After Max (Nathan Lane) and Leo (Matthew Broderick) do Der Guten Tag Hop Clop with Franz (Will Ferrell), Max tries to pull open the door. When it doesn't open, he shouts, "We're trapped!" This is an inside joke from the play's run in England. One night, a stage hand had locked the door. When Nathan Lane tried it, he realized it was locked and shouted out, "We're trapped! Trapped like rats with a crazy Nazi!" A stage hand then went up and unlocked the door and they got out.
The phrase "It was shocking, outrageous, insulting... and I loved every minute of it!" from a supposed review of "Springtime for Hitler", was a rewording of a review by Peter Sellers written about The Producers (1967).
This is a movie about a play based on a play about a play based on a movie (The Producers (1967)) about a play. In fact, however, Mel Brooks originally envisioned this as a Broadway play. Published accounts in 1966 reported that Brooks was working on a comedy play with the title "Springtime for Hitler", and his original choice for the part of Bloom was going to be Paul Anka.
The screech of the black cat who is thrown by Bialystock (Nathan Lane) into the theater, the voices of the laughing pigeons, and the voice of the Stormtrooper who sings, "Don't be stupid, be a shmartie, come on join the Nazi Party" in the song "Springtime for Hitler" were provided by Mel Brooks, two roles he also recorded for the Broadway show, and one (the Stormtrooper) that he did in The Producers (1967). It's also a line from the 1983 single "To Be Or Not To Be - Hitler Rap".
Ernie Sabella, appeared in a number that was cut out where Bialystock and Bloom go to the bar during intermission to celebrate their flop: "Barkeep, drinks all around!" This would have the voice actors who spoke Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa in The Lion King (1994) on-screen together.
In the final frame of the finale, the camera pulls out for a wide shot of the theatres and their marquees displaying the titles of the shows that Max and Leo are to produce. On the far left is a portion of the marquee belonging the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The only letters that are visible are A-N-N-E for Mel Brooks' late wife Anne Bancroft, who died prior to the film's completion.
During the song "Springtime For Hitler", Hitler mouths "I love you all" and sits on the edge of the stage to sing the next part of the song. From this moment onward, he performs with a distinct similarity to Judy Garland's performances in both her concerts and her television specials.
Nicole Kidman was originally considered as a possible Ulla. Matthew Broderick allegedly offered her the role while they were filming The Stepford Wives (2004), to which she immediately said yes without seeing so much as a first draft of the script. Kidman subsequently backed out of the project, feeling she was working too much.
The costumes for the Girls in Pearls weighed twenty pounds. The largest of the pearls are plastic grapes painted white; they were chosen not to reduce the weight, but to make it more comfortable for the dancers when they had to roll on the floor.
The original Broadway production opened at the St. James Theater on April 19, 2001, ran for 2,502 performances, winning a record-breaking twelve Tonys, including the 2001 Tony Awards for the best musical, book and score.
When Max (Nathan Lane) is visiting the old ladies in their apartment buildings, he pushes lots of apartment call buttons. Among the list of names are A. Bancroft, a tribute to Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks' late wife; M. Kaminsky, which is Brooks' birth name; and J. Gatsby, the main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.
Originally, this was almost shot in Toronto, Canada. New York state tax incentives made it possible for the production to film in New York City at the new Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. Producer Mel Brooks also jokingly complained that the bagels in Toronto were "too mushy".
According to director Susan Stroman, the outdoor scene where Max tries to convince Leo to join his scheme had to be moved to the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park from the Revson Fountain at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, because this version of the film was set in 1959, not 1967 like The Producers (1967), and the Lincoln Center wasn't built until 1964.
Uma Thurman was doubled during portions of the dances by Angie L. Schworer, who was playing the part of Ulla in the Broadway version during production of this film. Kathy Fitzgerald played the role of Shirley Markowitz both on-stage and in the film version.
