Celebrating “Queen Elizabeth”’s Greatest Movie Role in ‘The Naked Gun’
Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was 96 years old, and the longest-reigning monarch in the history of England. Her death was officially announced by the Royal Family’s Twitter account.
For over 70 years, the Queen oversaw enormous changes both at home and abroad, and remained a beloved figure all over the world. Her regal stature and iconic style also made her a subject of endless fascination in movies and shows — and a perfect target for satire during her seven decade reign. She appeared — as played by lookalikes — in numerous comedies through the years. Perhaps “Queen Elizabeth”’s greatest film role (as a fictional creation) came in the immortal 1989 comedy The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
In the film, the Queen is on a visit to Los Angeles, a city patrolled by Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) of Police Squad, which is put in charge of security for the Queen during her trip. Naturally, things go horribly, horribly wrong, first at a reception in honor of the queen where Drebin temporarily loses hits wits, and then winds up in a very awkward photo op with Her Majesty.
The climax of the movie is set at a Los Angeles Angels game, with the Queen in attendance. The clash between ordinary American baseball fans and refined British royalty, yielded one hilarious joke after another. These are just a few small excerpts from a hilarious sequence.
Evil businessman Vincent Ludgwig (Ricardo Montalban) uses a mind-control device to turn baseball great Reggie Jackson into a brainwashed would-be assassin, but the Queen is saved at the last minute by Drebin.
The real Reggie Jackson even paid tribute to this iconic film moment in a tweet memorializing the real Queen Elizabeth earlier today:
The actress who played Elizabeth in this scene, Jeannette Charles, looked so much like the Queen that she played her in multiple movies, including National Lampoon’s European Vacation and Austin Powers in Goldmember. What was wonderful about these Naked Gun scenes was that the joke was never on the Queen herself, but rather on Drebin, Police Squad, and the generally uncouth Americans she encounters, who screw up her visit at every turn. But through it all, “Queen Elizabeth” never lost her cool. She even threw out an incredible first pitch at the Angels game. I just want to know if she ever saw the film — and what she thought of it.
As Reggie Jackson put it, RIP Queen E.