Starring; Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise
Director: Mel Brooks
Running Time: 87 mins
Silent Movie is an American film about a film maker who, upon his return to the movie business after drinking destroyed his career, attempts to make the first big silent movie in forty years, despite considerable opposition from the studio and the public.
This is probably Mel Brooks’ most audacious project of all, and whilst it’s a fun idea to make a sarcastic silent movie, that main joke is ironically the main downfall of this film, as it quickly tires and then becomes a bit of a drag that doesn’t feature the same raucous comedy you’d expect from Brooks.
You’ve got to give the makers credit for attempting something so weird and out there, because, as the film itself clearly says, ‘a silent movie in this day and age will never work!’. So, at the beginning of the film, as a sort of shock value, the silence and the title cards are quite funny to see.
However, over the course of an hour and a half, that just doesn’t sustain. From time to time, there’s some really good joke that fits in well with the idea of a silent movie, but for the most part, the slapstick just doesn’t have that same power when there’s no dialogue, and although you can laugh at the whole thing, it’s difficult to muster up more than a chuckle.
What’s more is that the story here is also just a bit too boring, and doesn’t help the fact that the jokes don’t really go anywhere. Again, it starts off as a fun idea, seeing as it’s making fun of itself with a crew desperately going around trying to make a silent film, but the way that the story develops into a very repetitive search for stars and a pointless battle against a big evil corporation is just not that entertaining.
There are a lot of good celebrity cameos here, with the likes of James Caan, Burt Reynolds, Anne Bancroft and Liza Minelli popping up here and there, but they don’t really add much to the comedic value of the film, nor do the three main actors in Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman and Dom DeLuise.
Overall, this gets a 6.9, because despite being a fun, original and audacious idea, this film just never gets going with its comedy and never gets you interested in its story.