In this “Get Smart” sequel movie made for network television, KAOS makes a comeback in a world that hasn’t been terrorized by them since CONTROL took them down and put themselves out of the international terror business. Recurring “Get Smart” actor Bernie Kopell returns as Maxwell Smart’s (Don Adams) main nemesis Conrad Siegreid, who leads the new KAOS after it has been bought out in a corporate takeover and is now encountering budget cuts requiring a quick influx of cash. Siegried launches his own plans for world domination with the formula to create a Weather-Control Machine, which gives them the power to adjust the climate anywhere in the world as they see fit, but willing to stop targeting places like the interior of the White House for a ransom of $250 billion to be paid within seven days. Barbara Feldon, Dick Gautier, Robert Karvelas, Harold Gould, King Moody, and Kenneth Mars also appear.
Maxwell Smart (Don Adams), the dimwitted super-spy from the hit TV series from the 1960s, “Get Smart” returned in 1980 for a brand new, racier adventure. Entitled The Nude Bomb, it has lost that title over the years in favor of the more TV-programming friendly The Return of Maxwell Smart. The gist of the film is that an agent from the super-terrorist organization, KAOS, is threatening to rid the world of all clothing if demands aren’t met, using a bomb capable of destroying all forms of fabric. It’s up to Agent 86 of PITS, Maxwell Smart, to put an end to these nefarious plans, although wherever he turns, trouble seems to follow. He suspects there may be a double agent trying to put a wrench in the works, but who?
Andrea Howard, Dana Elcar, Vittorio Gassman, Norman Lloyd, Sylvia Kristel, Rhonda Fleming, Pamela Hensley, Bill Dana also appear in this film directed by Clive Donner.
Erratum Note: Writer/producer Alan Spencer reached out to me on Twitter to let me know that a comment I made about “all” Eugene Roche’s scenes being re-shot after his departure due to illness is not entirely accurate, as you can see him in a few long shots. He recommends the new Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of The Nude Bomb for a vast wealth of information on the making of the film.
Although I released this episode on 12/13/19, three days after the release of the Blu-ray on 12/10/19, I did the research on The Nude Bomb and recorded the episode approximately two weeks prior and did not have the Blu-ray’s supplemental material or Alan Spencer’s commentary to consult, so I do apologize for this discrepancy.
If you’re interested in the most definitive take on The Nude Bomb, please check out the Kino Lorber release: https://www.kinolorber.com/product/nude-bomb-aka-the-return-of-maxwell-smart-4k-uhd
The comedy writing team of Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker brought this first of a trilogy, based on their short-lived 1982 TV show “Police Squad”, of zany screwball comedies to Hollywood in 1988, offering plenty of sight gags, plays on words, pop culture sendups, and downright silly slapstick. Leslie Nielsen returns to star as Lt. Frank Drebin, who seems to have a high success rate in closing his cases despite being an overconfident buffoon. His latest case involves trying to prevent the assassination of Queen Elizabeth II while on a visit to America. A hunch leads Drebin to look into wealthy philanthropist Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban), who Frank thinks is also a scam artist. Drebin ends up falling for Ludwig’s beautiful but klutzy assistant, Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley). George Kennedy and O.J. Simpson also appear.
Ted Wass stars as New York City police sergeant Clifton Sleigh, who ends up getting selected by an Interpol computer that is choosing the second-best sleuth in the world to use to find the missing best sleuth, Inspector Clouseau. Except Sleigh isn’t the best, as Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) deliberately sabotaged the computer to try to find the worst and assure the whereabouts of Clouseau remains a mystery. Meanwhile, Clouseau is still alive in the care of health spa operator Countess Chandra (Joanna Lumley), who aims to change his looks through plastic surgery. Meanwhile, the criminal element of the French underworld tries to take out Sleigh before he can find success in bringing their nemesis back, Inspector Clouseau. Blake Edwards co-writes and directs this attempt to continue the Pink Panther series beyond the death of star Peter Sellers.
