Silent Movie (1976)
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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). 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. … More
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Critic Reviews for Silent Movie
Not Brooks' best, but still funny
While Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein stride across the land with seven-league boots, Silent Movie glides on tip-toe like Bugs Bunny in ballet slippers.
Mel Brooks has never known when a joke is worthy of a five-minute bit and when it's something you can flesh out into a full length feature.
Largely a success due to some very funny sight gags, but even at a brief 87 minutes, Brooks seems to be stretching things to feature-film length in the last half-hour.
Low end of Mel Brooks' films.
Mel Brooks was THE comic master of the 70's
Brooks' tribute to silent cinema has its drawbacks, but his obvious affection for pre-talkies saves the day.
Nearly everything is done in that special Mel Brooks brand of broad comedy that quickly palls for all but the faithful.
One of the funniest movies from my childhood.
Far from Brooks' best work, but it's the one that makes me laugh the most.
Audience Reviews for Silent Movie
Clever idea for a 15 minute short film is dragged out to a full-length feature. Not only does the gimmick get old fast, but the non-silent era stars don't have the chops to pull off expressive silent acting. I almost never laughed. At least the theater will be quiet enough for you to fall asleep during this dud.More
In case you're wonder, yes this movie is silent! Brooks brings us nostalgia of the old silents, and it is hilarious. If you like his films, I highly recommend seeing this one too.More
so bad it's good, brooks, as usual ("if it works, don't fix it") mugs his way thru this movie about the very movie yer watchin' ("a brilliant idea!!!"), the promised homage to silent films is trampled somewhere, raped in an alley and left for dead. what's left is bits and pieces. the women steal the show here, bancroft and peters turning in the only valid performances. the best part is unintended, wherein "the stars" pose for cameos in the credits "as themselves" and we get to see their apparent discomfort playing that part. it was made in the seventies, and mere nostalgia prompted me give this film one more star than it deserved, and maybe a star and a half.More
I think the mimicking of silent era acting was funny even if the story was so so. Still, the slapstick and physical comedy made it worth it. "Ars es pecunia" was the greatest line of the whole movie, for any of you with an ounce of Latin.More
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