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>
Gene Wilder had previously starred alongside Anne Bancroft in a stage version of "Mother Courage". Wilder had become friendly with Mel Brooks through their association with Bancroft, and Brooks realized that Wilder would make a great Leo Bloom. In June 1963, Brooks invited Wilder to spend the weekend with him and Bancroft on Fire Island, where he gave him the first thirty pages of The Producers to read. He liked it immediately, and Brooks offered him the part. Three years passed without Wilder receiving a phone call or any contact with Brooks about the film. He assumed the project was dead. Then one night, when he was performing in the play Luv, Brooks showed up in his dressing room, out of the blue, with Producer Sidney Glazier in tow. It was as if not a day had passed. "We got the money, here's the script, you're Leo Bloom", said Brooks. Wilder couldn't believe it and he burst into tears. There was just one obstacle: Zero Mostel didn't know Wilder, and wanted to meet him first. If he passed muster with Mostel, he had the part. Wilder was nervous about his first meeting with Mostel. "This huge, round, fantasy of a man came waltzing towards me", said Wilder in his 2005 autobiography "Kiss Me Like a Stranger". "My heart was pounding so loud, I thought he'd hear it. I stuck out my hand, politely, to shake his, but instead of shaking my hand, Zero pulled me into his body and gave me a giant kiss on the lips. All nervousness floated away, I gave a good reading, and was cast." See more »
Max didn't really need Leo to pull off the fraud, and although Leo suggested the theory, he actually does nothing for the rest of the movie except keep the books- which would have been evidence of the scam. See more »
The closing credits show each actor's full name and their picture, but it only says "Zero" for Zero Mostel. See more »
The original network television broadcasts added some outtakes (more fuse bumbling by Franz Liebkin) near the end, between "The quick fuse?!" and the eventual explosion. The padding was probably to balance some censorship cuts in the running time. See more »
Zany Mel Brooks comedy is over-the-top laugh riot...
There are so many laughs in THE PRODUCERS (long before Mel Brooks lost his magic touch), that you'll be in tears by the time Brooks gets to his "Springtime for Hitler" routine. ZERO MOSTEL's early scenes with ESTELLE WINWOOD are hilarious enough, but he and GENE WILDER top themselves by the time you get to the frantic ending.
LEE MEREDITH is the curvy Ulla who can shake a mean hip and DICK SHAWN is the hilariously daffy Lorenzo St. DuBois (LSD for short), and everyone in the cast has a fine time delivering over-the-top performances in the spirit in which this sort of satire requires.
The story is simply that of a producer running short on cash who devises a scheme whereby if he produces the worst musical in the world, he can actually get his investment back and then some. He convinces his mild-mannered bookkeeper GENE WILDER to join him in the scheme and then the fun gets off to a great start.
The climactic "Springtime for Hitler" is just one of the delirious highlights (if politically incorrect by today's standards), and is probably the reason so many of the comments here resent the film and everything it stands for. But there's no getting away from it--the script is downright brilliant and original--winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and numerous other writing awards including an award from The Writer's Guild of America.
Summing up: Mel Brooks at his wittiest.
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