Hollywood never faced a zanier zero hour!
Director: Susan Stroman
Starring: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell
Two archetypal New York Jews, the middle-aged Max Bialystock (Lane), and the neurotic Leo Bloom (Broderick), team up when Leo remarks that a producer could embezzle a fortune by over-selling in a guaranteed flop and pocketing the unspent investment cash. They find the perfect piece: ‘Springtime for Hitler’ written by Franz Liebkind (Ferrell), hire the most flamboyant director and cast a busty Swedish actress as the lead (Thurman). But things soon go awry when their appalling show is mistaken for a satirical masterpiece.
The 1968 actors were so perfectly cast that an inevitability befell Lane and Broderick. But they stand up well to their obvious comparators. Lane has charm and portrays Max with zany inspiration. Broderick is slightly less successful. His waifish innocence does not work well in the screen adaptation and there is something flat about his performance. Ferrell and Thurman are surprisingly good and showcase some of their hidden vocal talent. Structurally, the film remains much the same as the Broadway musical and, at times, the transference from stage to screen is a little laboured where the cast forget they aren’t playing to an 800-person audience. However, Stroman’s production has unmatched energy. There is not a single moment for the audience to catch its breath: the dialogue is frenzied and the plot gets more ridiculous as the songs roll on. The newly written songs are decently choreographed. ‘Springtime for Hitler’ is a highpoint, and ‘I Want To Be A Producer’ is amusingly effective. The jokes roll through into the credits.
The Producers brings with it the complete experience of a Broadway musical. In 1968, Mel Brooks created an original story with characters driven by gluttony, neurosis, shameful sexual behaviour and a profound pessimism about show business. This film confirms Max and Leo in their iconic status and is a tribute to his work.
Screenings of this film:
|2005/2006 Summer Term – (35mm)|