The Producers

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The Producers is a 1968 American comedy film written and directed by Mel Brooks, which tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who attempt to cheat their investors by deliberately producing a flop show (entitled Springtime for Hitler) on Broadway. The film stars  Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder and features Dick Shawn.

The Producers was the first film directed by Mel Brooks, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay.

This Mel Brooks’ directorial debut is still after ten movies he directed afterwards one of  his very greatest, cleverest and wittiest comedies ever. It’s a masterpiece and perhaps the funniest film of the late 60’s. Merely the basic idea of  “The Producers”  is already hilarious enough. Theatrical producer Max Bialystock (played irresistibly by splendid Zero Mostel) finds out that with a bit of dishonesty the producer could actually make more money with a flop than he could with a hit. In order to make this scheme reality he teams up with his new friend Leo Bloom (always terrific Gene Wilder) and starts to look for the worst play ever written.

They end up choosing a play called “Springtime for Hitler” – highly questionable musical written by a fanatic Nazi jerk Franz Liebkind, a lunatic German nutcase who never seems to take off his helmet. Of course they also hire the worst and the most ungifted man they can find to direct the play, quite a personality Roger De Bris – a bloke who just seems to like wearing dresses. Naturally they find an old hippie Lorenzo Saint Dubois (or just LSD to friends) to play the part of Adolf Hitler. They are ready to vouch for the fact that the play is going to be as catastrophical as it possible can be. If all this sounds funny that’s because it simply is so damn funny, in many scenes even hysterically funny.

Finally the play “Springtime for Hitler” starts out with a shocking song and the dubious lyrics contains parts like “Springtime for Hitler and Germany, Winter for Poland and France” and “Bombs falling from the skies again, Deutschland is on the rise again“. I have to give you a serious warning. Want it or not, this foolish little song is annoyingly catchy so the possibility that it will stick in your head and you still hum or sing it few days later is always there and you can imagine where it could lead. Script is so ingenious it’s basically a work of art and acting is widely spectacular. Zero Mostel is marvelous and master comedian Gene Wilder’s performance once again extremely convincing (“I don’t like people touching my blue blanket”).

Kenneth Mars was an exquisite choice to play the part of the Nazi jackass Liebkind and Christopher Hewett handles the role of the director Roger De Bris enjoyably (“That whole third act just got to go. They’re losing the war…it’s too depressing!”). Dick Shawn is also superb in the role of LSD, one the best moments of the film was when he performed the unexpectedly humorous song “Love power” (great parody of a typical hippie, especially considering that “The Producers” was released in 1968). Overall “The Producers” is a magnificent comedy, a masterpiece that just gets better every time you watch it. At least I can’t help of loving a movie that makes the Nazis look ridiculous.

Overall “The Producers” is a magnificent comedy, a masterpiece that just gets better every time you watch it. At least I can’t help of loving a movie that makes the Nazis look ridiculous  (source).


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