Freeview film of the day: Airplane!

A shell-shocked pilot has to land a plane when everyone on board is taken ill? Surely you can't be serious.

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Airplane! ★★★★★ 
7.20-9.00pm Film4 

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In 1980, Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker added their names to a noble lineage of movie parodists that already included Charlie Chaplin, Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas of the Carry On franchise, and Mel Brooks. The devastatingly funny disaster movie spoof Airplane! – which the trio co-wrote and co-directed – was a box-office smash and opened doors for a sequel and the equally bankable Naked Gun series. The latter starred Leslie Nielsen, whose second act after three decades of serious role began with Airplane! He plays the doctor onboard the stricken 707, who deadpans his way through a constant barrage of verbal and visual gags, largely at the expense of the tired Airport series, alongside other straight actors like Peter Graves, Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges. In a style later appropriated by the Scary Movie brand, Airplane! also shoehorns in other parodies, notably Saturday Night Fever, in which stars Julie Hegarty and Robert Hays earn their movie spoof immortality (although neither did much after the film). Warning: the paedophilia gags have not aged well.


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