|SILENT MOVIE (director/writer: Mel Brooks; screenwriters: Ron Clark/Rudy DeLuca/Barry Levinson/based on a story by Mr. Clark; cinematographer: Paul Lohmann; editors: John C. Howard/Stanford C. Allen; music: John Morris; cast: Mel Brooks (Mel Funn), Marty Feldman (Marty Eggs), Dom DeLuise (Dom Bell), Sid Caesar (Studio Head), Bernadette Peters (Vilma Kaplan), Charlie Callas (blind man), Liam Dunn (News vendor), Fritz Feld (Maitre d'), Yvonne Wilder (Studio chief's secretary), Chuck McCann (Studio Gate Guard), Carol Arthur (Pregnant Lady), Harold Gould (Engulf), Ron Carey (Devour), Henny Youngman (Man with a fly in his soup), Harry Ritz (Man in a Tailor Shop), Marcel Marceau, Burt Reynolds, Liza Minelli, Paul Newman, James Caan, Anne Bancroft; Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Michael Hertzberg; 20th Century-Fox; 1976)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Brooks ("Blazing Saddles"/"Young
Frankenstein"/"High Anxiety") writes and directs this
novelty silent movie with 'No!' asthe
only word said aloud, ironically said by the French
mime Marcel Marceau.
There is also a flood of loud background music, that
swallows the silence.
Movie has a slight plot of making the silent movie
against all odds. It's filled with sight gags. But
only a few work, as laughter is not abundant in this
very silly strained comedy. Brooks's co-writers are
Rudy DeLuca, Ron Clark and Barry Levinson. The story
is by Ron Clark.
washed-up movie producer from the silents, whose
career died because he was a drunk but now has
reformed, Mel Funn (Mel Brooks), and his two wacky
assistants, Marty Eggs (Marty Feldman)
and Dom Bell (Dom
DeLuise), want to make a
silent movie in contemporary times to launch a
comeback for Mel as director. Mel presents the idea to
the harried and ailing studio boss of Big Pictures
(Sid Caesar). He initially turns it down, but when Mel
mentions he will cast it with big name Hollywood stars
the studio boss reconsiders. The studio needs a hit
because the greedy NY conglomerate of Engulf (Harold
Gould) and Devour (Ron Carey), who brag that they have
a finger in everything, is threatening to take over
the struggling studio. The film's Engulf and Devour
satires Gulf and Western, a conglomerate that took
gist of the film has Mel and his cohorts, riding
around in a minuscule yellow sports car
convertible, tracking down stars like Marcel
Marceau, Burt Reynolds, Liza Minelli, Paul
Newman, James Caan, and Anne Bancroft (Mel's
wife) on the streets of LA to be in his movie.
Peters has a sexy role as nightclub singer Vilma
Kaplan, billed as "a bundle of lust".
She is hired by Engulf and Devour to make Mel fall in
love with her so she can stop him from doing the film
by getting him to drink again.
REVIEWED ON 12/26/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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