An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that his grandfather was not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.
A psychiatrist with intense acrophobia (fear of heights) goes to work for a mental institution run by doctors who appear to be crazier than their patients, and have secrets that they are willing to commit murder to keep.
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
Not having been able to afford to pay the exorbitant prices being asked by the producers of "The Producers", now running for a few years at the St. James theater on Broadway, we waited for the release of the film based on the musical that is based on the original 1968 film written and directed by Mel Brooks. In fact, we paid about one tenth of what it would have cost seeing it in the theater and we thought we were in for a treat, especially, if that genius Mel Brooks, was involved in the screen play. Wrong! The film, while not a total failure, could have used a different treatment as it plays flat at times.
In theory, "The Producers" was the right candidate for making the transfer to the screen since it involved the same director, Susan Stroman, and the two principals, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who were paid a cool million each to come back to the show, last winter, when sales were lagging because the substitute actors weren't pulling in the crowds the original stars did. The film looks as though it's a poor imitation of what might have been in the theater.
The music is the first thing that is wrong with the film. The musical score by Mr. Brooks leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, the whole film could be considered a vulgar attempt at the musical genre. But alas, that's another problem with the New York Broadway theater that prefers to revive third rate musicals with people that have no talent for the stage and only serve to attract the tourist crowds that jam the large theaters with its theme park musicals.
Another problem are the two principals. Perhaps when the show opened on Broadway both Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick might have given the show a different flavor with their interpretation of Max Bialistock and Leo Bloom. The director doesn't seem to use them for the new medium effectively. In fact, both Mr. Lane and Mr. Broderick, left to their own instincts can be awful, as proved by their recent appearance on Broadway in "The Odd Couple", a show which we caught a preview recently. This pair of charismatic actors are seen in the film doing their own shtick.
Uma Thurman is fine as the long limbed Swedish secretary in a fun role that seems to be the only thing right in the movie. Gary Beach's flamboyant gay director is fun to watch.
"The Producers", in this reincarnation doesn't show anything new as a movie.
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