A film director and his strange friends struggle to produce the first major silent feature film in forty years.A film director and his strange friends struggle to produce the first major silent feature film in forty years.A film director and his strange friends struggle to produce the first major silent feature film in forty years.
An Interesting Idea
Of course, only Mel Brooks could have the idea to make a silent movie in today's Hollywood. And silent it is-this isn't one of those films like "City Lights","Modern Times","Bean" or "Playtime" that uses background noises and dialogue. No, aside from the brilliant John Morris score, the film is completely silent. Being that this is a Mel Brooks comedy, this COULD be considered a downside. It is filled with sight gags, from a pregnant woman upsetting the balance of the back of the car; the reaction of the executives to Vilma Kaplan, the sultry spy; the video pong-game on the life support machine; and of course, the fly in the soup. Unfortunately, there are stretches where the action moves very slowly, without sufficient explanation. Also, the music score occasionally has very unpleasant, loud drum crashes to indicate when there is action, and these can be an unpleasant contrast to the surprisingly quietly recorded music score. If you want to hear the music score, you'd best buy the soundtrack, where it is clear of the drum/cymbal crashes. The soundtrack mixes bits and pieces of "The Emperor's Waltz"(Strauss) and "Jalousie"(Bloom-Gade) as well as "Babalu"(Lecuona-Russell). The cast includes six main guest stars, as well as character actors like Chuck McCann, Jack Riley, Howard Hesseman and Fritz Feld. On top of this, Harry Ritz of the Ritz Brothers, Henny Youngman, and even Barry Levinson (DINER,HOMICIDE:LIFE ON THE STREETS) as a movie executive. All in all, it makes for genial entertainment and if nothing else should be seen to gain an appreciation of silent comedy. As a movie, it gets a 8/10. For a Mel Brooks film, it gets 7/10 on the Laff scale.
- Nov 7, 1999
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