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The Producers 1968 (DE)
DVD disk
01.03.2006 By: Matt Hosack
The Producers 1968 (DE) order
Director:
Mel Brooks

Actors:
Zero Mostel
Gene Wilder
Kenneth Mars

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Down on his luck Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), and his nervous wreck accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) device a crazy plan to make an easy million by producing a flop. Because this is a Mel Brooks comedy, this flop happens to be a musical about the “lighter” side of Hitler, entitled “Springtime for Hitler.” This gay romp includes plenty of laughs, oddities, dancing Nazis, and a busty blonde!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Being that this is Mel Brooks’ first film, I found THE PRODUCERS to be strangely more odd than I had anticipated. This “franchise” has become a smash hit with audiences, but it wasn’t originally well received and it’s easy to see why. A lot of the jokes are so dry and dead camp that they just aren’t funny or end up being awkward. THE PRODUCERS shines though because lines are crossed that you couldn’t touch with a ten foot pole in any other film especially for back when it was released. “Springtime for Hitler” is the funniest musical tune I’ve ever heard in my life and really becomes the movie’s centerpiece. At first it seems totally wrong, but like the audience in the film, it becomes a gut-busting parody of everyone’s favorite enemy.

The performances were way over-the-top, especially Gene Wilder. I usually love Wilder to death, but he just seemed too oddball in this film for my tastes. On the flip side, Dick Shawn as L.S.D. may invoke internal hemorrhaging as the beatnik Hitler. Still, Me Brookes is a comedic genius and this is a good starting point for his even better films like BLAZING SADDLES and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Both the risky content and the odd craziness make for a unique time. Definitely worth a watch, if only to see a comedy that takes a chance and succeeds. On a side note, I did enjoy the actual Broadway adaptation more than this film, but that’s my personal preference.
THE EXTRAS
While the movie is reserved for disc 1, Disc 2 holds all of the special features.

The Making of The Producers: This hour-long documentary outlines a good deal of the production and is fantastically produced (no pun intended). Mel Brooks himself, guides us through some of the fun and hardships of the production. Both the Dustin Hoffman and Peter Sellers stories are great and worth a look. I really couldn’t ask for a better doc and fans will enjoy this I’m sure.

A Look at the New Theatrical Release – The Producers: You might have guessed what this is, but I’ll tell ya anyway. This is a fun peak at the new “re-make” with Broderick, Lane, and Ferrell. Shoot me, but I think this looks even more fun than the original. On a side note – the video quality for this is terrible.

Sketch Gallery: Normally I abhor galleries as you mindlessly flip through pictures, when you could do all of this better on a PC. Here, the quaint drawings are set to music in this little ditty. I like, I like!

Playhouse Outtake: This rare piece of un-used cinema finally sees the light of day, with even more Nazi antics involving explosives.

Photo Gallery: I think I jinxed it. Here they do a killer sketch gallery and then they go ahead and make you click through the pictures. Darn!

Peter Sellers Statement Read by Paul Mazursky: As mentioned in the documentary, Peter Sellers loved the film so much that he wrote a badass statement released in Variety. He may have helped save this film. For the record, Sellers was a badass!

There is also a collection of Previews for actual quality films.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I may have seemed like I didn’t care for this film. On the contrary, this is a solid entry in comedy history. It’s a must see, and one of Mel Brook’s funniest films. The movie has been handled with great care with this DVD set. The quality special features only add to the coolness. A must buy!
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