The Producers

Today's movie is another famous comedy that I have never seen before, somehow - Mel Brooks' The Producers, which he wrote and directed in 1968. I knew what it was about, but I just never watched it before. I was glad that I did! I found my first week of work to be really exhausting - so much stuff to learn, people to meet, and things to do! I really like my job so far, but it's been a hard adjustment! I was glad that Ebert put two great comedies back to back, since it was energizing and fun to have some hilarious movies to watch in the evening. I'm not sure I could have mustered up focus for something more serious.

The acting and writing are totally over the top in this movie, but it was so funny. Mel Brooks is not really known for his subtly. I had a lot of fun and laughed a lot during this movie - it was ridiculous but also awesome. Plus it had Gene Wilder, who I love out of some strange version of Stockholm syndrome, after being so traumatized as a child by his role as Willy Wonka. Who would cast him for that part, seriously?

The movie is about Max, a producer, and Leo, an account, who come up with an idea to make money. Leo thinks that if they get more money invested in their play than it actually costs, and the play only runs for one night, they can just keep the extra cash and escape. The try to find the worst play ever, something that they think is sure to flop. They settle on the absurd "Springtime for Hitler", but alas, nothing really goes there way with this scheme.

This movie is so over-acted and so melodramatic. Leo is constantly shrieking and screaming, which is hilarious, but also borderline annoying. I loved that the actors were so willing to do such strange and crazy things in their roles, and they really gave it their all. It must have been exhausting for both of them! I loved the insane acting and characters, though. I just found it pretty funny, and really enjoyed their chemistry and antics. I found the movie oddly believable, and I think that is from the excellent casting and acting. The writing set up the back story of the characters so we cared for them and they felt real, the actors were perfect for their roles, and they seemed to give it their all. It was just a lot of fun to watch both of them, because I'm sure they had a blast making this film!

I also really liked how strange and hilarious the plot and the musical production were. "Springtime for Hitler" was pretty amazing and funny, and I couldn't stop laughing during any of the scenes from it. Everything from the bizarre costumes (I loved the women with German food costumes) to the Heil-ing kick line were just so funny! The comedy was so well-written. I loved that Brooks wasn't afraid to use anything as a joke - most people would, even still, I think, shy away from some of the jokes that he used. Even during the musical, my boyfriend was alternating between disbelief and laughing, shocked at the imagery but still liking it. I think it's great that Brooks just went all-out for his first movie, and I think that it really paid off.

 I'm having the same struggle writing about this movie that I did when writing last night. It's so tough to write about comedy. It's even harder because it's so objective and personal, what we like and dislike. I could imagine a ton of people being annoyed by the fact that the characters are always near (or in) hysterics, yelling. I didn't like Moonstruck because it's brand of melodramatic humor fell flat for me, where I loved this one, because I liked the plot and other factors way more. The jokes seemed better, too. But of course, the movie won't work for everyone. I just happened to like it. I think I've been lucky that Ebert and I seem to have vaguely similar tastes in comedy, but I could imagine a lot of this being hard for someone who doesn't like the same styles that he does. I think it's time for me to collapse into bed, but before I do, if you like the kind of comedy that I do (in my other posts), check this out if you haven't seen it! I really liked it and loved the yelling and madness and insanity of it all. :)

Have any thoughts on The Producers? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Ebert's Great Movie Essay on The Producers
Buy it on Amazon

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