Trail of the Pink Panther is a film done nearly two years after the death of Pink Panther franchise star Peter Sellers, compiling the best clips and unused outtakes from prior films, along with new material to hang together a plot around the. That plot involves the theft of the infamous and priceless Pink Panther diamond from the fictional country of Lugash, and Chief Inspector Clouseau, at the request of the president of Lugash, is brought in yet again to investigate its whereabouts, against the wishes of Commissioner Dreyfus. In the course of the globe-hopping investigation, a plane carrying Clouseau goes down into the ocean, where it is presumed he might have finally met his fate. A television reporter is called forth to talk to those who knew Clouseau well, from co-workers to those he helped put away, as well as those who knew of his activities prior to joining the police, from his childhood upbringing to becoming a resistance fighter for France in World War II. Herbert Lom, Joanna Lumley, David Niven, and Robert Loggia also appear. Blake Edwards directs.
John Candy plays Harry Crumb, the bumbling son who never quite lived up to the reputation of his sleuthing father and grandfather in his family’s long-standing detective agency. Instead of running the company, he’s been relegated to being a lowly trainee as their Tulsa office. Ineptitude is just what the CEO of the company, Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones), in Los Angeles wants from an investigator for reasons of his own. Draisen flies out Crumb to Los Angeles to crack the case involving the kidnapping and ransom of Jennifer Downing, the beautiful heiress daughter of P.D. Downing (Barry Corbin) and his philandering new wife Helen (Annie Potts). Crumb begins to use his penchant for disguises to get to the bottom of things.
Fletch (Chevy Chase) quits his job as an investigative reporter when he learns he has inherited his aunt’s expansive plantation estate in Louisiana called Belle Isle. Unfortunately, he arrives to find that the property is completely run down through many years of lack of upkeep, though there are offers for the land from mysterious sources. When the executor of the will ends up dead in Fletch’s bed, he becomes the top suspect in the murder. He soon learns that the reason for foul play is likely because someone out there desperately wants Fletch off of the property, with the main suspect being a local television evangelist Jimmy Lee Farnsworth (R. Lee Ermey), who has plans for the land to expand his Bible-based theme park. Fletch decides to put his nose for sleuthing to good use to get to the bottom of who wants the land bad enough to be willing to kill for it, and why. Michael Ritchie returns to direct this sequel to 1985’s Fletch.
Chevy Chase plays a Los Angeles Times investigative reporter named Irwin M. Fletcher (he prefers to be called by his nickname, “Fletch”) under the pseudonym of Jane Doe. While working undercover trying to uncover the secret to a major beachside drug ring, Fletch is approached by a wealthy businessman named Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) who thinks he is a transient and makes him an offer of $50,000 to kill him. The story is that he has bone cancer and doesn’t want to be around to enjoy the most painful aspects of the disease and wants his wife to get the insurance on it by getting killed. Sensing another scoop, Fletch agrees and soon learns that the two stories he is covering are almost one and the same. Michael Ritchie directs this silly but witty comedy.
Shelley Long plays prissy longtime acting student Lauren Ames who has never gotten an actual gig, finally finding some hope when she makes her way into a prestigious drama class led by an all-time great international acting coach. Bette Midler co-stars as Sandy Brozinsky, a mouthy, earthy waitress who also suddenly finds herself in the same class without any of the talent or desire to be there. The two have a personality clash immediately that only gets worse once it is discovered that they are both in a relationship with the same dreamboat of a man, Michael Santers (Peter Coyote), who ends up faking his death for reasons the ladies have to put aside their petty differences to discover, mostly to make him choose between them. Their collaborative adventure sees them go on a cross-country trip only to find that there is so much more to Michael they never knew, something which gets them on the run from KGB agents and the CIA to hopefully come out alive, with the MacGuffin being a toxin that can destroy all vegetation within miles with just a few drops. Arthur Hiller directs from a Leslie Dixon script.
