peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 11 12 TheProducers

The Producers (1967)

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Mel Brooks completism. His first feature as writer and director; the writing got him an Oscar. In two sittings.

Theatre producer Zero Mostel, glory days behind him, is scavenging funds from little old ladies who find him irresistible. Accountant Gene Wilder (Oscar nominated) is sent by someone to do his books but instead ideates a fraud: what if we oversubscribe the profits for a production and make a bomb? (I expect Hollywood works in a similar way.) This leads them to Kenneth Mars's Springtime for Hitler of which we're not shown enough to justify its inevitable success; Director Christopher Hewett (partnered with Andréas Voutsinas) and lead "LSD" Dick Shawn turn it into some kind of Elvis-inspired Las Vegas musical to Mars's consternation. Lee Meredith plays stale Swedish distraction.

I found some of the first half genuinely funny but as things go as they must the tiresome aspects started to dominate.

Roger Ebert: four stars (in 2000 as a "great movie") and the benchmark for Mel Brooks forevermore.