Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Producers

Mel Brooks, 1968 (8.3*)
This wacky comedy by Mel Brooks is his best to me (Young Frankenstein and Twelve Chairs are also good), his humor can be mean-spirited like it is in Blazing Saddles and others and he's usually more silly than funny (Spaceballs).

This is about a theatre producer, hilariously played by Zero Mostel, who is losing money and nerdish accountant Gene Wilder comes up with a plan to make money by creating a losing play and selling shares in the profits to investors over and over, whom Mostel provides by romancing elderly widows, so no profits, one need be repaid.

They need a loser of a play and come up with a musical called “Springtime for Hitler”, and they select a riotous Dick Shawn in his funniest and most memorable part as a gay musical Adolph. Later remade as a musical play and film, this totally comedic version is still much better and Brooks’ high water mark, also Mostel’s. For some reason, Brooks never approached this level again, maybe it was Mostel and Wilder meshing perfectly.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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