We're excited to present a great new set of boards to classic movie fans with tons of new features, stability, and performance.

If you’re new to the message boards, please “Register” to get started. If you want to learn more about the new boards, visit our FAQ.

Register

If you're a returning member, start by resetting your password to claim your old display name using your email address.

Re-Register

Thanks for your continued support of the TCM Message Boards.

X

Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

X

Jump to content


Photo

Daily Dose of Doozy #15: Remixing of Classic Genres: ZAZ and Leslie Nielsen


  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

#21 MrZerep

MrZerep

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

Posted 29 September 2016 - 05:49 PM

ZAZ's approach reminds me of a three ring circus- so much going on, where should I focus?  The car gag...one air bag goes off and releases the gear lever and it becomes a runaway car to the point 4 air bags pop open and seems to drive itself making a right turn and no one in pursuit.  The screaming voices on the soundtrack add to the visual mayhem.  Later, after the anti-graffitti wall demonstration (which was priceless) Drebin looks into the microscope until he's told to use the open eye.  We hear the professor explaining about fibers and yet we're watching Drebin lower the microscope lens until the lens part breaks the slide.  Again, there is so much visual and audio going on and yet we know it's part of the humor that ZAZ is going to give us in 90 minutes.

 

I would have to say they are different.  Mel Brooks uses a more "traditional" set up to get to the gag.  ZAZ is setting up so many things that there are gags within gags to get to the payoff.  Overlapping visuals mixed with audio and it pays off.

 

Inspector Clouseau is a tad suave, sophisticated and buffoonish.  He tries to hide his bumbling by acting if what he has broken or destroyed is part of his regular routine.  Frank Drebin, on the other hand reacts as if he knows something is wrong, but he acts innocent and if to say he wasn't responsible for whatever is broken or destroyed.


  • Marianne and HEYMOE like this

#22 Whipsnade

Whipsnade

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 40 posts
  • LocationArroyo Grande, California

Posted 29 September 2016 - 05:46 PM

     The approach David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker (ZAZ) take to film parody and spoofs, in this clip from “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad” (1988), is to create the humor primarily from visual gags that are juxtaposed with Frank Drebin’s (Leslie Nielsen) deadpan narration, dialogue and performance.   The “Joe Friday” narrative approach and acting style, along with the setting, creates the feel of the “Dragnet“ style of police procedural show that ZAZ are parodying.  The logical disconnect between the action and Drebin’s reaction to it heightens the humor.  If one only listens to his narration and dialogue while ignoring all that is going on around him (a tall order, indeed), there is no humor in his presentation -- all the humor comes from the context and his disconnection with it.   Frank arrives at headquarters and parks in his usual fashion (by crashing into something, as he always did on the 1982 TV show, “Police Squad”).  When the car’s air bags put it into drive, the car almost runs Frank over.  He reacts by pulling his gun, shooting the car and asking if anyone saw the driver.  The scene is one of total chaos, but Frank reacts stoically; he causes the chaos, but he isn’t involved in it.  The only hint of humor in his performance is when he gives the camera a look that indicates he just realized it was his car.  The action moves inside as he meets with his captain, Ed Hocken (George Kennedy), to discuss the case.   One of the “lab boys,” Ted Olsen (Ed Williams) interrupts them to show off some new stuff.  This part of the scene acts as a parody of “James Bond” (and homage to “Get Smart!”) and creates more gag opportunities with the Swiss Army Shoe and Tranquilizer Dart Cufflinks.  Tall Al (Tiny Ron) comes in (in another callback to “Police Squad”) eating a banana -- he is so tall that we never see his head.  Frank tells him he has something on the corner of his mouth. It is a half of a banana.  The gags are constant, and Frank’s reaction is consistently dispassionate and unaffected.

 

     The ZAZ approach to spoofing is different from that of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.  While Brooks and Wilder approached their parody by blending elements of both subtle and broad humor in a loving tribute to their specific subject (in “Young Frankenstein” (1974)), ZAZ used an unending stream of broad visual and verbal humor, overlain with the deadpan performance of Leslie Nielsen, to lampoon the entire category of TV police procedurals. The intellectual depth of “Young Frankenstein” is greater than that of “Naked Gun.”  Because the parody in YF is narrowly focused on the content of three films (and is more subtle), greater knowledge of those films is required to fully realize the humor.  With NG, a general knowledge of the “Dragnet” style is sufficient to get the parody, and the humor is so broad as to be self-explanatory.

