Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Silent Movie

Silent Movie; Silent comedy, USA, 1976; D: Mel Brooks, S: Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise, Bernadette Peters, Sid Caesar, Anne Bacroft, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Paul Newman

Mel Funn is a washed up director whose career has been ruined by alcohol. But he has a plan for a new project - the first silent film in the last 40 years - and he is supported by his friends Marty and Dom. But their producer agrees to finance their film only if they can attract famous stars, like Liza Minnelli. Numerous problems occur: the producer becomes sick so the evil rival company hires dancer Vilma to seduce Mel and prevent him to make a film. But the film is shot, then it's stolen, but Mel retrieves it and it becomes a hit.

Despite hundreds of flaws, from the naive touch up to the standard deprivation of the level of jokes, "Silent Movie" is one of the most inspiring and better films by Mel Brooks, who after his acclaimed debut film "The Producers" shot more or less only inferior comedies. Namely, Brooks managed to shoot the first silent comedy during the sound era in the last 40 years - and later on some movies imitated that idea, like "Juha" or "Tuvalu" - and in color (!), while the only word ("No!") in the entire film is spoken precisely by mime Marcel Marceau who refuses to star in the film. There are a whole bunch of good jokes here: the evil rival company has a trademark of hands who touch the world equipped with the slogan: "We have our fingers in everything"; their managers even pray to the dollar; Mel drinks a bottle of alcohol as big as himself; the hilarious chase between Mel and Paul Newman in a wheelchair and a whole bunch of neat little cameos by famous stars, from Burt Reynolds up to Liza Minnelli. "Silent Movie" was nominated for 4 Golden Globes: best motion picture - musical or comedy, actor Brooks and Feldman and actress Bernadette Peters.


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