The Producers (1968) Review

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When Broadway producer Max Bialystock meets accountant Leo Bloom everything is about to change when Bloom works out you can make more money off a flop than a hit!

I went to see this incredible comedy film the first of which Mel Brooks directed and wrote, as part of the 50th Anniversary screenings at the cinema. Which meant we also were lucky enough to get a little bit of the question and answer Mel Brooks did on stage prior to the screening back in April in the US.

The film is hilarious from the very first moment we see Zero Mostel’s face as Max Bialystock. He is such a terrific actor and you cannot help but laugh at and with him throughout the film as he attempts to deal with the irrational Leo Bloom played so perfectly by Gene Wilder. They are a perfect combination and just show how well a comedy double act can work on-screen, not many performances come close to this. The blue blankie scene is probably one of the best moments, then again as you go through the film you probably say that so many more times.

I adore seeing older films like this back on the cinema screens and be able to watch it with an audience, hearing people appreciating it and laughing out loud is certainly how you should experience a classic comedy film. I enjoyed seeing Young Frankenstein on the big screen around this time last year as well. Considering so many films are remade and rebooted now, why can we not have more classic coming back for cinematic releases? Especially when they restore them via 4K, it looked stunning and like it was a brand new film!

Bloom quickly becomes a producer as well and the pair go on a quest to find the worst play ever written, hire the worst director of all time and cast totally the wrong people. What could possibly go wrong with that? Especially when they find a play called “Springtime for Hitler” surely that will not be anything but a flop? Seeing the title songs for that play on stage with the dancing Nazi’s really is hilarious. Also very catchy which feels so wrong but then just makes you laugh and smile even more. What if people actually like it? Max had been with a lot of little old ladies in order to get all of the checkies to be able to get the production going. All it had to do was flop big style and they wouldn’t have to pay any money back as it wouldn’t have made any profit. If it’s a hit then they go to jail!

Mel Brooks gets to show off his comedic genius throughout this film with Mostel and Wilder being truly outstanding from start to finish. I think this is one of those films that you could easily watch straight away and over and over again. I really think the level of performance we get to see from Wilder in so many comedy films is just amazing and this one is certainly on that level. I need to try to see Zero Mostel in more of his films, what a true actor!

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