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Sunday, May 17, 2015

"The Producers" (1968)

The film farce that spawned the mega-successful Broadway musical adaption (and subsequent movie remake). It all spins off a hare-brained scheme: two loser theatrical producers want to mount the worst play of all time so that they can reap all the investment money when it will most assuredly bomb. High jinx ensue when, of course, it's a smash success. Oops.  The gawdawful play is titled "Springtime for Hitler", complete with a hippie-dippie Hitler (Dick Shawn) cavorting with goosestepping scantily clad chorinnes forming Buzby Berkely swastikas. Coming only 20 odd years after the Holocaust, the audacious irreverence has lost the cultural sting it probably had when first introduced. The "Oh my Lord, is this really going there?" daring now only seems like tame borscht belt schtick. First time director Mel Brooks doesn't help either. Crudely paced, he has no clue where to put the camera. What still works though--and the only reason to watch--is the go-for-broke performances of the two leads played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Their amped up baffoonish mugging is antic, grotesque...and hilarious. The best bits are the throw away lines and priceless asides. Great comic timing lasts forever. A dated relic good for more than a few belly laughs, see it.

1 comment:

  1. I would argue that Kenneth Mars' performance is another pretty good reason to watch!