Thursday, January 25, 2007

[leslie nielsen] the naked gun series

Frank Drebin saving the Queen from assassination

Do you also have a secret liking for classic lowbrow comedy?

2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted the first Naked Gun the 39th greatest comedy film of all time. It was also voted the 14th best comedy of all time in a Channel 4 poll. They’re quite some accolades for a basically B movie and a B movie star.

Leslie Nielsen was born in
Regina, Saskatchewan on February 11, 1926 and it took him years of straight roles before he was cast as Dr. Rumacker in Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker’s Airplane! [1980]. He was 54 years of age.

It was another eight years before the same team reprised a former TV series and
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad [1988] was born. Touting some big names: Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy and O.J. Simpson, before the murder rap, there was a definite chemistry between the cast in this film which wasn’t really recaptured in the sequels: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear [1991] and The Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult [1994].

The plot is virtually irrelevant – the kidnapping of the Queen by a zombie baseball player – but it was the running gags and the slick scene changes, coupled with the obvious chemistry between a 62 year old Nielsen and Presley in the risky and risqué romantic subplot plus the great supporting role by OJ, as Detective Nordberg, Nielsen’s sidekick, which made the film. Here are some quotes from the Naked Gun series:

Frank Drebin [Nielsen]

# The truth hurts doesn't it, Hapsburg? Oh sure, maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts.

# There is always risk. Like getting up in the morning and crossing the street... Or putting your face in a fan.

# Like a midget at a urinal, I'd have to be on my toes.


Mayor: Now Drebin, I don't want any trouble like you had on the South Side like last year, that's my policy.
Frank: Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in front of a full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy.
Mayor: That was a Shakespeare In The Park Production of Julius Caesar, you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!

Vincent Ludwig: Drebin!
Jane Spencer [Presley]: Frank!
Frank Drebin: You're both right.

Frank: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
Jane Spencer: Goodyear?
Frank: No, the worst.

Frank: Interesting... Almost as interesting as the photographs I saw today.
Jane Spencer: I was young. I needed the work.

[Frank Drebin, angrily breaking up with Jane, turns at the door and faces her, putting his nose in the air]
Frank: And I'll tell you another thing: I faked every orgasm!

Norberg was shot by a gang of thugs and lies in a critical condition in hospital. The brother officers break the news to his wife:

Mrs. Nordberg: Oh, my poor Nordberg! He was such a good man, Frank. He never wanted to hurt anyone. Who would do such a thing?
Frank: It's hard to tell. A gang of thugs, a blackmailer, an angry husband, a gay lover...
Ed: That's no way for a man to die.
Frank: Ehhh, you're right, Ed. A parachute not opening... that's the way to die. Getting caught in the gears of a combine... having your nuts bit off by a Laplander, that's the way I wanna go.
Mrs. Nordberg: [crying] Oh... Frank. Ohh this is terrible.
Ed: Don't you worry Wilma. Your husband is going to be alright. Don't you worry about anything. Just think positive. Never let a doubt enter your mind.
Frank: He's right, Wilma. But I wouldn't wait until the last minute to fill out those organ donor cards.
Mrs. Nordberg: [starts crying again]
Ed: What I'm trying to say is that Wilma, as soon as Nordberg is better, he's welcome back at Police Squad.
Frank: Unless he's a drooling vegetable. But I think that's only common sense...

Some further quotes here:

Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

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