Classic Movie Reviews

The Producers Review

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Born in Brooklyn as Melvin Kaminsky in June 1926, Brooks had three brothers but lost his father when he was two. He has said his comedy is fueled at least partly by his childhood feelings of resentment and anger over being deprived of a father and being bullied and picked on by classmates. Being a small, somewhat sickly boy, he found it safer to use humor as an outlet for his anger, making it less likely to provoke a punch in the face. He worked as a writer on Sid Caesar’s classic Your Show of Shows on television and from that launching pad became successful as a stand-up comic, actor, screenwriter, film director and producer, composer and lyricist. His routine with Carl Reiner as the 2,ooo-Year-Old-Man is an enduring comedy classic. Many of his films were among the top ten money makers of the years they were released. Besides The Producers, his hit films include Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, History of the World, High Anxiety and Spaceballs. He is one of a very few who have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony Award. Three of his films are ranked by the American Film Institute among the 100 best comedy films of all time. Brooks was married to actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005.


                          "What is this 'baby'?
            Mine Fuhrer has not been saying 'baby.'  


    It's typical Mel Brooks madcap comedy when Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder become partners in a scheme to con investors in a Broadway show out of their money. Wilder is a buttoned-down accountant who comes to audit the books of small-time Broadway producer Zero Mostel. He realizes that it would be possible, hypothetically of course, to sell several thousand times more in shares than 100% - if the play is a flop and closes quickly, meaning there would be no profits to share. Investors would be none the wiser. Despite searching diligently for the worst play they can find, a guaranteed flop, the one they settle on, called Springtime for Hitler, turns out to be a hit with audiences who think it was meant as a satirical comedy. The success of the play means doom for the producers. Mostel and Wilder go together in this film like fish and chips. It is even funnier when seen for the second and third times. Mel Brooks earned an Oscar for the Screenplay.


1968, Directed by Mel Brooks

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