- 1 hr 41 min
The film Noises Off is a highly physical comedy released in 1992, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and based on Michael Frayn's well-received British stage play. It features a veritable cornucopia of talent, including (but not limited to): Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, John Ritter, Marilu Henner, Julie Hagerty and Christopher Reeve. The story is essentially a play-within-a-play--in this case a play-within-a-film. It is worriedly recounted by theater company director Lloyd Fellowes (Michael Caine) to a new-found friend as he frets over the fate of his latest production, Nothing On. The flashbacks he relates give a behind-the-curtain peek at a second (or perhaps third) rate troupe on the verge of self-destruction as they bumble their way from the boondocks to Broadway. Fellowes himself is slowly being driven insane by a cast and crew far zanier than the farce they are attempting to perform. They’re a mixed bag of wounded, forgetful veterans and distressingly scatterbrained newcomers--whose wayward romances, petty jealousies and not-so-thinly veiled hostilities worsen with each successive performance. Then begins the the roller coaster ride: from a very late night dress rehearsal in Des Moines, to a flub-filled Miami Beach matinee and onward to a colossal catastrophe in Cleveland. Murphy’s Law rules the day as just about everything that can go wrong, does. Lines are forgotten, cues are missed, sets, pants and people fall; feelings are bruised, essentials go missing and many sharp objects, witty comments (and quite a few sardines) fly. But lo! Broadway beckons. Can the troupe get it together and pull it off? Only the reviewers will tell. Yet despite its silliness, this film is far more than mindless slapstick; it is also a tale about the vagaries of life, work and love on the road--where quarters are close, hours are long, nerves are frayed and trust is as essential as it is difficult to forge. Herein lessons are learned, laughs are had by all and hearts are won. Given a chance, yours will be as well.