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
I am a huge fan of the original movie and had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful Broadway show in 2003, so I was more than expecting to love this remake. Unfortunately it didn't live-up to my expectations on a number of fronts.
Most fundamentally, it seemed more of a cinematic rendering of the stage show than a remake of the movie - the problem is that it utterly lacks the charm of the 1968 film, and fails to capture the excitement and energy of the show. This is not to do with the actors, who all put in great performances and do the best job possible with their roles. Though, I wonder if it was a good idea to keep the leads from Broadway - playing a part on stage is very different from doing the same thing in a movie. This is at the heart of what is wrong with this movie - it is trying to be cinematic and theatrical at the same time.
Also, they have cut some of the funniest scenes and changed some of the best lines from the original. Why, I wonder? For example, the first encounter between Max and Leo in the original movie is hilarious and dramatic - a magnificent opening set-piece, with drama, humour and conflict. In this version, Leo just knocks on the door and introduces himself. Bit of a damp squib, really.
Overall, I am not sure what to make of this movie. I would probably have enjoyed it more if I had not seen the original. But not much.
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