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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie is actually based on a response Brooks gave in an interview with Larry Siegel in 'Playboy' in 1966:
PLAYBOY: What else are you working on?
BROOKS: Springtime for Hitler.
PLAYBOY: You're putting us on.
BROOKS: No, it's the God's honest truth. It's going to be a play within a play, or a play within a film - I haven't decided yet. It's a romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden. There was a whole nice side of Hitler. He was a good dancer - no one knows that. He loved a parakeet named Bob - no one knows that either. It's all brought out in the play.
How to succeed in show business without really trying
Leave it to Leo Bloom to figure out the possibilities in having the worst show on Broadway, and yet, make a bundle by collecting a small fortune from innocent old ladies investing their savings in it. It's no wonder Max Bialystock jumps for joy upon hearing about how to really succeed in show business without really trying!
This 1968 version of Mel Brooks' "The Producers" is a much better film than the recent one unveiled at the end of 2005. We had watched the original movie some time ago and we thought it was quite funny. On second viewing though, some of the fun one had that first time, seems to have disappeared somehow. It seems inconceivable, but this time we found little to laugh about, although this version should have been the definite one because of the presence of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder is far superior than the stars seen on the latest version.
Zero Mostel was a colossus in the New York stage. He was a man who could do anything at all and still give an honest performance to everything he did. It was Mr. Mostel's misfortune to have been blacklisted at a time where his career was at an all time high. When film work stopped, Mr. Mostel had the theater to go back. Who knows how far this actor would have gone if he hadn't been a victim of the McCarthym that ruined many lives.
Zero Mostel made a creation out of Max Bialystock. This was a man who had seen better days in his producing career days and now finds himself dodging his creditors because he doesn't have the money to pay his debts and has to rely in his stable of old ladies for living. Zero Mostel was the perfect man to play this larger than life character.
Gene Wilder, whose second film this is, showed from the beginning to be a genius in the movies. His Leo Bloom was an excellent creation and his chemistry with Zero Mostel seems to be real. The film owes a great deal of its success to Gene Wilder who acts as the straight man.
In supporting roles we see Kenneth Mars as the lunatic author of the musical. Christopher Hewett is the gay director who turns the material into a great musical. Lee Meredith makes Ulla fun to watch. Dick Shawn who plays Hitler, makes a good impression. Also some other faces in the cast, Estelle Winwood, Renee Taylor, William Hickey, Frank Campanella, Madelyn Cates, all New York based actors with long experience in the stage and screen.
Mel Brooks was going for laughs, and at times, he succeeds brilliantly.
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