Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Producers (1968)

"The Producers" may very well be Mel Brooks' most revered comedy, as it has been remade into a play and another movie, both starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. This first version, Mel Brooks' debut, is hysterically funny and may very well be his best movie, rivaling his other successes as "Blazing Saddles" and, even more, "Silent Movie." This one stars the ridiculously funny Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock, an unsuccessful Broadway producer who has just made a flop, which only played one night. He is looking for a way to make it to the top when his new and uptight accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) tells him that if he raises, say 1 million dollars, he could make more money with a total disaster than he ever imagined. At first, they can't find a play, but finally they discover the absolutely outrageous and flat-out terrible doozie "Springtime For Hitler," written by ex-Nazi Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars) about Hitler and his wife in the countryside in the spring. Bialystock raises the money, hires a terrible director (Christopher Hewett) and casts a psychedelic dude (Dick Shawn) to play Hitler, making it surefire as a total miss and a spot-on scheme. On opening night, the audience is appalled by the outrageous first song, which is "Springtime For Hitler", but, at the first sight of the chilled-out and strange Hitler, they love it. Soon, it is the biggest success on Broadway. I won't tell you the ending, but let me tell you, it's mucho fun and laughs and giggles. Anyways, Mostel and Wilder are extremely freaking funny, making me explode with tons of belly laughter throughout the entire movie. Mars is great as the very annoyed former swastika-wearer whose expectations are not met by the farcical production. Another highlight is the strange actor played by Shawn, who makes the play the funfest that it is. The script is also fantastically fun, filled with tons of Brooksisms and witty jokes. Bottom line: this film is not a flop. A

1 comment:

aspergiansarah said...

Perhaps you should include a date next to the title to verify that it's the original. I thought you were talking about remake (the only one I've seen) until I noticed it didn't say Will Ferrell as Franz Leibkin. I told myself to get the first eventually since people say it's better and I've seen the remake, like, five times.