James Belushi stars as Nick Pirandello, a crude smart-ass that just so happens to be one of the country’s top CIA agents, who is ordered to recruit a mild-mannered suburban insurance salesman father, Bob Wilson (John Ritter), a lookalike for a recently iced agent, to join him on a secret mission that may have interplanetary implications that may result in the end of the world as we know it. But Bob is such a sweet-natured man, he needs a crash course in toughening up to the task, which Nick must do in order to achieve the mission’s success. Meanwhile, Bob thinks Nick is off his rocker, particularly when he begins talking like the case involves aliens from outer space. Dennis Feldman writes and directs this zany off-the-wall buddy comedy.
The plot of Spies Like Us involves the two most inept, low-level U.S. intelligence agents they could find to go on a mission as expendable decoys for the real agents. Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) and Austin Millbarge (Dan Aykroyd) were scouted by the CIA after cheating on their advanced placement exams, with a mission that sees them parachuting into Pakistan. From there, the bumbling duo ends up in Afghanistan, where they’re mistaken for doctors there on a humanitarian mission for the United Nations, followed by run-ins with the Russians during an effort to draw out the identities of Soviet spies in the area so that the real American spies can complete their mission to check out a news style of Soviet missile launcher. With this launcher, they can send up a Soviet missile in order to test the U.S. anti-missile satellite defenses in order to convince the Soviet Union that they have an edge in technology. John Landis directs this silly slapstick comedy.
This time it’s a bit more personal for John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), as his former Vietnam commander and friend, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), has been captured by Russian forces as he tries to rally the Afghan rebels who have been winning the resistance. The Afghani people are too suspicious of the American to willingly join his crusade to spring Trautman from his prison cell, leaving him to go it mostly alone, with one or two friends he has made in his short introduction to their ranks. He faces formidable odds, as the prison is surrounded by landmines, tanks, and hundreds of Russians, and the Russkie leadership is as corrupt and uncaring as the worst of them. John MacDonald directs this ultra-patriotic action-war effort from a script co-written by Stallone himself.
The story follows First Blood, where John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is in prison for his one-man army heroics against law enforcement in the first film. Here, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) approaches Rambo to undergo a covert operation that will presumably save the lives of thousands of POWs still in Southeast Asia, if he can find evidence that they are still being held captive. Rambo is hired only to take pictures, but that doesn’t sit well with the disgruntled vet, who uses the opportunity to get them out while he can. However, corrupt government officials don’t want Rambo to find any POWs, as this would complicate American relations in the area, and when irrefutable evidence is given, the mission is aborted, leaving Rambo all by himself — one man against an army of sadistic Vietnamese and Soviet military advisors, merging America’s former fight with the Cold War enemy of today..
Sylvester Stallon stars as John Rambo, who has spent years trying to track down the only family he ever really knew — the soldiers who fought alongside him in the war. To Rambo’s dismay, he finds he is all alone, as all of the rest were killed in action, or died from cancerous war-related exposure to chemicals, leaving him but to drift along the roads in search of new meaning to his life. In the small town of Hope, the local sheriff (Brian Dennehy) named Will Teasle tags Rambo as a vagrant drifter and quickly ushers him out of town. However, Rambo defiantly tries to return, whereupon he is arrested for vagrancy. When he doesn’t quite understand why he is being incarcerated, he resists their strong-arm tactics to get him to comply, triggering flashbacks of his days as a tortured prisoner of war. Rambo, an ex-Green Beret, perhaps the most lethal of them all, muscles his way out of the station and into the nearby woods, where the police are in hot pursuit. What they don’t realize is that Rambo is a one-man killing machine, with raw instincts for guerrilla warfare and very little to hold his fragile mentality together. He just wants to be left alone, but the police are going to see to it that he never gets his wish.
Cannon Films and Golan-Globus productions push out this ultra-patriotic film in the middle of the 1980s whereby American elite commandos kick major butt when trying to secure the freedom of a plane full of hostages hijacked by a group of Lebanese terrorists. Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin head the super-soldiers to action on the hope of saving not only as many lives as they can, but their own reputation after a botched mission sees them go down in disgrace, they feel, due to bureaucratic missteps. Menahem Golan directs this quintessentially jingoistic but gloriously unabashed entry in the Chuck Norris filmography.