DVD review of Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie – Aspiring filmmakers Mel Funn (Mel Brooks), Marty Eggs (Marty Feldman) and Dom Bell (Dom DeLuise) go to a financially troubled studio with an idea for a silent movie. In an effort to make the movie more marketable, they attempt to recruit a number of big name stars to appear, while the studio’s creditors attempt to thwart them
Editorial Review of Silent Movie, courtesy of Amazon.com
One of Mel Brooks’s weaker vehicles, this 1976 feature finds a movie producer (Brooks) deciding that the public is ready for the silent film form again. Reasonably ambitious and promising, the film ultimately doesn’t do for silent cinema what Brooks did for atmospheric horror (by reviving it while parodying it) in Young Frankenstein. Lots of famous faces pass through Silent Movie, to varying effect. Perhaps the best joke in the movie is the one performer who actually has a line of dialogue: mime Marcel Marceau. —Tom Keogh
Product Description of Silent Movie
Mel Brooks, Dom Deluise and Marty Feldman pay affectionate, hilarious tribute to Hollywood’s Silent Era in this classic parody of the movie business. Attempting to save his studio from the conglomerate “Engulf and Devour,” a has-been movie director (Brooks) casts some of the hottest movie stars in town (all of whom spoof themselves) in one huge blockbuster film.
Trivia for Silent Movie (1976)
- Marcel Marceau, the famous mime, has the only speaking line in this movie: “Non!” (when refusing a role in the silent film). As a result, the movie has been listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records as having the fewest spoken lines of any sound movie.
- The logo for Big Picture Studios features the slogan “Ars est pecunia” which is “Art is money” in Latin. This is a takeoff on the MGM slogan “Ars gratia artis” which means “Art for art’s sake.”
- The villainous company Engulf & Devour is a spoof of Gulf & Western, which between 1965 and 1970 swallowed up 80 different companies, including Paramount Pictures in 1966.
- At the sneak preview of the silent movie, several posters for Young Frankenstein (1974) are visible in the theater lobby.
- One scene shows the skyline of New York City. The orchestra begins playing “San Francisco”, and the music comes to a sudden and noisy halt. The orchestra then goes into “I’ll Take Manhattan”.
- Mel Brooks claimed that he was able to get all of the big star cameos (Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Liza Minnelli, Paul Newman, etc.) for under $300 a day, far below their normal salaries. Though, of course, they didn’t have to learn any lines.
- The cameo in this film was the last movie appearance for Harry Ritz, whom Mel Brooks described as “the funniest man on Earth” and one of his strongest comedic influences.
- The first of Mel Brooks’s films in which he plays the lead role.
- Mel Brooks … Mel Funn
- Marty Feldman … Marty Eggs
- Dom DeLuise … Dom Bell
- Sid Caesar … Studio Chief
- Harold Gould … Engulf
- Ron Carey … Devour
- Bernadette Peters … Vilma Kaplan
- Chuck McCann … Studio Gate Guard
- Valerie Curtin Curtin … Intensive Care Nurse
- Yvonne Wilder … Studio Chief’s Secretary
- Harry Ritz … Man in Tailor Shop
- Charlie Callas … Blindman
- Henny Youngman … Fly-in-Soup Man
- Arnold Soboloff … Acupuncture Man
- Patrick Campbell … Motel Bellhop
- Eddie Ryder … British Officer
- Al Hopson … Executive
- Rudy De Luca … Executive
- Barry Levinson … Executive
- Howard Hesseman … Executive
- Lee Delano Lee Delano … Executive
- Jack Riley … Executive
- Inga Neilsen … Beautiful Blonde #1
- Erica Hagen … Beautiful Blonde #2
- Robert Lussier … Projectionist
- Burt Reynolds … Burt Reynolds
- James Caan … James Caan
- Liza Minnelli … Liza Minnelli
- Anne Bancroft … Anne Bancroft
- Marcel Marceau … Marcel Marceau
- Paul Newman … Paul Newman