Sunday, May 29, 2011

#242 The Producers (1968)


Director: Mel Brooks

Cast: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Lee Meredith, Christopher Hewett, Andréas Voutsinas, Estelle Winwood, Renée Taylor, David Patch

When a Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Mostel), sinks so low as to sexually entertain over-the-hill ladies for checks to fund his projects, he finds himself ripe and ready for a new scheme. Enter Leo Bloom (Wilder), a timid, anxious, OCD accountant who in the process of examining Bialystock's books accidently blurts out that with a little clever book-keeping, it is possible to make more money with a flop than a success.

After some clever convincing, Bialystock convinces Bloom to give up his stuffy, lonely life and go in 50/50 with him on producing the biggest Broadway flop in history: Springtime for Hitler. The two seem to do everything perfectly: hire the worst writer with the worst script, the worst director, and even the worst cast. They find, however, sometimes a bunch of wrongs do make a right...

This film was actually hysterically funny on all accounts-- with no shortage of lude and slapstick humor. Gene Wilder's character's neurosis was a star-player in getting laughs, and each actor's commitment to the ridiculousness of their role was refreshing. I love this film, and I have high doubts that its 2005 remake can even hold a candle.