THE NAKED GUN
The Naked Gun (15) (David Zucker, US, 1988) Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, Ricardo Montalban. 85 mins. Back in the days belore the hit with Airplane, the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker production team made hall a dozen programmes in a spool television crime series called ‘Police Squad!’ Despite a brief run these programmes became a huge cult success in America and they have now taken the logical step of turning it into a lull-blown movie, starring Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin, a disaster prone LA cop assigned to tind the men who shot his colleague in a drug bust, and also protect the Queen (ot England, as they insist on saying over there). ‘I leel very lucky to be getting away with this kind ol insanity on screen,‘ Nielsen told us, and it is not hard to see what he means. The mix is very much the one we have seen in the team's earlier lilms: some very tunny lines, much ludicrous slap stick action, a prolileration ot sexual jokes (the beaver gag is particularly good), and much irreverence-there is
Memphis where Elvis first recorded. Intriguing mix of stirring live footage and intimate documentary capturing a band in transition. though perhaps just a little too much of the former. Edinburgh: Cameo. I The Unbearable Lightness oi Being ( 18) (Philip Kaufman. US, 1987) Daniel Day-Lewis. Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin. 167 mins. Ambitious adaptation of Milan Kundera's elliptical. complex novel about
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bound to be some outrage over the treatment at the Queen, although Nielsen remains convinced that people here ‘will understand that we were not being seriously ottensive'. The plot- which moves from a broken-hearted Drebin breaking up a conspiratorial meeting between Gorbachev, Arafat and Gaddhati in Beirut to his trisking down two baseball trainers in the course at a game in order to head oft the assassination oi the Queen — deties synopls.
The central axis, however, is the love altalr between Drebin and Jane Spencer (Presley), secretary to the
a womanising Czech brain surgeon who falls in love for the first time with a doe~like beauty from a small spa town. Abandoning his freewheeling former existence, he faces commitment and togetherness at the time ofthe Prague Spring and Russian invasion of 1968.
A dawdling and rather austere narrative is given some spice and interest by an overwhelming eroticism, a beautifully
baddie ot the piece, Vincent Ludwig
(Montalban). In getting from Beirut to baseball it takes more twists than the lrangate hearings, and the jokes — good, bad and downright dreadlul come in rapid tire sequence. Nielsen claims that Police Squad ‘didn’t belong on television in the lirst place, because you have to pay attention to this kind ot humour, and people do that when they go to the movies,’ and he is right in saying so. It is utter nonsense trom start to tinish, but it is such exuberant, intectious nonsense that you can't help but join in the laughter.
judged evocation of Prague and gorgeous photography. otherwise vastly overlong and uninvolving. Edinburgh: Cameo. IThe War Game (Peter Watkins. UK. 1966) 47 mins. Peter Watkins film of Britain under nuclear attack was intended as a warning of the inadequacy ofcivil defence preparations, but still had to wait for almost twenty years before the BBC agreed to finally screen it. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
I Warner's Wackyland (PG) A devastatingly enjoyable eighty-minute programme ofthe best of the violently surreal animated shorts made by Frank Tashlin and Bob Clampett at Warner Brother in the Thirties and Forties. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
I Willow (PG) (Ron Howard, US, 1988) Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer. Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh. 126 mins. A mystery baby turns up in the land ofthe little Nelwyn people, and one oftheir number has to return it to the adult-sized land of the Daikini. However, the kid turns out to be the little princess who will save the country from the clutches ofthe wicked Queen.
Would-be blockbusting fairytale epic offers producer George Lucas another opportunity to refashion the Star Wars narrative in a setting straight out of Tolkien. The result is not unentertaining. but we‘ve all been here too many times before. Edinburgh: Cannon.
I Withnall And I (15) (Bruce Robinson. UK. 1987) Paul McGann. Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths. 107 mins. 1969. Two out of work actors surviving through London giro squalor take a break in a picturesque Lake District cottage, where one of them suffers the attentions ofthe ageing homosexual owner.
