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If You want to try it from console, then You must to stop X.Using the mplayer filename should work.
Maybe mplayer will try to use svgalib (same with mplayer -vo svgalib filename). In slackware it can be accessed only by root, by default.
You can try to use mplayer from console as root, to be sure You wont have any permission denied error :-)
If mplayer filename wont work , try a mplayer -vo help and then all the mplayer -vo option filename. the -vo aa is a very intersting option, but not practice to see a movie.
Anyway, the movie probably will need a very fast computer to play from the console, without X.
Well, if You want to use mplayer without X, then You must stop somehow X. In RedHat this mean the run level 3.
I suggest always use this level and if You want X then use the command startx. Of course, after You boot in level 3, try
It will probably use automatically svgalib.
If you had problems with mplayer in X, then You dont have the ryt drivers for it. Go to http://dri.sourceforge.net/ to see more infornmations.