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The Naked Gun - From the Files of Police Squad! VHS
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David Zucker--of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker creative troika behind Airplane! and television's Police Squad!--directed this 1988 feature film based on the latter show. Leslie Nielsen returns to his old TV role of Lt. Frank Drebin, the deadpan idiot with a detective's badge. The reinvention of the failed series as a theatrical feature seems to have inspired everyone involved to make a pretty funny movie, and the jokes gather a momentum that lasts until the final act. Ricardo Montalban is a perfect foil as a villain whose aquarium is being invaded by Drebin during routine questioning, and George Kennedy is delightful in a self-parodying part as an earnest but obtuse lawman. There's a hilarious bit when Drebin--wearing a live police wire while going to the bathroom--can be overheard over the loudspeakers at a speech given by a flustered mayor (Nancy Marchand). Yes, that's O.J. Simpson as a detective who ends up on the wrong side of numerous Drebin blunders. --Tom Keogh
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Even to this day, I cannot help but think of Leslie Nelson's butchering of the national anthem while I watch major league baseball games. "The Naked Gun" is one of those movies which has dozens of memorable lines and scenes which you can recall easily with your friends. It is also one of those movies that if you could read the script, you can visualize the bumbling police lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson) acting, and you laugh just as hard reading the script as you would watching the movie.
How can anyone forget Frank Drebin's comment about Queen Elizabeth visiting Los Angeles:
Lt Drebin: "Thank you your honor. Protecting the safety of the Queen is a task that is gladly accepted by Police Squad. For no matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us, as Americans we must be gracious and considerate hosts. (The crowd applauds, camara pans to Mayor's a gasped expression as she takes over the podium from Lt. Drebin.)
Of course this is followed by the sounds of Lt Drebin's "long pee" scene audio drowning out the Mayor's continued speech when he forgets to remove his wireless microphone while relieving himself in the men's room. Of course, it only gets worse for the Mayor as Lt Drebin completes his potty break soliloquy with a cascading audio of a few short squirts, and lyrical humming. Lt Drebin completes his audible peeing soliloquy finale by breaking wind and a self satisfying "Aaaaaaah" broadcast to the entire press conference.
What is funny about the film is not that it is spoofing popular culture, instead the script is actually damned funny and the actors all go above and beyond to make the comedy work.
Yes it has thousands of jokes, and yes some of them won't hit the mark for every viewer, but you can be sure that a high percentage of them will tickle your funny bone. Two timeless
quotes from the film: Leslie Neilsen, "Nice beaver", to which Priscilla Presley replies "Thank you I've just had it stuffed" while carrying down an actual life sized stuffed real Canadian beaver.
Secondly, Leslie Neilsen's character Frank Drebin commenting at a press conference about Queen Elizabeth the Second's impending visit to L.A., "...protecting the safety of the Queen is a
task that is gladly accepted by Police Squad, for no matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us.... as Americans we must be gracious and considerate hosts." It gets me
every time. If you have never seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it...soon. I dare you not to laugh at the numerous hijinks that Frank Drebin and Police Squad get up to.
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