What do a down-and-out Broadway producer, his anxiety-attack-prone accountant, a go-go dancing Swedish secretary, and a Nazi playwright have in common? They're all part of Mel Brooks's wild and wacky first film, THE PRODUCERS. In this hysterical farce, rapacious but lovable producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) hasn't had a hit in years and resorts to fulfilling sexually crazed little old ladies' fantasies for extra cash. But when he meets his new meek, neurotic accountant, Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder), the two accidentally come up with a plot to oversell shares in a surefire flop musical and make off with the profits. The plan sends the new partners-in-crime on a search for the worst play ever: SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER, written by an ex-Nazi (Kenneth Mars) whose only friends are the filthy city pigeons he keeps on his roof.
Inspired, manic performances by all involved, along with Brooks's lively direction--which affectionately alludes to such MGM Golden Age musicals as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN--make THE PRODUCERS both referential and highly original as it moves along swiftly to the ultimate musical climax.
1968 - Academy Awards - Best Original Screenplay Winner
Sidney Glazier - American Producer
Christopher Hewett - British actor, MR. BELVEDERE
Kenneth Mars - American Supporting Actor
Zero Mostel - American Stage/Film Actor
John Morris - Composer
Mel Brooks - American Director/Writer/Producer/Comedian
Melvin Kaminsky - American Director/Writer/Producer/Comedian
Andreas Voutsinas - Greek Actor
Estelle Winwood - British Character Actress
Gene Wilder - Actor/Director/Writer
Jerry Silberman - Actor/Director/Writer
Gerald Silberman - Actor/Director/Writer
Dick Shawn - American Actor/Comedian
Joe Coffey - Director Of Photography; Cinematographer; THE PRODUCERS
Joseph Coffey - Director Of Photography; Cinematographer; THE PRODUCERS
Joseph F. Coffey - Director Of Photography; Cinematographer; THE PRODUCERS
Ralph Rosenblum - American Editor
Charles Rosen - Designer/Art Director
John Morris - American Composer
Renee Taylor - American Actress/Screenwriter
THE PRODUCERS is a wacked-out comedy classic about a rapacious Broadway producer who plans to stage a guaranteed flop--and then pocket the backers' money when the production fails. There's one thing the partners didn't count on, though: the play becoming a runaway hit.
Theatrical release: 1968 THE PRODUCERS is number 11 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Funniest Movies. THE PRODUCERS was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1996. Mel Brooks made his directorial debut with THE PRODUCERS. The play in the film was actually later produced onstage by Alan Johnson (who was the choreographer of the film). In 2000, Brooks signed on actor Nathan Lane to play Max Bialystock in a new Broadway musical of THE PRODUCERS, for which Brooks will write, direct, and compose all the music.
"...The film itself shines in a gorgeous new print..." - 12/06/2002 Entertainment Weekly, p.75
"...[B]efore Mel Brooks, no one had taken a genre and made as much savage fun of it in one movie comedy as a writer-director could..." - 12/01/2003 Premiere, p.11
"Brooks' play-within-a-film structure is fiendishly clever..." - 11/01/2004 Uncut, p.157
"[T]he screen is dominated by Zero Mostel's rapacious turn as washed-up producer Max Bialystock." - 01/01/2005 Sight and Sound, p.77