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Silent Movie is a 1976 Comedy directed by Mel Brooks. Advertised as "the first silent film in forty years", it stars Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Marty Feldman, Anne Bancroft, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Marcel Marceau and Paul Newman.
It tells the story of director Mel Funn, attempting, with the help of his friends Dom Bell and Marty Eggs, to direct the first silent film in forty years, by hiring stars Anne Bancroft, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Marcel Marceau and Paul Newman to play in it, in order to prevent a hostile takeover on his producer's company, Big Pictures Studio, by the evil conglomerate Engulf & Devour. Hilarity and over the top Slapstick ensue.
May or may not be just an elaborate and clever setup to the funniest joke involving a famous French mime ever.
The Film Provides Examples Of:
- Actor Allusion: All over the place. All of the stars are represented by their hobbies. For instance, Paul Newman is in a racing wheelchair (at the time, he was car racing as a hobby).
- Probably the best Actor Allusion is when the only spoken word of dialogue in the entire movie comes from a mime.
- Aside Glance: Burt Reynolds does this when confronted by Funn, Bell, and Eggs in the old Totem Pole Trench guise.
- Big Eater: Dom. At one point he is seen eating a chocolate bar the size of a door.
- Big "NON!": The only spoken line of the film.
- Casting Gag: The Big No is by a mime.
- Chekhov's Gun: A faulty Coca-Cola vending machine which is later used as an improvised grenade launcher.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Marty. Unusual because he's also a Casanova Wannabe.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Funny Background Event
- Fun with Subtitles: The DVD has separate audio tracks for English, French and Spanish, and subtitles.
[No Audible Dialog]
[No Audible Dialog Continues]
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Let's just say that if this movie was made today, it would probably not get away with a PG rating, especially since PG-13 is now a rating.
- When a title card says "You bad boy", Mel Brooks is obviously saying "You son of a bitch".
- Gigantic Gulp: Mel Funn at one point drinks from a bottle of wine almost as big as he is.
- Hello, Nurse!: Bernadette Peters. Yummy.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: After being driven off the wagon, Brooks is actually able to lift Marty Feldman into the air when the latter tries to stop him.
- Idea Bulb
- Mistaken for Gay: Funn, Eggs, and Bell are subjected to this twice by the same duo of women. That said, they were essentially dry humping each other in public the first time.
- Murphy's Bed: Various gags during the motel scene; the trope is also lampshaded by a sign at the motel itself.
Featuring Murphy Beds: Charming to the unsophisticated.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hilariously averted; not only do the various celebrities in the movie cameo as themselves, but they are portrayed in a caustically self-parodying way; Burt Reynolds in particular is presented has an immense Narcissist, who stops before mirrors to strike poses and has a giant billboard with his name and photo on his house.
- Of Corsets Sexy
- Parody Name: Engulf & Devour is named for Gulf + Western, which had bought Paramount Pictures a decade prior.
- Real Life Relative: Mel Brooks' wife, Anne Bancroft.
- Running Gag: That poor newspaper vendor.
- Silence Is Golden: Of course. The first major Silent Film release since Modern Times in 1936, and the last until The Artist in 2011.
- A Simple Plan / Zany Scheme: Parodied; the absurd strategies Mel and his friends use to contact the stars and get them to play in the movie always work. When they use a straight approach, it always fails.
- Though it appears that Burt Reynolds at least only agrees to do the film so they'll stop bugging him.
- Something Else Also Rises: When the Engulf & Devour boardmembers are shown a photograph of the woman who would be sent to seduce Funn, the table they're sitting at rises several inches.
- Tempting Fate: The Studio Chief, when he initially rejects Funn's movie idea.
Studio Chief: Don't you know that slapstick is DEAD?!
*The chief immediately slips, falls under his desk, and is propelled by his chair into an object on the other side of the room*
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Inverted, as not only the characters do notice the numerous Funny Background Events, but they clearly show signs of being surprised and bemused by what they see.
- Visual Pun: The prime source of most of the humor outside of pure Slapstick. Of note are the "they're gonna flip!" and sneak preview scenes.
- Wacky Racing: with electric wheelchairs, in a hospital.