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Silent Movie (1976)

PG | | Comedy, Romance | 16 June 1976 (USA)
A film director and his strange friends struggle to produce the first major silent feature film in forty years.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Studio Chief
...
Engulf
...
Devour
...
Vilma Kaplan
...
Pregnant Lady
Liam Dunn ...
Newsvendor
Fritz Feld ...
Maitre d'
...
Studio Gate Guard
...
Intensive Care Nurse
...
Studio Chief's Secretary
Harry Ritz ...
Man in Tailor Shop
...
Blindman
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Storyline

Aspiring filmmakers Mel Funn, Marty Eggs and Dom Bell 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. The film contains only one word of dialogue, spoken by an unlikely source. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

16 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La última locura de Mel Brooks  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

When Mel's car is lowered when the pregnant lady steps off, a small set of wheels can be seen below the car. These small wheels raise and low the front wheels of the car. See more »

Quotes

Mel Funn: [seen as an insert title] Mr. Marceau, how would you like to appear in the first silent movie made in nearly fifty years?
Marcel Marceau: [in French, the only spoken line in the film] Non!
Dom Bell: [seen as an insert title after Mel hangs up the phone] What did he say?
Mel Funn: [seen as an insert title] I don't know. I don't speak French!
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the movie starts, the word ''HELLO'' can be seen. Then the camera zooms on the O and Hollywood can be seen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blaze of Glory: Mel Brooks' Wild, Wild West (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Brazil
(uncredited)
Music by Ary Barroso
Dance performed by Bernadette Peters
refrain briefly played by orchestra when Vilma is holding the audience at the sneak preview
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Incredible that he got it made - but not a patch on the real thing.

Brooks gets a silent movie made! Surely he deserves some kind of award for this - sure, he got away with it by the similarities between this project and his previous ones: it would be a spoof, a send up of silents, like he'd previously sent up the western, classic horror and the movie business in general. The other way he got it made serves as dramatic irony in the movie itself: "Silent Movie" is about Mel Funn, a movie director who ruined his career with drink, and his misfit friends Dom Deluise and Young Frankenstein's Marty Feldman who try to both resurrect Funn's career and save the studio from being taken over by the evil Engulf and Devour Corporation by putting on a silent movie. The only way Funn gets his studio boss (Sid Ceasar) to agree to the project, is if the picture is loaded with stars! So the primary plot of the movie is Funn and his friends chasing stars around town trying to get them to sign. It is ironic because each time a major star like Liza Minelli or Paul Newman appears for a token cameo, this star by their presence helps Brooks convince his boss to do the picture. Stars are really all that's needed to get a picture green-lit. If you've got Jack Nicholson or Tom Cruise saying they want to do your picture: it doesn't matter WHAT the script is like - it'll happen! There are other ways it'll happen, i'm sure, but the big star is sure-fire.

On to quality control: Brooks ends up with something that's fun, but just not as clever or complex as the thing its trying to send up. Physical comedy is actually a terribly tricky thing to do well, and make funny - and a whole nother ball game from dialogue comedies (the norm for Brooks - if you turned the sound off Spaceballs, you'd be left with nothing. Same for Blazing Saddles. It was presumptuous to think he could make a silent movie. The comic situations he's thought up are just so elementary. Its just a disconnected series of gags sewed Frankenstein-style onto the skeleton of "finding big stars to be in Mel Funn's silent movie."

There's certainly nothing to offend silent film fans here - its all very good natured, just very naive as to how to make a good physical comedy. The man who should actually make a silent comedy is Rowan Atkinson - best physical comic since the masters.

So i guess my main regret is that this will not probably win any fans for silent movies, let alone encourage people to check them out. If you want to see some great silent comedy, check out Chaplin's The Kid, Keaton's The General and Sherlock Jr. Those should be good jumping-off points.


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