Directed by: Mel Brooks
Starring: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn
Man, I hadn’t seen this movie in forever, and it’s really funny. Not one of Mel Brooks’ best necessarily, but it was his directorial debut and he won an Oscar for the screenplay, so it’s not too shabby either. And no, I haven’t seen the remake because I hate both Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
A scumbag producer (Mostel) teams up with a nervous accountant (Wilder) to engineer a Broadway play that will be sure to close on opening day so they can scam a bunch of old ladies out of their money. The scheme they use doesn’t hold up to a whole lot of strict scrutiny, but that’s not what the movie’s about. They recruit a Nazi playwright (Kenneth Mars) and put on a show called ‘Springtime for Hitler,’ a rosy-colored musical about WWII from the German side.
The real beauty of this film, from the perspective of someone who grew up on MST3K and who loves watching terrible movies, is that it shows exactly what happens when you try really hard to make something as bad as you possibly can: it becomes hilarious. The Producers is a bit of a thesis statement for my entertainment viewing habits, and because of that it’ll always have a soft spot in my heart. Also, of course, is the performance of Gene Wilder, who is such a phenomenally scary actor at times you worry for the guy. When Gene Wilder flips out, it touches a primitive part of your brain where you can clearly see another human in serious distress and you just don’t know what to do about it.