Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Film Review With Sam Larner


There's a story that when Mel Brooks — until then acknowledged king of the movie spoof with the likes of Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety and Young Frankenstein behind him — first saw Airplane! his heart sank.

Airplane! is based on a 1957 disaster movie called “Zero Hour”, although it is now considered a great example of how to make a spoof it wasn’t initially accepted, some studios wanted it as a 20 minute sketch whereas others couldn’t see the potential. Eventually in 1980 it was made.  It is still considered the ne plus ultra of comedy films.

The plot revolves around ex-fighter pilot Ted Striker as he attempts to win back his wife. He does this by following her onto a flight, however when the pilot's are killed by the food he is forced to step in and land the plane. The plot is mostly lost beneath the great and plentiful gags that adorn this cinematic masterpiece.

The most amazing thing in Airplane! is the sheer number of gags. Between 5 minutes 14 seconds and 6 minutes 14 seconds there are 8 jokes, all of great quality, including the brilliant, “give me Hamm on five, hold the Mayo”.  Some people have counted the number of jokes in Airplane! and a conservative estimate puts it at 600!

Another distinguishing feature in the movie is that the actors are not comedians; instead they are straight actors who were used because the directors wanted to maintain a feeling of seriousness. This leads to some fantastic lines delivered in a deadpan way, “Joey, have you ever spent a night in a Turkish prison”, springs to mind.

It truly is the Citizen Kane of comedy movies, and the Wayan brothers should have their cameras taken away from them until they have been forced to watch Airplane! at least ten times. Is it one of the best films I’ve ever seen? Yes, surely I can’t be serious? I am and don’t call me Shirley.


  1. I love this film! absolute pink panther style comedy genius! in fact, this post has just reminded me that I haven't seen it for a while...

  2. An excellent review it brought back the hilarity of the film to me. Thank you, Sam, keep them flowing!