Reasonably entertaining British comedy with a tendency to rely on the all-too-easy targets of drug-taking and gay stereotyping for much of its humour. Edinburgh: Cameo.
I Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (PG) (Robert Zemeckis, US. 1988) Bob Hoskins, Joanna Cassidy. Christopher Lloyd. 92 mins. Los Angeles. 1949. and side by side with the human population live the Toons, the cartoon characters working in the movie business. Animated star Roger Rabbit is worried about his wife Jessica‘s faithfulness and hires private dick Eddie Valiant (Bob lloskins) to keep tabs on her, but this is merely the
prelude to the unravelling ofaconspiracy that is to threaten the lives of all involved. and the very future ofToontown itself.
An amazing technical achievement forthe credibility with which the cartoons interact with the human cast and stylised sets. this surefire box office winner efficiently spoofs the film noir genre while milking its Tex Avery-styled highly physical sense of black comedy for all it’s worth. The stars cope remarkably well. but all praise is due to the team behindthe cameras and on the animating boards. for they have returned a sense of wonderto the silver screen. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Dominion. Strathclyde: AMC Clydebank 10.0deon Ayr. Odeon Hamilton.
I A World Apart ( 15) (Chris Menges. UK. 1988) Barbara Hershey. Jodhi May. Linda Mvusi. David Suchet. 112 mins. Based on the experiences of screenwriter Shawn Slovo's teenage years in the South Africa of the early Sixties. the film follows the arrest of her political activist mother and the resultant tensions this brings to bear on their relationship. However. the young girl‘s growing personal awareness ofthe injustices of apartheid lead her towards some sense of solidarity with her mum.
Well-handled and brilliantly acted domestic treatment of the moral evils of the Johannesburg regime. which never opts for preachiness but offers an honest complexity that makes its powerful tale of learning and commitment all the more engrossing. Glasgow: GFI".
I X ( 18) (Oddvar Einarson. Norway, 1986) Bettina Benoun. Jorn Christensen. 93 mins. The impossible romance ofa disaffected photographer and a headstrong photographer is the basis of this stylised exploration of alienated contemporary youth culture. The film has been described as ‘ChrLinane I" remade by Tarkovsky‘. and won the Special Jury Prize at the 1986 Venice Film Festival. Glasgow: GET.
I Yeelen (PG) (Soulemanye Cisse. Mali. 1987) lssiaka Kane, Aouta Sangare. Ballamoussa Keita. 105 mins. A young Bambarra boy steals a sacred object from the tribe and runs off. an act which breaks centuries old tradition and leaves the father carrying the burden-rod of atonement. By way ofescape, the boy goes off on a wild goose chase to finda missing uncle. but the totem oftribal shame still hangs over him.
Completely enthralling African film. whose framework of tribal rituals and mythologies provides an innocent and magical alternative universe that even outsiders like ourselves have little difficulty penetrating. It's an enchanting trip through the epic narrative style ofa remote but not inhospitable culture. see it and wonder. Glasgow: GET. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
I Young Guns ( 18) (Christopher Cain, US, 1988) Emilio Estevez. Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland. Lou Diamond Philips. 117 mins. One William Bonney aka Billy the Kid (Estevez) becomes a member ofa gang of hired bodyguards working for an English rancher (Terence Stamp). but when their boss is ambushed at the behest ofa rival (Jack Palance) it‘s not long before a bloody gang war erupts.
This ambitious stab at breathing life into the Western‘s bullet-ridden corpse gains much from the bankable casting ofits brat-pack stars, but the overall impression is that they have more fun playing at cowboys than the viewer has watching them. Glasgow: Cannon Clarkston Road, Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Strathclyde: WMR Irvine.
I Zazla Dans La Metro (15) (Louis Malle. France, 1960) Catherine Demongeot, Phillipe Noiret, Vittorio Caprioli. 88 mins. A naughty little girl wreaks a day of Parisian havoc. Crazed. refreshingly sherbety Gallic comedy from a then youthful and energetic young director. Edinburgh: French Institute.
18 The List 10 - 23 February