The line about a "banana-coconut suncream, number 15" was initially an improvisation by Matthew Broderick uttered in the court scene. It cracked everyone up, so the take was ruined, but evidently the filmmakers liked the line, since it was inserted into the postcard narration instead.
Leo Bloom daydreams that there will be a holiday called "Bloomsday" after him. This was a gimmick in "Ulysses" by James Joyce. Leo Bloom's name is taken from Leopold Bloom, main character of that novel.
There are several lines in this movie that are a nod to Blazing Saddles (1974), another Mel Brooks film. When Bialystock and Bloom leave the rooftop, Franz leans against the door and says "What nice guys". Which is said by Madeline Kahn after her night with the Sheriff of Rockridge in Blazing Saddles (1974), and when Bloom is reading contracts in the office saying "work, work, work". Mel Brooks said this in Blazing Saddles (1974) when signing bills as the Governor.
The King of Broadway, the second number following Opening Night, one of the most famous of the songs, and the number that introduces the Bialystock character, was cut out. This song also included the famous Mel Brooks line from History of the World: Part I (1981) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993): "It's good to be the King!"
There really was a Hamlet musical, and it really was a flop. It was called "Rockabye Hamlet", starring Larry Marshall as Hamlet and Beverly D'Angelo as Ophelia. Cliff Jones wrote book, lyrics and music; Gower Champion directed and choreographed. It lasted for seven performances at the Minskoff Theatre in 1976.
Being the first major film shot in the new Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, New York, the crew had to endure the completion of construction. The studio was only ninety percent complete when they moved in, and there were still leaks in the roof. The crew made suggestions such as expanding make-up rooms. The suggestions were acted upon, and the crew finished with resounding success in the new stage.
Carmen Ghia is a reference to the Karmann Ghia, which was a sports car marketed by Volkswagen, designed by the Italian Carozzeria Ghia, and built by German coach builder Karmann. Karmann Ghias were produced between 1955 and 1974, and were based on the familiar Beetle chassis with its rear mounted, air-cooled, four-cylinder boxer engine.
When Mel Brooks decided to adapt The Producers (1967) into a Broadway musical, he had hoped to cast Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock and Martin Short as Leo Bloom. Lane accepted the role of Bialystock, but Short was forced to decline, as he didn't want to uproot his family. Matthew Broderick was brought in to replace Short, and the role earned him a Tony nomination. Short went on to star as Leo Bloom opposite Jason Alexander as Max Bialystock in the Los Angeles run of the show.
Three songs from the Broadway show were cut: "King of Broadway", "In Old Bavaria", and "Where Did We Go Right?" The second act reprise of "Opening Night" was also cut, as were sections of "Along Came Bialy". Despite "Where Did We Go Right?" being cut, the reference to this song in "Betrayed" remains.
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".
Bialystock's surname is actually a nod to a Polish town of Bialystok: according to Wikipedia, it is "the largest city in northeastern Poland and the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Located in the Bialystok Uplands (Polish: Wysoczyzna Bialostocka) of the Podlaskie Plain (Polish: Nizina Polnocnopodlaska) on the banks of the Biala River, Bialystok ranks second in terms of population density, eleventh in population, and thirteenth in area, of the cities of Poland. It has historically attracted migrants from elsewhere in Poland and beyond, particularly from Central and Eastern Europe. This is facilitated by the fact that the nearby border with Belarus is also the eastern border of the European Union, as well as the Schengen Area.
Matthew broderick, Nathan lane, and roger Bart have all been in animated Disney movies. Matthew broderick and Nathan lane starred in the lion king(1994) as the voices of simba and Timon. roger Bart starred in Hercules(1997) as the singing voice of Hercules.
The portrayal of Hitler as gay in the musical was nothing new: Max Hansen, who was Jewish on his father's side, satirized the dictator in this way in his song "War'n Sie schon mal in mich verliebt?" ("Have You Ever Been In Love With Me?"), which shocked the Nazis.