Noises Off (1992) is a movie adaptation of a farcical stage play about the production of a stage play. The camera moves freely between front stage and back stage, so you get to see both what the audience sees, and the behind-the-scenes action the audience will usually never see. (The movie’s name is taken from a theater term for sounds produced offstage, and there are plenty of those in the movie.)
Just watching the movie, it’s fairly obvious that it would work better as a play (because of the layout of the set and the nature of the humor). But this movie is an entertaining and (according to those who’ve seen the play) faithful adaptation of the play.
The cast is loaded with recognizable names and faces, including Carol Burnette, Michael Caine, Marilu Henner, Julie Hagerty, Mark Linn-Baker, Nicollette Sheridan, and the too-early-gone John Ritter and Christopher Reeve. They’re all quite funny to watch, and the timing amongst them is (and has to be) spot on for the movie to work. Thankfully, the timing is spot-on, leading to many humorous moments.
The movie follows the stage troupe working on their play, starting with rehearsals and opening in Iowa, traipsing through various other small towns, and finishing up with the big opening night on Broadway. Along the way, we get to watch as the group teeters on the brink of disaster, each night’s show bringing a fresh crisis. Whether it’s an alcoholic old-timer or relationship issues between some of the actors, there’s always something going on to disrupt the play’s normal flow. Many scenes stand out, but there’s one involving bottles of alcohol, flowers, and hijinks among the actors that leaves me laughing every time.
Sadly, this oldie hasn’t been remastered for Blu-Ray, nor is it available for legal streaming on any of the services I checked. That leaves just the Amazon DVD, or “alternative solutions” if you’re interested in watching some great actors have a lot of fun with a unique concept. Well worth watching, and probably not a movie style you’ve seen done before.
|The Movie DB