This is under Z because of the star of the movie Zero Mostel
Writer: Mel Brooks (Screenplay)
Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Estelle Winwood, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Lee Meredith
Plot: Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.
Tagline – Once upon a time there was a Broadway producer…who met a “creative” but timid accountant. Together they concocted the most outrageous $1,000,000 scheme in the annals of Show Biz.
Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Awkwardly Dated
Story: The Producers starts with Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Mostel) who was once one of the biggest producers around, now he is facing hard times and potential financial ruin, until his accountant Leo Bloom (Wilder) poses the idea of producing a flop play, while creating the funds that would see him pocketing the rest.
Max and Leo become producer partners, pick out the play to produce, one that is bound to fail and set up to make the play Springtime With Hitler, the two must go out to make sure the play flops so they can make out with the fortune they dreamed off.
Thoughts on The Producers
Characters – Max Bialystock was once one of the biggest producers on Broadway, he is facing financial ruin now, using his charm to trick older ladies into giving him money and uses his accountant to help make a fortune, he will always find a way to make things worse, as he is looking to produce the worst possible play. Leo Bloom is an honest accountant that believes you could make a fortune, by making a terrible play on Broadway, this does make him a producer even if he lacks the flair Max has to put the money behind the scheme. While most of the film circles around the pair, we do meet the German writer, the elaborate director and the new star of the play.
Performances – Zero Mostel does bring us a character that is truly in the mindset of the producer that we could see doing whatever he wants to get the money he wants, while Gene Wilder can turn a switch from clam to loud in an instant.
Story – The story here follows to Broadway producers that go in search for the worst possible play in an attempt to make millions from the benefactors, which looks like a flawless plan. This is a story that does show how producers could do something illegal to make sure they get rich, which does see them push the limits of criminal actions. This is a story that does play into stereotypes that would be questioned a lot now, though part of that is meant to placed on the story being told.
Comedy/Music – The comedy in the film does feel like it has dated in a way that would have worked at the time, but now the jokes would come off too offensive.
Settings – The film does use the settings that you would see producers around, it shows how they would operate and how they would need to get onto the big stage.
Final Thoughts – This is a smart idea for a film, it is one that has seen the jokes date badly, though the concept is one that could only work in the era the film is set.
Overall: Classic but dated comedy.