     Jacques Clouseau and Frank Drebin are both detectives who take their jobs seriously and have a great deal of pride in their relative positions.  For both, their sense of self-worth is built on being a detective.  Unfortunately, neither one is a good detective in terms of procedure, though they both have an uncanny ability to stumble onto the solution of a case, in the end.  If Frank Drebin is a caricature of Joe Friday, Jacques Clouseau is more like Hercule Poirot.  Drebin is a more “working class” character, while Clouseau is a bit of a snob.  His snobbishness makes Clouseau more self-aware and self-conscious of his mistakes.  When he makes a mistake, his pride will not let him admit it, and his attempts to cover it up make matters worse (as demonstrated by the “cue rack” mishap).  If Clouseau is a “self-conscious klutz,” Drebin is an “oblivious force of nature.”  Drebin seldom realizes he has made a mistake; he is blissfully unaware of the chaos that he creates around him (as demonstrated by his parking skills).  While Clouseau is often involved in the chaos he creates, Drebin is a “catalyst for chaos.”  His presence facilitates the chaos, yet he is (usually) not involved in it.           


  • Russell K, Heather Mary and Martha S. like this

#23 Higgs5

Higgs5

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:59 PM

Clouseau’s persona is original and not intended to spoof other detective characters.   Drebin’s persona drifts between a Joe Friday, James Bond, Marlowe, and a bit of Dirty Harry style detective/crime solver as captured in the film clip (e.g. “Ted” the “Q” equivalent in the crimes lab and get a sampling of his latest inventions, the  classical “you’ve got 24 hours” to clear your partner even though all the evidence is stacked against him, the opening scene in which Drebin blows up his own car).

As with Brooks and Wilder in Young Frankenstein, ZAZ employs the technique of recombining old genres/calling to mind classical characters and building in carefully timed physical comedy, play on words, and memorable one liners. We see elements of classic (three stooges/Marx brothers like) gags and  brawls in both films and each set of directors also push the envelope by  injecting  a fair amount of  potty, ethnic, and sexual humor.

Drebin is somewhat less inept than Clouseau,  but equally as clumsy and as apt to set off a chain of disasters. He seems less confounded by his mistakes than Clouseau but is similarly convinced of his own intelligence.  Drebin uses more detective “rhetoric” and is more proactive in solving his cases and employs more high tech “gadgets” . Like Clouseau he makes use of disguises.  He is also more apt to take on criminals/terrorists directly; setting traps for them and initiating fist fights.


  • Heather Mary likes this

#24 Dubbed

Dubbed

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,047 posts

Posted 29 September 2016 - 06:29 AM

This scene is robust in its number of gags. Before I delve into the parodying nature of The Naked Gun, I must cite the voice over from Detective Drebin. Upon listening to the V.O., I was reminded of the film, Double Indemnity, and the confession given (as a V.O.) by Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray.) Nonetheless, I thought it was a rather interesting connection in between film noir and slapstick comedy.

Now, in addressing the gags, I acquired a good amount of laughter from this scene. ZAZ seems to approach The Naked Gun in a manner of milking every line of dialogue and every physical occurrence for a gag. If there is an adequate amount of room, ZAZ will do whatever it takes to work something humorous into the scene.

My absolute favorite is Al (the very tall man who seems somewhat interested in eating a banana.) ZAZ uses Al's height to maximum effect by simply not allowing his head into the frame. This hilarious bit is quickly followed by him being informed of having something on the side of his mouth. It turns to be a very large chunk of banana, which falls to the counter with a thud. Typically, filmmakers would adjust the blocking and cameras for this shot, but not ZAZ. Al's gags made for great decisions, as they provided additional humor to the scene which didn't directly involve the main character.

The comparable/differing argument is a definite teetering conversation. While Brooks and Wilder pay specific attention to one film and its idea, The Naked Gun borrows from numerous television shows, yet both films are rooted in a particular notion. Therefore, the nature of the comedic approach with both films is comparable, as they implement parodying films/tv shows of the past.

