Down-on-his-luck theatrical producer Max Bialystock is forced to romance rich old ladies to finance his efforts. When timid accountant Leo Bloom reviews Max's accounting books, the two hit upon a way to make a fortune by producing a sure-fire flop. The play which is to be their gold mine? "Springtime for Hitler." Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
A down-on-his-luck Broadway producer, Max Biolystock (Zero Mostel), is reduced to funding his shows by romancing old ladies for cash. Enter neurotic accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder), arriving at Biolystock's apartment to do his books. Upon discovering that Biolystock had extorted $2000.00 from his last Broadway flop, Bloom, simply on a whim, mentions to Biolystock that he could've made a fortune on the flop if he'd only gotten more money from the old ladies. Needless to say, this revelation gets Max's mind working---get the old ladies to invest $1,000,000 on what Biolystock knows will be a surefire flop, then run off with the excess cash! Max convinces the gullible Leo to join him on the scheme, and off the two men go, on a crusade to produce the biggest disaster Broadway has ever seen. They come across a god-awful work written by a former Nazi (Kenneth Mars) called "Springtime For Hitler," and decide to produce it. If it's a flop, Max & Leo will become rich. But if it's a hit, they'll go to jail....
If you're one of the infinite many who've been unable to secure any of those scorching-hot tickets to Mel Brooks' current Broadway phenomenon, "The Producers," there's always this, the original 1968 movie version to watch & enjoy. This Oscar-winner for Best Screenplay is a comedy classic, and easily Mel Brooks' masterpiece, a brilliantly funny film that hasn't aged a bit. Zero Mostel & Gene Wilder are hilarious & perfectly cast as the con-artist producers, with terrific chemistry between them (just their opening scene together, including the great bits about Leo's blue blanket, and Leo terrified of being jumped on by Max, is already one of the great filmed moments of comic acting). Kudos all around to the rest of the cast, too: Kenneth Mars as the deranged Nazi playwright of "Springtime For Hitler," Christopher Hewett as the no-talent gay director who only makes "Springtime" even more misguided than it already is, Dick Shawn in an outrageous performance as L.S.D., the hippie ham who lands the coveted role of Hitler (his audition song, "Love Power," is a major highlight), and the gorgeous Lee Meredith as Ulla, Max & Leo's dimwitted secretary. And then there's the "Springtime For Hitler" production number itself---yes, it's everything you've ever heard about it, a wonderfully hysterical "you gotta see it to believe it" moment in film comedy.
Mel Brooks' direction is spot on, and his hysterical screen writing here has never been better (though his co-writing with Gene Wilder on "Young Frankenstein" comes close). His Oscar win for the screenplay was very well deserved, indeed. "The Producers" is a timeless comedy classic, and the defining moment of Mel Brooks' long illustrious film career.
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