Special thanks goes out today to Ckckred for reminding me to revisit this film. I must have been about ten or eleven years old when I first saw Mel Brooks’s Silent Movie, right after finding his underrated Spaceballs to be a wild hoot. Clearly, I remembered not much of it from that long ago, as I discovered when I gave it a second shot tonight. I tried to laugh in silence to remain the purpose of the movie, but it was extremely difficult at times to do so. So please…shut up and read my review!!!
Bottom Line: Very, very funny Mel Brooks comedy.
Directed by: Mel Brooks
Starring: Anne Bancroft, Bernadette Peters, Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, James Caan, Liza Minnelli, Marcel Marceau, Marty Feldman, Mel Brooks, Paul Newman
It seems some of Mel Brooks’s most creative ideas turn out as either overlooked or underrated, both to ridiculous amounts. He’s an utter genius, but when you have people that pay no mind to HIGH ANXIETY, his Alfred Hitchcock lampoon, or critics who find SPACEBALLS, his STAR WARS parody, far more stupid than funny, we’re left with ideas like YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and BLAZING SADDLES that are equal parts successful and hilarious, but definitely more innovative than inventive. Of all the pots of gold that have been overlooked, SILENT MOVIE is the czar, without a doubt. I’m confident in saying that millions of people who enjoy slapstick humor and farcical ridicule have no clue what they are missing out on.
SILENT MOVIE wordlessly speaks a story of a silent film production gone utterly wrong. Mel Funn (Mel Brooks) was a big-name filmmaker whose career was ruined by heavy drinking, but he plans on getting back with a little help from his friends, Marty Eggs (Marty Feldman) and Dom Bell (Dom DeLuise). His idea is to direct the first silent film in over forty years, and when he brings it to the Chief of “Big Pictures Studios”, he is told that he may film his project if he finds a group of big-name actors. So he does, he seeks down Anne Bancroft (THE GRADUATE), Burt Reynolds (DELIVERANCE), James Caan (THE GODFATHER), Liza Minnelli (CABARET), Paul Newman (THE STING), and world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau–all portrayed by themselves.
In terms of being a reverent homage to the silent era, SILENT MOVIE is a complete failure. But with a director like Mel Brooks, dubbed the Master of the Spoof, you can’t quite expect this to be a 1976 comparison for THE ARTIST. We understand from the very beginning that this is more of a comedic pasquinade than a melodramatic homage, once we see color cinematography and hear corny, Three Stooges-esque sound effects. Yes, the film is silly. It’s about as nonsensical and stupid of a romp as you can get, quite frankly. But as this is a comedy that pays no mind to being straightforward or taking itself one bit seriously, it just makes it all the more fun. Because stupid is as stupid…entertains, I guess.