Culture Magazine

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – S – Silent Movie (1976)

By Newguy

Movie Rob pick Silent Movie for the ABC Film Challenge for comedy, check his site out
[seen as an insert title] “Mr. Marceau, how would you like to appear in the first silent movie made in nearly fifty years?” – Mel Funn

[in French, the only spoken line in the film] “Non!” – Marcel Marceau

[seen as an insert title after Mel hangs up the phone] “What did he say?” – Dom Bell

[seen as an insert title] “I don’t know. I don’t speak French!” – Mel Funn

Number of Times Seen – 1 (18 Nov 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A Director tries to get a silent film made in order to save his career and the studio from being taken over by a corporate conglomerate.

My Take on it – Now a days everyone is quite aware of the fact that Mel Brooks is a great writer/director who can adeptly make a parody film out of just about every genre.

This time, he chose to take a stab at the genre of silent films and does so quite well.

The lack of speech in this film is used quite well to its advantage and helps elicit even more humor because they love to constantly refer back to the fact that the  characters cannot speak out loud.

The do this in numerous different ways and they all work really well.

The slapstick nature of the film is great and my favorite is the use of a coke machine which is hilariously done.

They chose to use background music throughout the film which also adds so much humor to the ideas presented here.

This is all topped off due to the very effective use of sound effects along the way.

The story is set as a story within a story and that helps to make even better use in poking fun at the kind of way that the studios work especially when dealing with the notion of how bigger is better even if the quality suffers due to it.

The fact that Brooks was able to get a bunch of famous stars to parody themselves and the industry in this film says so much for his ability to convince them that this all works for the sake of comedy.

Bottom Line – Brooks once again proves how adept he is at parodying film genres.  The non-use of speech in this film works quite well and helps elicit even more humor since they allude to the lack of speech in the film in so many different fashions.  The use of background music also adds to the humor of things and they manage to top that off with adept use of sound effects along the way. The story itself is a story within a story and helps make even more fun of the way studios work especially by the motto of bigger is better even if the quality suffers due to that.  Love the way that some serious movie stars were willing to take part in this film ion order to parody themselves and the industry.  Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – On the May 19, 1981, broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Alan Alda related his experience of attending the film’s 1976 premiere in Westwood (which had Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft in the audience). Alda said he probably laughed harder than anyone in the crowd, and once the movie had ended, he approached Brooks and Bancroft to compliment them on a job well done. According to Alda, Bancroft didn’t miss a beat and responded, “Oh, that was you laughing? You see Mel? I told you SOME idiot would find this funny!” (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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