Drebin and Clouseau are by far two of the clumsiest, clunkiest, most ridiculous examples of detectives/inspectors to ever grace the big screen. However, they both make for terrific examples in defining great comedic entertainment (Clouseau especially.) Their gags are framed around toppling the premise of detectives, investigations, and following proper protocol in an effective manner.

Clouseau seems to directly clash with his surroundings (pool cue stand incident, slamming into a wall upon his exiting), Drebin, on the other hand, is the blatant cause and effect in his own gags. He's absent-minded in his everyday dealings (doesn't put the car in park, followed by lack of realization that it's his runaway car and he's the cause, with the grand finale being he believes there's a "suspect" behind the wheel.) This level of lack of is terribly difficult to comprehend. Clouseau and Drebin are undeniably the definitive in how one should not conduct an investigation, and let's be honest here, they shouldn't even be detectives/investigators. And all of the aforementioned reasons are exactly why they're perfect for such a comedic film narrative. Unlikely heroes creating the unlikeliest situations equating to utter nonsense. A must watch indeed!
  • drzhen, Russell K and Heather Mary like this

#25 KGhidora

KGhidora

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • LocationDenver, CO

Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:54 AM

1. How would you describe ZAZ's approach to film parody or film spoofs in this scene? Cite specific examples.
 

Like others have posted here, ZAZ's approach is to relentlessly fire off the gags in rapid succession.  So many things happen that it's worth watching the film again to see what was missed on the first pass.  Specific examples include every time they cut back to the car another air bag has gone off inside it, and the simple scene of walking to the next room has the moment where two characters walk through the door but Frank Drebbin walks off the set and around the wall to get into the next room.

 

2. How is ZAZ's approach to spoofing similar to or different from Mel Brook and Gene Wilder's approach in yesterday's Daily Dose?
 

It's similar in they are both spoofing specific films and genres, Brooks and Wilder with Frankenstein and other Universal Monster movies of the 30's and ZAZ with Dragnet and other police TV dramas from the 60's and 70's.  Young Frankenstein had copies of specific scenes from the original movies, such as the encounter with the blind man from Bride of Frankenstein ("Fire bad..."), but I can't recall any specific scenes from Dragnet being as closely parodied.  Some of The Naked Gun's gags were parodies of general scenes that could have been from any episode of the show.  In the case of the invention description scene with the Swiss Army Shoe, this could have been Q's scene from several of the James Bond movies. 

 

3. In the context of slapstick comedy, compare Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau with Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin.

 

Both characters are inept and caught up in the insanity happening around them.  Drebin is more of a deadpan character, in tune with Joe Friday.  "Just the facts ma'am..."  Clousseau reacts more to the situations around him.  He bumbles around in the nudist colony in A Shot in the Dark, hiding himself behind a guitar but at the same time bumping into other people with it. 


  • Marianne, MrZerep and Heather Mary like this

#26 Mandroid51

Mandroid51

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 101 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 10:37 PM

1. How would you describe ZAZ's approach to film parody or film spoofs in this scene? Cite specific examples.

The dragnet style seems to be parodied and just about every gun happy action movie ever shown having a cop blasting away...

2. How is ZAZ's approach to spoofing similar to or different from Mel Brook and Gene Wilder's approach in yesterday's Daily Dose?

Less subtle, more quick, possibly even more bombastic in approach.

3. In the context of slapstick comedy, compare Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau with Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin.

Able to play straight while simultaneously fouling up procedure, and the silly way each of them conduct their police activity obliviously and ignorantly. Opposite of standard or ordinary I'd say is comparative.
  • Heather Mary likes this

#27 johnseury

johnseury

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 09:53 PM

1. ZAZ throws everything and the kitchen sink in their gags and this scene is a great example of their approach. My favorite bit is as they walk into the lab, Ted and Ed walk through the door while Frank breaks the fourth wall and walks through the open space.
2. ZAZ's approach is similar to Brooks and Wilder but perhaps a bit more manic and self-referential. In the progression of slapstick through the ages, you see how the performers and filmmakers try to out too each other.
3. Clouseau was a more believable character than Frank Drebin, especially in the 60s films. The 70s Pink Panther films were still very funny but more gag machines than the earlier, more organic comedies. Drebin shooting at (and not recognizing) his own car was very Clouseau-like.
  • HEYMOE, Mandroid51 and Heather Mary like this

#28 Charlie's Girl

Charlie's Girl

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 09:03 PM

I forgot how much I loved the Naked Gun movies.  Leslie Nielsen was priceless -- deadpan and utterly hysterical .  So much so that I forget that he started as a "serious" actor.  When I watch some of his older films I unconsciously keep waiting for the punchline that never comes.  

