Film director, Mel Funn (Mel Brooks), and his comedic companions, Dom Bell and Marty Eggs (Dom De Luis and Marty Feldman) go to see the boss of Big Studio Pictures, the Chief (Sid Caaser), and proposes to him a new idea for a movie - a silent one.
Yep - I said silent.
Strange proposition, I am that sure you will agree. But not as strange as the Chiefs mood I am afraid to say. You see, at the moment, his studio having a financial crisis, and is currently under threat of a corporate take over by a greedy conglomerate called, Engulf and Devour. Plus on top of that, he just hates Mel’s idea! Well, that is until Mel comes with a plan to change the chiefs mind – big stars – and if he can get them, the Chief will agree to produce Mel’s new silent film.
Now the fist ‘Big name’ that Mel and co goes to visit, is none other than Burt Reynolds himself (yep, it’s him). Persistently, Mel and his buddies try a number of dubious ploys to get Burt to agree to be cast in his movie. Such as; a polite knock at the door - no. Then, they take a shower with him - no. And it’s only when they almost get him killed in a steam roller incident, he says - yes.
Next, they go to visit James Caan. (yep, it’s him too). But unlike Burt, he is more than happy to see them, and happier still to be apart of Mel’s movie - after a fashion.
Eventually, the news of these two signings reach Engulf and Devour, prompting them to fly off to L.A. with the intention of stopping Mel’s movie, so that they then can buy Big Studio Pictures more easily. Still, this doesn't stop Mel and his buddies one little bit, oh no, and in quick succession, they are able to hire Liza Minnelli at the commissary (who’s as cute as a button), and then Anne Bancroft at a night club (or Ms. Mel Brookes as she’s also known). Both lovely ladies who are more than happy to join Mel’s cast.
Unfortunately, though, now at an all time high, Mel does get some bad things happening to him as well. Firstly, the Chief is suddenly taken ill, and taken off to hospital for some tender loving care. Secondly, world renowned mine artist, Marcel Marceau, turns down his offer to work in his movie. Thirdly, Mel and his gang are hard pushed to get Paul Newman to going their cast. And fourthly, Engulf and Devour devise a cunning plan to hit Mel where it hurts, and they to do this by enlisting the services of the sultry stage performer, Vilma Kaplan (Bernadette Peters), to seduce Mel back onto the drink again.
Their plan works.
Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires would be a pretty good time for me to keep my mouth shut. huh? As 'The King of Wino's' rise - love is caught in the eyes - film are recorded in the skies - and at the end of the day, who love pies?
THE REVIEW:In my most humble opinion, 'Silent Movie' is a comedic masterpiece made by a master of our time, Mr Mel Brooks, and just goes to show that sometimes the whole slap-stick field of prat falls, funny faces, and general silliness for silliness sake, is better than the spoken word. Now if you’re not a fan of this type of film - shame on you - you probably don’t like to laugh, huh? Saying that though, this is not the most funniest film I have ever watched - or the most silly either.
Nevertheless, what it is, is a film which conveys a slice of yesteryear, wrapped around a clean, bold, and farcical frame work, that is easy to follow and pleasing to the eye. Well, you have to remember that this is a Silent Movie in more than title alone. It’s a silent film in fact. Therefore, what I means by this, is that you have to read in between the silliness, which I have to say at times is a bit off-putting if you don’t like this sort of thing – but enjoyable at the same time.
Still, this is only a minor nag really. And me being me, when I watched this movie, I tried to do my best Mel Brooks accent whenever he spoke. Moreover, me also being me, it came across as being more Mel Gibson than Mel Brooks. Oops!
Anyway, apart from the visual humor in this film, there is also the verbal humor and the cast on offer. Burt Reynolds – James Caan – Liza Minnelli – Anne Bancroft – and many, many more, all of them in their respective prime, whilst conveying the charm that they have till this very day. Oh! And let’s not forget Mel – Dom – Marty – and Bernadette, huh? The four of them performing great visual humor, whilst at the same time still staying in character and allowing this film to progress.
Here, check out some more of my filmic facts: (1) A poster for Mel Brook's other film, 'Young Frankenstein', can be seen in the lobby of the cinema. (2) Engulf and Devour is a satirical take on the production company, Gulf and Western. (3) This was the first Mel Brook's film in which he has the lead role. (4) The world famous mime, Marcel Marceau, is the only person who speaks in this movie. (5) Mel stated in the media that he got all of the big stars in this film for less than $300 a day. (6) This was the last film of Harry Ritz, one of Mel's comedic idol. (7) Carl Reiner taught Anne Bancroft to cross her eyes. (8) This guy has a monotonous voice...
'Silent Movie' is a movie you have to watch at least once in your life, especially if you a fan of all star casts, as well as enjoy looking back at a contemporary version of how films where projected before they had sound. A Classic.
THE RATING: B+