Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
New York, 1959. Max Bialystock was once the king of Broadway, but now all his shows close on opening night. Things turn around when he's visited by the neurotic accountant Leo Bloom, who proposes a scheme tailor-made for producers who can only make flops: raise far more money than you need, then make sure the show is despised. No one will be interested in it, so you can pocket the surplus. To this end, they produce a musical called Springtime for Hitler written by escaped Nazi Franz Liebken. Then they get the insanely flamboyant Roger De Bris to direct. Finally, they hire as a lead actress the loopy Swedish bombshell Ulla (whose last name has over 15 syllables). As opening night draws near, what can go wrong? Well, there's no accounting for taste... Written by
The first line of a rejected play that Max Bialystock reads, "One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke up he found himself transformed in his bed into a giant cockroach" is a reference to Franz Kafka's short story, The Metamorphosis. See more »
The gun Franz is shooting appears to be a Luger, a very popular German pistol in the first half of the 1900s. The Luger was only originally designed to hold eight rounds, but can hold nine with one in the chamber. The Luger is also emptied, not jammed. See more »
For the closing credits, Will Ferrell (in the character of Franz Liebkind) recorded "The Hop-Clop Goes On" - a slower version of "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop" that parodies "My Heart Will Go On" from "Titanic" right down to the cheesy instrumentals. At the end of the song, Franz whispers to the audience: "Don't forget to purchase 'Mein Kampf' in paperback. You can find it at Borders... or Barnes and Noble...und Amazon.com" See more »
Springtime is delightful, in Germany (and for the audience)
What a fantastic surprise. I've seen Luke-warm reviews about this film, largely saying that the theatrical basis (the Broadway show) is oh-so-evident. Well, in my opinion, this is one of the film's strengths. It's a well-intentioned performance and is close enough to the original Producers, and so unlike it, that the musical remake is justified.
I love musicals, especially musical comedy. This film is a sop to the musical comedy, with good performances from the leads, and Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell, who all appear to be enjoying themselves.
The central (staged) number "Springtime for Hitler" is brilliantly choreographed, with suitably outrageous costumes. Gary Beach as a brilliantly camp Hitler completes this excellent scene. And the bratwurst!! The editing in this sequence - camera panning to the gob-smacked audience is brilliant. This is a film that salutes and spoofs musicals. It's an absolute delight
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