 

The only thing I would take issue with in the TCM introduction is Greg Proops' assertion that Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley are the  90s Nick and Nora Charles.  Priscilla Presley is drop-dead gorgeous.  No question about that.  But she is no match for the fabulous Myrna Loy.  


  • DebraDancer, HEYMOE and Heather Mary like this

#29 ScottZepher

ScottZepher

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 31 posts
  • LocationHarrisburg, PA

Posted 28 September 2016 - 08:41 PM

A little late to the board, so excuse if my reply is repetitive (also watching the full movie as I write this, so apologies if an extra gag falls in)
1. Gags, gags and more gags:  Visual (car "chases," "The Police Station), Lines ("You've got something on your face . . ."  )

 

2.  Ain't nothing subtle about ZAZ's approach.  Every frame of every scene was fair game.  I remember the original "Police Squad," (one of the few shows I actually watched during that period, (though they might have been post-season reruns), where a couple wanted to be alone, so they went out into a "Japanese Garden."  On hindsight, it might have been one of the reasons why the show only lasted one season.

 

3.  They are both so intensely sure of themselves, but while Clouseau will put his foot through the floor, Drebin will put his foot in his mouth.  That being said:  Drebin is rather like Hulot in that he digs the hole other people fall into.

 


  • drzhen, HEYMOE, Mandroid51 and 3 others like this

#30 clark2600

clark2600

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 06:33 PM

1.  How would you describe ZAZ's approach to film parody or film spoofs in this scene?  Cite specific examples.  Anything goes with this crew, nothing's panned.  Just about anything under the sun is included in this film.  Go get 'em team, all in the name of the brotherhood theme, "all for one, and one for all."  They're back in the flash and ultimately ready for action.   It's a threesome, like "birds of a feather" gathered at the window located at police headquarters.  They're family; inseparable.  Like as if the message were guilded in stone, never leave your partner stranded.

 

2.  How is ZAZ's approach to spoofing similar to or different from Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder's approach in yesterday's Daily Dose?   Like Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder's attack on comedy, ZAZ's approach isn't much different, as to state of all in the name of painful humor; all in the name of cracking a joke.  "Hey, watch out for  that runaway car," that after years of abuse, gains a mind of its own and lashes out at not only its owner, but our fine city.  The laughs are outrageous. The laughter is rather contagious.  One liners are all over the place.  It is rather interesting as to state of the scientist that reinvents a handy shoe that is "kitchen ready," it has everything but the kitchen sink.  The scientist also invents cufflinks that shoot darts that knock the unaware fellow officer out.  His job is defending the little men, whereas in this scene, he appears ready to ditch his fellowman, all in the name of maintaining his badge.

 

3.  In the name of slapstick comedy, compare Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau with Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin.  They are both downright fools, all in the name of comedy.  Frank Drebin is blindsided by enemy in this scene ultimately is his car.  Like Inspector Clouseau, Drebin is your "ordinary, average Joe," who gets by in society by the mere skin of his teeth.  If it weren't for his head screwed on tight, he would lose it at the drop of a hat.  Drebin is like "the knight for a day," King Arthur, as well as "legendary buffoonery of D.F. Lawrence."    


  • Mandroid51 and Heather Mary like this

#31 Pjdamon

Pjdamon

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 05:51 PM

1. It's definitely a parody between the old Dragnet from the 50s and Q from the earlier James Bond. It's one gag after another with Leslie Nielsen saying zingers at a pretty fast pace. That's compared to Jack Webb and Harry Morgan more droll slow pace manner. In the original series it's was slow and deliberate in solving a crime. In Naked Gun Frank's approach is more hap hazard from the moment he tries to park his car, clueless that the car is causing havoc, walking around the door, attempting to to look in the microscope to the expression on his face looking at the lab tech. Ted's shoe was straigh out of James Bond. His gags were just as subtle as Q's when he showed his new "toys".

