Leslie Nielsen – more than just funny

Leslie Nielsen

I seem to be alone in rating the early work of Leslie Nielsen, who has died, above his later, funny roles.


The first time I noticed him was in Ransom from 1956. The film appears to be titled Fearful Decision on IMDb for some reason. Ransom is a better title for a film about a kidnapping, in my opinion. I thought Leslie was wonderful in Ransom, and I also liked him in The Sheepman from 1958.

Leslie Nielsen

Having read through the long list of everything he was in, I reckon I must have seen him in lots of television series before I watched Ransom, but without registering. I suspect because he was ‘old’ by then. I remember when he was in Columbo. I found him still good looking, for ‘an older man’. Now I realise he was not even 50 at the time…

When I saw that Leslie was in The Poseidon Adventure I had to go and see it. Trouble is it was during the period when my only bus service into town arrived so late that I always had to miss the first five minutes of any film. (In the well-regimented Sweden in the 1970s films started at half past six.) From having read the book I knew he would die at the very beginning, so I wasn’t happy missing those five minutes.

To tell the truth, I was fairly put off by the funny roles after that. Went to see Airplane, but have mercifully blanked out anything else I might have watched him in.

I’m glad Leslie was successful, but I’ll have the early version, please.


One response to “Leslie Nielsen – more than just funny

  1. Intrigued to find the Guardian obituary saying Leslie Nielsen played a policeman in Ransom. I always imagined he was a reporter. And online sources seem to agree with me, which is a relief.

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