Saturday, October 30, 2010
The Insane Scheme of a Producer and an Accountant
What do you get when you bring a producer, a timid accountant, a former nazi, and a foreign accountant who can't speak english? You get the movie that I am reviewing today, The Producers, Mel Brooks' first film. Maybe compared to today's films this movie is not the most insulting thing, but it was considered insulting in 1968 when it came out. The story is about two Jewish men who meet up with a former nazi in order to create a play about Hitler to have it fail. It seems pretty bad, but I'll go more into detail about it really soon. But although it was considered crude and tasteless, it is still one of the funniest films ever made.
Max Biallystock, a failed accountant (Zero Mostel), is "filling up old ladies" in order to get money from them so that he can keep living a decent life. He meets a very timid accountant, Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder), who accidentaly realizes that if a producer puts on a flop then the public won't care about it and whatever extra money he made from his brokers he can keep. This is a genius scheme for Bialystock and quickly tries to pull poor, timid Bloom into the scheme. They soon count their eggs before they hatch. They do find a "sure-fire flop" and meet up with the author of the play "Springtime for Hitler" Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars). They hire the worse director, who is also secretly, at least to himself, gay, Roger De Bris (Christopher Hewett). Together they try and bring this play to life, although only Bloom and Bialystock are in on the scheme. They hire Ulla, a secretary who basically just dances, we see a ton of dirty old ladies, they find an actor who doesn't even know where he is, LSD and the play starts. Now at first it seems like this plane will actually work. The audience hates it, but while Max and Bloom are out getting drunk the audience finds the play as a comedy and soon start to love it. This of course ruins the plan, and eventually Bloom, Max, and Liebkind get together and try to blow the theatre up to collect on insurance, but get caught in the explosion, get sent to jail due to being found "incredibly guilty" and soon start to produce another play. And that is the story in a nutshell.
It's funny, the storyline is bizare yet you can't stop watching it. Yes, the comedy is a little slow-paced compare to our comedy today, but if you watch this with full attention you will see just how funny this movie is. Zero plays Bialystock great. He is just a rude man who just wants to be rich again, but ends up becoming rich because he finally gains a good friend who cares about him. Wilder is also great as Bloom. He is able to pull off his insane moment and still be awkward and timid, almost to the point that you want to punch himn and just scream "Be a man!" But eventually he does grow up and come out of his shell thanks to Max. Mars is also great as Leibkind. He's a scary man, has that mean look to him, and although the accent is a little over the top, it is still great for this movie. Hewett, although good, is not the most convincing gay man. Beach is better in the new version, but that's not what I'm reviewing. But Hewett is decent, I find Ulla a better actress and she only danced, although it's hillarious when she does. Over all the main charcaters are funny and, akthough not very deep, emotionally attatched to each other. You grow to like both of them by the end of the film.
This was Mel Brooks' first film, and I must say it is probably his best film. He is a good director, with a ton of funny movies out there, but this one just feels more cared for, along with Young Frankenstein. It has heart to it. The music is also good. Not much music, but still fitting when it is played. Love Power is also very interesting to listen to and watch. This version is not focused on the music like the newer version, which is a musical, and maybe I'll review that one next. But again, not focused on the music but the comedy, so I don't have much to say about this musical score. The directing is top knotch. Nothing special, no need for special effect, except the explosion, but good directing nonetheless.
I still stand by what I say earlier, this is one of the funniest movies ever made. You want a classic comedy, then watch this film. I recommend any Mel Brooks films, but this one I recommend to watch the most. If you give it a chance then you will have a good laugh and see how smart the comedy was back then. Not saying that today's comedy isn't smart, but just showing that there was a lot less that films could do, yet were still funny. Watch this movie, it's a good one to watch when you want a good laugh.