|The Great Muppet Caper|
The Great Muppet Caper movie poster by Drew Struzan
|Directed by:||Jim Henson|
|Produced by:|| David Lazer|
|Written by:|| Tom Patchett|
|Music by:||Joe Raposo|
|Editing by:||Ralph Kemplen|
|Studio:|| ITC Entertainment|
|Distributed by:||Universal Pictures|
|Release Date(s):||June 26, 1981|
|Running time:||94 minutes|
The Great Muppet Caper is a 1981 British mystery comedy film directed by Jim Henson. It is the second of a series of live-action musical feature films, starring Jim Henson's Muppets. This film was produced by Henson Associates, ITC Entertainment and Universal Pictures, and premiered on 26 July 1981. The film was released shortly after the final season of The Muppet Show. It was shot in England. It was released on DVD by Sony Pictures on 5 June 2001 and again on 29 November 2005 by Walt Disney Pictures as Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition.
Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo the Great play newspaper reporters for the Daily Chronicle. Kermit and Fozzie, specifically, are playing identical twin reporters, which becomes the source of a running gag - supposedly, nobody can tell they are twins unless Fozzie wears his hat. The two are eventually assigned to investigate the theft of valuable jewels from fashion designer Lady Holiday (Diana Rigg), which they have to beg for after their boss Mike Tarkenian (Jack Warden) dismisses them following the Daily Chronicle's headline about the two of them joining the staff (while the other papers report on the jewel heist).
They travel to London to interview her, but with only $12 for the trip, they are forced to fly in the airplane's baggage hold and are thrown out of the plane as they arrive over Britain while it continues on to Italy. They stay at the dilapidated (but free) Happiness Hotel, run and populated by Pops, Scooter, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem. When Kermit seeks out Lady Holiday in her office however, he instead finds the love of his life Miss Piggy and fails to recognize her, mistaking her for the fashion designer. Piggy (who was interviewing for a job) masquerades as Lady Holiday, even going so far as to sneak into a ritzy townhouse (located at 17 Highbrow Street) to impress Kermit with her dwellings much to the surprise of the true British residents Neville (John Cleese) and Dorcas (Joan Sanderson).
At a night club restaurant, Lady Holiday's necklace is stolen by her jealous brother, Nicky (Charles Grodin), and his assistants Carla (Kate Howard), Marla (Erica Creer), and Darla (Della Finch), three of her put-upon fashion models. Despite Nicky's instant attraction to Miss Piggy, they successfully frame her for the theft and plan to steal an even more valuable prize—the coveted Baseball Diamond, which is on display at a local gallery, the Mallory Gallery. Unfortunately for them, Gonzo is under a nearby table and overhears them. Kermit's crew, along with their friends from the Happiness Hotel, have no choice but to intercept and catch the thieves themselves in order to vindicate Miss Piggy.
The Muppets get to the Mallory Gallery, and get to the Baseball Diamond at the same time as the thieves, use the Baseball Diamond in a game of Keep-away and later baseball, while Louis Kazagher commentates. Piggy, meanwhile, has escaped from prison and, in a bout of serendipity, finds a motorcycle which she uses to crash into the Gallery's window, knocking Nicky, who is holding Kermit hostage, out in the process. Carla, Marla and Darla confront Piggy, only to be quickly dispatched by a flurry of furious karate chops. As the police arrive, Piggy is cleared from all charges, Nicky and his fashion model-acquaintances are arrested, and the Muppets get their deserved credit for foiling the heist. The Muppets then return to America the same way they departed, being thrown out of the cargo hold and parachuting back to Earth, over the end credits.
- Charles Grodin as Nicky Holiday: Lady Holiday's irresponsible brother and the main antagonist. He is responsible for the jewel heist on his sister with the help of three of her fashion models, Carla, Darla, and Marla.
- Diana Rigg as Lady Holiday: A famous British fashion designer who has been the victim of a jewel heist.
- Erica Creer as Marla, one of both Lady Holiday's models and of Nicky's henchmen.
- Kate Howard as Carla, one of both Lady Holiday's models and of Nicky's henchmen.
- Della Finch as Darla, one of both Lady Holiday's models and of Nicky's henchmen.
- Michael Robbins as Henderson: A security guard at the Mallory Gallery
- Joan Sanderson as Dorcas: A middle-aged Englishwoman, married to Neville; they reside at 17 Highbrow Street
- Peter Hughes as Stanley - Maitre D' at the Dubonnet Club and an old acquaintance and favoured patron of Lady Holiday
- Peggy Aitchison as a prison guard
- Tommy Godfrey as a bus conductor
- Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, and The Muppet Newsman
- Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam the Eagle
- Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Pops, and Lew Zealand
- Richard Hunt as Scooter, Statler, Sweetums, Janice, and Beaker
- Dave Goelz as Gonzo the Great, Beauregard, Zoot, and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
- Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat, and Lips
- Louise Gold as Annie Sue and Lou
- Caroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch ("a very brief cameo")
John Cleese appears as Neville, a middle-aged British homeowner who lives with his wife Dorcas at 17 Highbrow Street. Robert Morley appears as a British gentlemen. Peter Ustinov portrays a truck driver. Jack Warden portrays Mike Tarkenian, an editor of the Daily Chronicle. Peter Falk appears as a tramp. In addition to performing the Muppets, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt also appear in cameo roles. Henson appears as one of the Dubonnet Club patrons to whom Gonzo offers a souvenir photo; Oz as a reporter in the Daily Chronicle office; Nelson as a man in the park alongside his daughter Christine Nelson playing the man's daughter; Hunt as a cab driver with Kathryn Mullen appearing as a taxi passenger. Also, Henson's son Brian appears riding a tricycle that pulls a line of Muppets on bicycles.
- "Main Title Theme" (2:49)
- "Hey a Movie!" (2:42)
- "The Big Red Bus" (1:26) (Score)
- "Happiness Hotel" (3:05)
- "Lady Holiday" (1:12) (Score)
- "The First Time It Happens" (4:12)
- "The Apartment" (0:53) (Score)
- "Night Life" (2:57)
- "Steppin' Out With a Star" (2:31)
- "Couldn't We Ride" (3:07)
- "Miss Piggy's Fantasy" (3:58)
- "The Great Muppet Caper" (3:48)
- "Homeward Bound" (0:52) (Score)
- "Finale: Hey, a Movie! (reprise)" (1:30)
- "The First Time It Happens (reprise)" (1:30)
Score cues left off the soundtrack
- Stop the Presses!
- Splash Landing
- "Happiness Hotel" (Full version)
- Applying for a Job
- Kermit Meets Piggy
- Getting Ready
- You Can Come/17 Highbrow Street
- A Pig and a Lizard
- Dubonnet Club (Instrumental of "Steppin' Out with a Star")
- I Think I’ve Got a Picture of the Thief
- The Cookie Jar Just Busted/In the Park
- Would You Like to Buy a Watch?
- Kermit and Piggy Argument
- I’m Sorry I Left You
- I Can’t Be Responsible For What Might Happen
- Fashion Show
- The Baseball Diamond Will Be Ours
- We Don’t Want the Bad Guys to Win
- Pig in the Pokey
- I Love You, Rosenthal
- The Heist (Full version, much longer with many short cues)
The Great Muppet Caper has received generally positive reviews. As of 6 July 2009, Rotten Tomatoes has reported that 71% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 17 reviews. The film grossed $31,206,251 during its run at the box office behind the grosses of The Muppet Movie and Muppet Treasure Island.
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