to local organizations which
can best see that these needs are
met. A larger fundraiser will be held
next weekend, when the Project
presents Joe Williams, Stan Getz,
Sweet Honey in the Rock, and a
host of others in concert at Hill
Auditorium.
Admission to tonight's perfor-
mance (which is co-sponsored by
P.J.'s Used Records) can be
obtained with a $3 donation. The
Halfway Inn is located on the
Church Street entrance of East
Quad.

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Ginger Baker
Horses and Trees
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"Hey man, whatever happened to
Ginger Baker?"
"Dig it man, I heard the dude
was. livin on an olive farm in
Italy."
"No shit!"
"Yeah man, and I, heard he's
gonna do some far out kind of
African album."
"You're kiddin."
"Nah, really man. And he's
gonna have Bill Laswell on bass
r and some cat named Foday Musa
,Suso playin a duousongonni, a
kalimba and a nyanyer."
"Far out."
It sound like the Ginger Baker
version of a bad Cat Stevens joke.
What it is, is an accurate account of
Baker's life and his new album,
Horses and Trees , a considerable
deparure from the style of music
.that Baker based his reputation on
with groups like Cream, Blind
Faith, The Alex Korner Group, and
other jazz and rock ventures.
Horses and Trees is six African
influenced instrumentals written by
Baker and his friends, including
"Laswell, Suso, Nick Skopolitis,
'Aiyb Dieng, and Daniel Ponce.
,Furthermore it's six sets of long,
complicated rhythms that become
redundant by the time you've heard
:,the fifth.
Baker's drumming is still
:impressive. As Laswell said,
...they had heard him playing six
,miles away! It was too much."
And of course more importantly, he
still lines his songs with intricate
Abeats. The best song on this album
:is "Mountain Time," which
"showcases Baker's drumming. Un -
fortunately though it's the last track
,on the album, and by the time
you've heard the other half hour of
not much different music, it's
somewhat repetitive. Sadly, you're
almost waiting for it to end.
And just why did Baker put out
this album. In his words: "... my
chops have never been fucked and

never will be. Just tell people to
come and fucking hear me and then
come and fucking tell me you can
play better than me, any fucking
drummer in this country, in this
world. And that's a fucking
challenge. I'll play the balls off
anybody." It's comforting to know
that despite living in Italy and
making African music, Ginger can
still speak English. Actually his
drumming isn't the best I ever
heard, but it is of superior quality.
The African rhythms spice the
album considerably, but none -
theless it should be taken in doses,
one side per day at best. More than
that and you'll probably pass out
from boredom; or worse, you'll put
on the new Van Halen album.
Horses and Trees is not a bad
album, it's just not a great one. It
shouldn't be short changed because
it's good. But perhaps I expected
more from Ginger Baker than good.
-Akim D. Reinhardt

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