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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mel Brooks and his writers concocted a sight gag they loved, in which the customers at a seafood restaurant would be human-sized lobsters, who pick terrified humans out of an aquarium to be cooked for dinner. However, the gag bombed at sneak previews, and was deleted. See more »
In the Studio Chief's office, the light bulb continues to throw a shadow on the wall even after Mel Funn has his idea. See more »
[mouths, very clearly]
You son of a bitch!
[an insert title appears, which reads: "You bad boy."]
See more »
At the opening credits, a colored print version of the 20th Century Fox logo is shown on a billboard, past which Mel Brooks drives. Then the credits begin. See more »
Deleted from broadcast versions: Mel Funn (Brooks) mouthing the words "You son of a bitch!" to Marty Eggs (Feldman), followed by a title card bearing the words "You bad boy!" See more »
In the land of Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles is often deemed king. Equal successes like Young Frankenstein and The Producers are the king's notorious sons, while Spaceballs is his court jester. And I think it's safe to say Robin Hood: Men in Tights and History of the World Part I would be the beheaded wives unable to bear him children.
But, to stretch this metaphor so thin you can see the blood running through the blue veins of its translucent skin, there's the wise old man, an adviser -- he is, in fact, the king's ailing father. Such is Silent Movie, and such is its role in the kingdom.
Making a silent film in 1976 was a gutsy move, which Brooks parodies by making the plot of Silent Movie about a director trying to make a silent picture. With only one word of dialogue -- spoken, ironically, by Marcel Marceau -- the film relies heavily on the forgotten arts of vaudeville and slapstick. Brooks is not foreign to these tricks; in fact, they have always been the primary source of laughter in all his movies. Sight gags and outrageous behavior are his fodder, and he uses them abundantly here: the Coke machine battle; the board room's reaction to Vilma Kaplan's picture; the heart monitor/Pong machine; and more.
Silent Movie is full of laughs, far more than any director has the right to expect. The reason is because Mel Brooks (who is teamed up here with the very funny duo of Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman) will try anything for a laugh, no matter how silly. Even if we're not laughing, we're chuckling; and if we're not chuckling, we're smiling at the audacity.
To return brazenly to that thin metaphor I hatched earlier would be a kind of critical suicide. Yet I might as well. Blazing Saddles may be king, and Silent Movie may be the wise adviser. And Young Frankenstein and The Producers may be princes. But royalty usually serves a god. That god is Mel Brooks -- and with every movie of his that I see, I realize just how much I love going to his church.
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