2. I found ZAZ's approach more like the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges. It was one gag after another and over the top. The scene with the car is a good example of it. The air bags go off, puts the car in drive and ends with the car on fire going down the street. It's much like the scene we saw a couple of weeks ago with the Marx Brothers and the stateroom filling up with people. Both kept piling one gag on top of another to make it one long gag. With Young Frankenstein the pace was more subtle and slower. Unlike others of Brooks films that were produced later.

3. They are both bumbling detectives but the difference with Peter Sellers is that he's somewhat aware of his mistakes. For instance when he knows the pool rack over he tries to put it up right. He's also more refined but he can also be a bit of a snob. His crimes were more among the rich than the everyday person. Nielsen is more clueless noting the example above he immediately starts asking everyone who's car is it and to take names of all the witnesses. He's more of the everyman's cop like Peter Faulk was with Columbo.
  • HEYMOE, jenikoterba and Heather Mary like this

#32 Patti Zee

Patti Zee

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 44 posts
  • LocationNew Mexico, USA

Posted 28 September 2016 - 05:30 PM

Whew! Let me catch my breath for a moment. ZAZ style is a complete and total mile-a-second slapstick festival with anything and everything fair game.

Brooks/Wilder presented a slower paced but well crafted slapstick style homage to Hollywood's past in the form of the great Universal horror movies of the 1930's. ZAZ is making a very fast paced modern comic satire where nothing is spared the slings and arrows of nonstop gags, both verbal and physical.

Inspector Clouseau is usually his own victim as the physical slapstick is most often aimed at himself with him struggling to reassert his dignity. Lt Frank Drebin usually sails serenely through the chaos he sets in motion around himself though he will break the 4th wall with a quick look of oh-oh before moving on as though nothing has happened. The body double used for the most physical of his actions is shown to be a body double with what appears to be poor editing, but is actually part of the gag.
  • GeezerNoir, HEYMOE, Mandroid51 and 3 others like this

#33 nohojim

nohojim

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 04:53 PM

I was struck last night by how beautiful the cinematography and art direction of "Young Frankenstein" are (copying the lighting and set design of 30's Universal horror pictures).  "The Naked Gun" also copies the visual style of the original it parodies, but this time it's the ugly flat lighting and cheap sets of 60's TV.


  • DebraDancer, jenikoterba, MrZerep and 1 other like this

#34 judith46

judith46

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • LocationOhio

Posted 28 September 2016 - 04:17 PM

The ZAZ approach seems to use verbal and visual slapstick in equal amounts;  the airbag/car disaster followed by snappy dialogue about the "Get Smart" contraptions in the lab ("use your open eye") 

 

The ZAZ approach is different than the "young Frankenstein" spoof in the character of the heroes; Wilder is much more manic, Neilsen more matter-of-fact and deadpan.  The props seem to be more important in the Naked Gun clip, with the air bag causing the car to run wild, the gadgets in the lab going off unexpectedly.

 

Everything seems to go wrong for both Drebin and Clouseau.  There are many obstacles to overcome, many of their own making.  Clouseau comes across a little more "crazy" in demeanor, a little less in charge of his own self.  Drebin is modeled on the straight-faced Jack Webb character.  They are both clueless, causing havoc wherever they go, though I think Drebin is perhaps more aware of it.

 

Now I'll read all the other responses and see how much I've missed!


  • HEYMOE, Heather Mary and CHamby like this

#35 nohojim

nohojim

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 04:05 PM

 

Nicholas Laham in his 2009 book, Currents of Comedy on the American Screen: How Film and Television Deliver Different Laughs for Changing Times, has entire chapter devoted to what he calls "suspense comedy" that emerged in the 1980s.  He cites this genre's roots go back to Maxwell Smart in the Get Smart TV series of the 1960s.  He says that Pink Panther and Maxwell Smart were isolated comedic characters in the 1960s and 1970s, and it wasn't until the 1980s that the "dumb cop" and "dumb spy" premise became a dominant trend in film comedy.  Laham argues that this new form of comedy emerged in response to growing awareness of government ineptitude from Vietnam, Watergate, etc.  The focus he claims was on ineptitude versus government corruption.  

