Upon researching classic slap scenes for this eight-week feature on Film Blerg, I came across one particular scene that fit perfectly for this week’s episode. Rosie was a polarising character in the novel. Well, in my view she was. In actuality, it seemed that everyone just wanted to slap her. So you can imagine the gleeful smile on my face when I came across this week’s slap. It represents what everyone would like to do to Rosie but just didn’t get the chance to do so.
Film: Flying High (1980) also known as Airplane.
The Players: Panic stricken girl (the slapped), the doctor (Leslie Nielson), a flight attendant, a nun and the whole plane full of passengers (the slappers)
Social context: Long before 9/11, anxiety in the air was lampooned with this send up the 1957 film Zero Hour, as well as references from Airport series as well. In this scene, one girl becomes completely hysterical and cannot control herself. Hence, the resemblance to Rosie. However, in Airplane, all of the passengers are so perturbed by her verbal anxieties that they literally get in line to beat the shit out of her. So, we are talking mob mentality collective violence here.
Velocity: With this clip, it’s all about the shaking. The first slapper really does shake her up quite well and gives her a nice slap. But it’s the velocity in Leslie Nielson’s slaps that are perfect. Comic genius is displayed with his second slap where he quickly whacks her another one as he leaves to take the call. The nun’s velocity is the weakest with her hand quite close to the hysterical girl’s face.
Hardness: Once again, Nielson comes up the winner with the hardest slaps displayed. The first gentleman also slaps well with a hard whack, but the swing in Nielson’s hand movement proves to be the funniest and most imaginatively painful.
Sound: Coupled with the shaking sounds of anxious terror, the slaps sound particularly classic. What I referred to as rubber being slapped onto a cold hard stone seems to once again fit the description.
Be sure to check out all of our previous classic screen slaps here.