Silent Movie

Silent Movie

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Cast: Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise, Bernadette Peters

     
 

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Silent Movie is just that: a totally nonverbal comedy, save for one single line. Director Mel Brooks stars as a once-famous comedy director, who with his faithful assistants Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman return to Hollywood with plans for a comeback. Brooks wants to return to the good old days by producing a silent movie (he explains this via subtitle).See more details below

Overview

Silent Movie is just that: a totally nonverbal comedy, save for one single line. Director Mel Brooks stars as a once-famous comedy director, who with his faithful assistants Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman return to Hollywood with plans for a comeback. Brooks wants to return to the good old days by producing a silent movie (he explains this via subtitle). Producer Sid Caesar is agreeable, provided Brooks can line up top stars. In a series of vignettes better seen than described, Brooks persuades Burt Reynolds, Liza Minelli, Paul Newman, James Caan and Anne Bancroft (Brooks' real-life wife) to star in his project. The only holdout is mime Marcel Marceau, who after a few moments of walking against the wind shouts the film's solitary line: "No!" Meanwhile, the crooked executives of the Engulf and Devour conglomerate want to take over Caesar's studio and are worried that Brooks' film might be so huge a hit that Caesar won't be interested in selling. To prevent this, the conglomerate dispatches sexy Bernadette Peters to lure Brooks into drink and ruination. The film's climax is lifted from the 1943 Olsen and Johnson film Crazy House). Featured in brief comic cameos are Harry Ritz as the man with half a suit, Charlie Callas as the blind man, Dom DeLuise's wife, Carol Arthur, as the incredibly pregnant woman, Fritz Feld as the headwaiter (whose trademarked "Pop" is conveyed on a subtitle) and Henny Youngman as the diner with a fly in his soup. Co-writers Ron Clark, Rudy DeLuca and Barry Levinson also show up on screen as three of the Engulf & Devour minions.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Silent Movie is not Mel Brooks's best film, but it may be his sweetest. There's a touching innocence about most of this film, as well as a sense of playfulness that's rather endearing. The trio of characters at the core of the film are essentially childlike in nature, and with no "dialogue" to speak of, there's little room for the raunchiness or crassness that is often found in other Brooks films. (One notable, and hysterical, exception, is the reaction of the Engulf & Devour Board of Directors to Bernadette Peters' Vilma Kaplan. Brooks uses the title cards to good effect, as when Marcel Marceau's ringing phone is accompanied by a "Sonnez" title card or when some clearly off-color remarks are translated in a bowdlerized version. And, of course, there are a plethora of sight gags, some of which work, some of which do not. (The ping-pong game on the life support screen being a good example of the former.) On the down side, too many of the gags are a bit predictable, and the episodic nature of the piece makes it drag somewhat. The very sweetness of the film also seems to water down the humor somewhat; there are not as many laughs as one would expect from a silent movie comedy, especially with this cast. Still, it's always enjoyable, and Brooks deserves credit for trying something as different as a silent movie in the first place.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/01/1997
UPC:
0086162143731
Original Release:
1976
Rating:
PG
Source:
20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mel Brooks Mel Funn
Marty Feldman Marty Eggs
Dom DeLuise Dom Bell
Bernadette Peters Vilma Kaplan
Sid Caesar Studio Chief
Harold Gould Engulf
Ron Carey Devour
Carol Arthur Pregnant Lady
Fritz Feld Maitre d'
Patrick Campbell Motel Bellhop
Charlie Callas Blind Man
Henny Youngman Fly-In-Soup Man
Eddie Ryder British Officer
Hopson Executive
Rudy DeLuca Executive
Barry Levinson Executive
Howard Hesseman Executive
Lee Delano Executive
Jack Riley Executive
Sivi Aberg Beautiful Blonde
Erica Hagen Beautiful Blonde
Robert Lussier Projectionist
Liam Dunn Newspaper Vendor
Chuck McCann Studio Gate Guard
Valerie Curtin Intensive Care Nurse
Yvonne Wilder Studio Chief's Secretary
Arnold Soboloff Acupuncture Patient
Harry Ritz Man from Tailor Shop
Burt Reynolds Himself
James Caan Himself
Liza Minnelli Herself
Anne Bancroft Herself
Marcel Marceau Himself
Paul Newman Himself
Inga Neilsen Beautiful Blonde

Technical Credits
Mel Brooks Director,Screenwriter
Stanford C. Allen Editor
Ira Anderson Special Effects
Stephen Myles Berger Production Designer
Albert Brenner Production Designer
Ron Clark Screenwriter
Rudy DeLuca Screenwriter
Michael Hertzberg Producer
Andrew Horvitch Editor
John C. Howard Editor
Robert Iscove Choreography
Barry Levinson Screenwriter
Paul Lohmann Cinematographer
John Morris Score Composer
Pat Norris Costumes/Costume Designer
Rick Simpson Set Decoration/Design
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Jesse Wayne Stunts

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