 

 

 

I think there's something to Laham's argument.  Some of "The Naked Gun" comes straight out of "Dragnet," like the lab guy we see in this clip.  "Dragnet" was produced with the cooperation of the LAPD (as the show proclaimed at the end of every episode), and you could say the underlying message of the series was "We competently protect the citizens, even though the citizens don't appreciate it or even interfere."

 

Abrahams and the Zuckers and their original audience must have seen "Dragnet" on TV as kids.  By the 80's they had recognized the underlying propaganda in the original shows and were ready to make fun of it.


  • Heather Mary likes this

#36 Heather Mary

Heather Mary

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 30 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 03:43 PM

ZAZ approach to parity films? One word: RELENTLESS. Doesn't feel like two seconds go by before there's another funny. Absolutely hysterical. I think in that scene they goofed on Dragnet, 007, maybe even Get Smart although Get Smart is a goof and spoof. Pretty good when you do a spoof on a spoof. I have to think what this is a spoof of, but when George Kennedy gets shot in the neck with the temporary dart contraption., I love when George Kennedy called out "why?!" It's just so funny . It's a spoof of a profound dramatic movie as the poor character is slowly dying they yell out dramatically "WHY?!" Oh my god this movie is so funny.
The young Frankenstein clip from yesterday was so much more subtle. Because of the great acting of gene wilder. And completely different characters. Today's clip of naked gun shows a huge difference. The naked gun movie is again, relentless over-the-top any chance to tell a joke , In your face funny funny funny. When he goes to park his car and the airbag is come out well of course not just one airbag, Four airbags. And then creating a fire and Frank starts shooting at his own car. And then the subtle scene… I guess subtle. When Frank tells the tall guy that there something on the side of his face, and down falls a huge piece of banana...I'm laughing while I'm writing this. Absolutely hysterical.
The difference between Clouseau and Drebin. Both are blind to their buffoonery. Both are kind and sweet. . But I would say Clouseau is more closed. Frank is open with other people. He's a people person. Clouseau is it a world of his own oblivion.
  • riffraf, LauranMc1945, HEYMOE and 1 other like this

#37 oregon1965

oregon1965

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14 posts

Posted 28 September 2016 - 03:31 PM

{1 He takes the Dragnet approach to police dramas and turns it upside down. like when they walk in to the room instead of going through the  Door like the other two men,Drebin walks past the false wall

 

(2 Mel Brooks approach is seamless everything knitted together. whereas zazs approach is controlled chaos

 

(3 If you put the two together their alike Drebin is the american version of Clouseau thy both embrace the clueless Detective who solves the case without knowing how they did it.



#38 Chris_Coombs

Chris_Coombs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 30 posts
  • LocationNew England

Posted 28 September 2016 - 03:29 PM

The Naked Gun (and Police Squad, the show it is based on) take traditional elements of the Police Drama format and turn them on their head:

     The cop quickly pulling into the parking spot - in this case he always hits something, like the garbage can

     The cop getting results from forensics - in this case the gag with the microscope, walking around the set wall, etc.

     The cop voice over - in this case relating calm information as the chaos of the car gags are in the background.

     The cop getting a new device - in this case the swiss army shoe and cuff link darts.

The series, and the films, take every convention of the classic Police TV format and make ridiculous jokes out of them.

 

ZAZ's approach to spoof is similar to Brooks in that they each take iconic elements and make jokes about them. In Young Frankenstein Brooks spoofs the mad scientists laboratory, the inevitable secret passage, the Inspector's wooden arm, the Monster carrying away the bride,  the angry mob - all archetypal things. Similarly in Naked Gun ZAZ spoofs the archetypal elements of the police show.

