Silent Movie (1976)

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Released 9-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 83:47
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mel Brooks
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Mel Brooks
Marty Feldman
Dom DeLuise
Sid Caesar
Bernadette Peters
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Morris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, cameos during end titles

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is yet another Mel Brooks movie, starring himself and regulars Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise and Bernadette Peters. In addition, there are numerous guest stars including Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Liza Minnelli, Anne Bancroft, Marcel Marceau, and Paul Newman.

    Film director Mel Funn (Mel Brooks) is trying to recover from his alcoholism and stage a career comeback. Together with his friends Marty Eggs (Marty Feldman) and Dom Bell (Dom DeLuise), they manage to persuade the Studio Chief (Sid Caesar) to allow them to make a Silent Movie, but on condition that they secure some big name stars to appear in the film.

    As they drive around Hollywood trying to sign up the big stars, mega-conglomerate Engulf and Devour is trying to acquire Big Pictures Studios and they definitely do NOT want Mel and his friends to succeed!

    What follows is your typical Mel Brooks film consisting of a mixture of slapstick, funny situations and clever dialogue (rendered in old fashioned black and white frames on screen of course).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer, presented in the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1 based on a 35 mm film print.

    Given the age of the film, the transfer is not too shabby, with good black levels, reasonable contrast, and fairly well-saturated colours, though both detail and colour saturation are probably quite a few notches below reference quality.

    Grain is noticeably present, though at bearable levels. I also detected slight edge enhancement and some occasional Gibb's effect artefacts.

    There are several subtitle tracks present, including Dutch, English for the Hearing Impaired, French, German for the Hearing Impaired, Italian, and Spanish. I was curious as to why an English subtitle track was necessary (after all, this is a Silent Movie!) but discovered that it is mostly used to transcribe foley effects as well as descriptions of background music (such as "joyful instrumental music").

    Part of the fun of the film for lip-readers is that occasionally the on-screen dialogue title cards don't really reflect what the characters are saying - they appear to be "sanitised" versions of the words actually spoken.

    This is a single-sided single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track present: English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192kb/s).

    I doubt that the original theatrical print had surround sound (it was probably released with a mono optical audio track) but the music and foley effects appear to be in stereo so the soundtrack may well have been remixed for surround.

    In any case, engaging Dolby Pro Logic II created a pleasant ambience mainly for the background music in the surround channels. I did not notice any instances of panning of foley effects to the surround channels.

    There is only one word of dialogue in this film, and it's spoken by a very unlikely member of cast. The audio seems synchronized to the video for this one word.

    The background music (by John Morris) seems to be a parody of the Hollywood orchestral style.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is a fairly bare bones release.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced but static.

Theatrical Trailer (1:53)

    This is presented in 1.85:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kb/s). There are a fair number of both white and black film marks in the source.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title has yet to be released in Region 1.

Summary

    Silent Movie is yet another classic Mel Brooks film, given the bare bones treatment.

    The video transfer quality is acceptable.

    The audio transfer quality is mediocre.

    The only extra is a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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