The Naked Gun (1988)

 

Highlights

  • Crime comedy film based on the characters portrayed in the television series Police Squad!
  • Starring Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley,  Ricardo Montalbán, George Kennedy, and O. J. Simpson.
  • Movie grossed $78.8 million at the US box office
  • Directed by David Zucker

(Lost) The Plot

Police Squad Lieutenant Frank Drebin, taking a vacation in Beirut, disrupts a conference of America’s greatest enemies (Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, and Mikhail Gorbachev[4]) who are trying to conceive a terrorist plan to humiliate the U.S. In Los Angeles, Officer Nordberg attempts to bust a heroin drug operation at the docks organized by dock’s owner Vincent Ludwig, and is shot by Ludwig’s henchmen. After returning to L.A. and being briefed on the case by his boss, Captain Ed Hocken, Drebin visits Nordberg in the hospital. Nordberg provides cryptic clues, including a picture of Ludwig’s ship on which the deal had been organized. Frank meets with police scientist Ted Olsen, who has invented a cufflink that shoots tranquilizer darts. Frank learns through Ted that Nordberg’s jacket tested positive for heroin.

Police Squad is put charge of security for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Los Angeles, and Ed tells Frank that he has 24 hours to clear Nordberg before word gets out about what happened and detracts from the queen’s visit.

When Frank visits Ludwig in his office, Ludwig learns that Nordberg is still alive. Ludwig has his assistant, Jane Spencer, assist Frank in his investigation, and the two fall in love. However, Jane is unaware of her employer’s illegal activities. After Frank leaves the office, Ludwig meets with Pahpshmir, a participant of the Beirut meeting, to discuss an assassination plot against the queen. Ludwig agrees to do it for $20 million, with Pahpshmir wondering how he plans to pull it off. Ludwig explains that using a beeper he will create the assassin using post-hypnotic suggestion. Ludwig unsuccessfully attempts to have Nordberg killed at the hospital; while the hypnotized doctor escapes Frank, he accidentally ends up riding a ballistic missile into a fireworks store, leaving the assassination motive unknown.

Frank breaks into Ludwig’s office in his absence, searching for evidence. Although Frank finds a note from Pahpshmir addressed to Ludwig which confirms his suspicions, he inadvertently starts a fire that destroys the note and the office. Frank later has a run-in with one of Ludwig’s men at his factory in a stockyard, and after that confronts Ludwig with his allegations at a reception for the Queen’s arrival. Frank misinterprets Ludwig’s presentation of a musket to the Queen as an attack and tries to protect her, but only causes more of a problem and is fired from Police Squad. Afterward, Jane finds out about the plot and tells Frank that the plan will be executed at a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium during the seventh inning stretch and that one of the players will perform the act.

The police squad arrives at the stadium. In order to search the players, Frank knocks the home plate umpire out with a baseball bat and takes his place, frisking the players for weapons while they are at bat. The seventh-inning stretch begins and Ludwig activates his “sleeper”, Reggie Jackson. Jane alerts Frank, who chases after Jackson and tackles him, but Jackson manages to get away when Frank’s action starts a general riot between the two teams. Ludwig holds Jane at gunpoint as he begins to leave the stadium while Jackson takes aim at the Queen. Frank tries to incapacitate Jackson with one of his cufflink darts, but misses and hits a large woman on the upper deck. The woman falls over the railing and lands on Jackson, incapacitating him and saving the Queen’s life.

Frank follows Ludwig to the top of the stadium and shoots Ludwig with the other cufflink dart, causing him to fall over the side of the stadium where he is struck by a passing bus, run over by a steamroller, and trampled by the USC marching band. Some of the band members inadvertently step on Ludwig’s beeper, triggering Jane to attempt to kill Frank with Ludwig’s gun. Frank breaks Jane’s hypnotized state by openly professing his feelings for her and giving her an engagement ring. Frank and Jane meet Mayor Barkley, who reinstates Frank back to Police Squad, and a recovered Nordberg congratulates him – until Frank inadvertently pushes Nordberg’s wheelchair down the stadium stairs and launches him onto the field.

Cast

  • Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin
  • Priscilla Presley as Jane Spencer
  • Ricardo Montalbán as Vincent Ludwig
  • George Kennedy as Capt. Ed Hocken
  • O. J. Simpson as Det. Nordberg
  • Susan Beaubian as Wilma Nordberg
  • Nancy Marchand as Mayor Barkley
  • Raye Birk as Pahpshmir
  • Jeannette Charles as Queen Elizabeth II
  • Ed Williams as Ted Olsen
  • Tiny Ron as Al, Tall Lab Tech
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic as Himself
  • Leslie Maier as Herself
  • Winifred Freedman as Stephanie
  • Joe Grifasi as Pier 32 Dockman
  • Lawrence Tierney as the Angels’ manager
  • Reggie Jackson as the Angels’ right fielder

Major League Baseball player Jay Johnstone has a cameo role as do umpires Joe West, Doug Harvey, Hank Robinson, Ken Kaiser and Ron Luciano. Professional announcers Curt Gowdy, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver, Mel Allen, Dick Enberg, and Dick Vitale appear as play-by-play commentators, as does Dr. Joyce Brothers. John Houseman appears (uncredited) as a driving teacher.

The film was shot at various locations in and around Los Angeles, California.

Principal photography was from February 22 to May 6, 1988.

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! grossed $78.8 million at the box office. The film was released on December 2, 1988 and in its opening weekend, finished in first place, grossing $9.3 million. In its second weekend, it grossed $6.1 million, falling to second place behind the newly released Twins ($11.2 million).

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