ZAZ however tends to differ from Brooks in that the jokes are often visual puns, and visual word jokes. In a Police Squad Drebin says 'Sergant take her away and book her.' only for us to see he is introducing Sergeant Takeraway and Sergeant Booker. In Top secret a chase in an opera house ends in the prop room, only it's propeller props not stage props. In Airplane the air traffic controller wants 'every light poured out onto that field!', only to show a dump truck dumping lamps onto the field. In another episode of Police Squad they go out into the Japanese garden, only to see Japanese people in large flowerpots. These are all visual puns.

ZAZ will often use an iconic element in an absurd way. The standard 'tape marking the position of the dead body', yet it's floating in the water because the person drowned. The standard shoot out between cop and criminal, yet the camera pulls back to see they are only 5 feet away from each other.

Brooks does these sometimes too, but not usually as often or extreme. The night deposit slot for brains at the brain depository is a good example of something I would expect out of a ZAZ movie.

 

I never thought of it til now but there is a similarity between Clouseau and Drebin. Both are bumblers who succeed despite their bumbling. The difference is Nielson plays Drebin more straight, whereas Sellers plays Clouseau as a more comical character.


  • riffraf, HEYMOE and Russell K like this

#39 Knuckleheads Return

Knuckleheads Return

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 28 posts
  • LocationKansas

Posted 28 September 2016 - 03:24 PM

1. How would you describe ZAZ's approach to film parody or film spoofs in this scene? Cite specific examples. I would describe ZAZ's approach as fast paced. You had better be paying attention or the speed of the gags will leave you missing some of them. We move from Drebin driving and parking the car to chasing and firing at his own car  (sure looked like Dirty Harry's make and model), to moving into the lab and meeting up with Ed and Ted. In the lab we have almost a "Q" from James Bond series of gags... the activation of the graffiti wall to the Swiss army  shoe to the knock out cuff links all in just over 3 minutes and 20  seconds. Fast paced...hold on to your hat and oh did I fail to mention heroin in the fabrics of your partner of 9 years' coat?

 

2. How is ZAZ's approach to spoofing similar to or different from Mel Brook and Gene Wilder's approach in yesterday's Daily Dose?

We know that Brooks and Wilder tried to combine subtle with slapstick. I think that ZAZ's approach is just full bore, nothing subtle about it in their spoofing. Nothing is sacred from air bags, to exploding gas tanks, to Swiss army shoes to knock out cuff link darts.

And with all this going on Frank Drebin seems above the fray or should I say oblivious to it all!

 

3. In the context of slapstick comedy, compare Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau with Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin.

Both are cops, one French one American. Clouseau gets a lot of mileage out of his French accent and his Clouseause. Frank Drebin on the other hand tries to parody Jack Webb with the narration of what is going on. In the clip we saw of Clouseau, he gets tangled up physically in the gags. Ripping the billard table top, or being surrounded by the forest of billiard sticks in the tumbling rack. With the exception of the air bags deploying, Frank Derbin stays out of the direct line of fire of the gags. Its the graffiti artists who get the paint spray on them, it is Ed who gets hit by the knock out cuff link dart. Frank just maintains his obliviousness to it all.

Clouseau aplogizes at every turn but not Frank he just presses on. As Dr Gehring mentioned Jack Lemmon was a very good dramatic actor in addition to being a slapsticker... Leslie Nielsen also had many non comedic dramatic parts in his career too.

As Frank would explain:

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: Goodyear?

Frank: No, the worst.

 

:)


  • riffraf, judith46, Russell K and 1 other like this

#40 Motorcitystacy

Motorcitystacy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 55 posts
  • LocationDetroit MI

Posted 28 September 2016 - 03:24 PM

Naturally, the phrase "I was gonna say that" applies as everyone has made a good point. The title is indeed a play on the film noir "The Naked City". The car crash and over the top auto incident that follows could come out of a film noir or police procedural film but ZAZ takes it to the next level with FOUR airbags, a hydrant and explosions.

 

ZAZ is waaaay more fast and furious than Brooks and Wilder with the gags practically coming at you non-stop with barely time to breathe. Brooks and Wilder allow a pause for the gag to settle in.

 

Drebin and Clouseau are indeed incompetent, with Drebin being even more so, not quite knowing what to do when he bumbles, and even the people around him can be incompetent at times.


  • riffraf and Heather Mary like this




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users