Silent Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a killer transfer, the image satisfied.
Only a little softness crept into the image, as some wider shots appeared a bit ill-defined. Most of the movie demonstrated good delineation and precision, though. No jagged edges or shimmering, occurred, and edge enhancement wasn’t a factor. Print flaws were a minor concern. Occasional examples of specks or marks popped up, but these remained acceptably insubstantial.
Colors seemed nice. The film used a bright, vivid palette that looked good. The hues were often vibrant and dynamic. Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows came across as clear and appropriately visible. All in all, this proved to be a good transfer.
While Silent Movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack didn’t dazzle, it offered fairly high quality audio. As I expected, the soundfield was restricted. Music played the main role, and the score displayed very nice stereo imaging. The smattering of effects stayed centered.
The mix earned its “B” due to the quality of the sound. The few effects were clear and accurate, while music was very strong. The score sounded lush and vibrant. Dynamic range appeared full and rich throughout the movie. Highs seemed bright and tight, while lows were deep and firm. This was a low-key but very good soundtrack.
Although the prior DVD included virtually no extras, we find a few components here. A featurette called Silent Laughter: The Reel Inspirations of Silent Movie runs 24 minutes, 45 seconds, and includes notes from writer/director/actor Mel Brooks, composer John Morris, writer Ron Clark, Sledge Hammer! producer/creator Alan Spencer, Buster Keaton Remembered author Jeffrey Vance, Broadway director/choreographer Susan Stroman, actor/Buster Keaton’s friend James Karen, writer/actor Rudy De Luca, and actors Dom DeLuise, Chuck McCann, Jack Riley, Harold Gould, and Carol Arthur.
We learn about the flick’s origins, inspirations and development, direct cinematic influences, cast and performances, some gag specifics and cut scenes, Brooks’ directorial style, and a few other tidbits. “Laughter” doesn’t substitute for a good commentary, but it adds nice notes. It’s an enjoyable, informative piece.
Next comes a subtitle commentary. Speak Up! Historical Hollywood Trivia Track provides notes about cinematic influences as well as cast, crew and production elements related to Silent Movie. Some of this material appears in the featurette, but the trivia track still adds a lot of good details. It turns into an effective way to learn more about the flick.
Finally, the disc includes theatrical trailers for Silent Movie in English, Spanish and Portuguese; all are essentially identical except for the narration. We also find promos for High Anxiety, History of the World Part I, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, To Be or Not to Be and Young Frankenstein
A sweet little homage to the olden days of Hollywood, Silent Movie offers one of Mel Brooks’ more charming efforts. He downplays the crudeness and emphasizes wacky slapstick in this clever and endearing piece. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio along with a couple of useful supplements. I think this is a nice release for a likable movie.
Note that this version comes as part of the nine-movie “Mel Brooks Collection”. It also includes High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, The Twelve Chairs, History of the World Part I, Blazing Saddles, To Be or Not to Be, and Robin Hood: Men In Tights. The “Mel Brooks Collection” packages all nine movies together with a hardcover book for a list price of $139.98.
To rate this film, visit the Mel Brooks Collection (SD) review of SILENT MOVIE