The Producers (Widescreen Edition)
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Much of the credit must go to Susan Stroman's stagey and somewhat campy direction, which suits the material perfectly. Even more credit belongs to the incredible Nathan Lane for managing to equal Zero Mostel's original Max Bialystock and even, once or twice, surpassing it. He is, quite rightly, the heart and soul, of the film. The rest of the cast is not bad either. Uma Thurman is a pleasant surprise, the double act of Gary Beach and Roger Bart are pure politically-incorrect joy, and even Will Farrell is good. Which leaves Matthew Broderick. He certainly comes to life when singing and dancing, much more so than I would have expected. But his characterisation of Leo Bloom seems just a bit too bland. I know Leo is supposed to a personality-deficient accountant, but I really miss Gene Wilder's manic edge. With Broderick, there's not even a hint in the eyes that he really needs that blue blanket.
It was fun spotting all the lines of dialogue from the original and seeing how the story and characters were altered (I could understand LSD not fitting into the new concept but the playing of Hitler first by Hans, then by DeBris seemed a tad awkward). But, this being a musical version, the show is going to rise or fall on its musical numbers. In general, the staging was clever and often laugh out loud funny. The songs, it must be said, are not the most memorable ever heard on Broadway.Read more ›
Now with this DVD version, it seems that everyone will have a chance to see the film version of Nathan Lane's "King of Broadway", one of the best songs in the stage production - which for some reason, was not included in the theatrical release. We also get the short "In Old Bavaria", also cut from the theatrical release. However, omitted completely from the movie is the hilarious "Where Did We Go Right?" - disappointing, as it's the only song in the musical that won't ever be seen on film (and it's a great song, too!)
Even though I'm of the opnion that Mel Brooks himself would have done a better job with the camera work; Susan Stroman does her best to direct the film, and brings a flavor of old 1970's movie musicals to the entire production (whether it was intentional or not.)
Be forewarned: After listening to the original broadway cast recording (which receives my highest possible recommendation), you will wish they kept the original Franz [Brad Oscar] and Ulla [Cady Huffman] - their voices are very strong and it's hard to accept Will Farrell or Uma Thurman in those roles if you've been, even slightly, exposed to the original cast (especially Cady Huffman - who truly makes Ulla "belt" the song "If You've Got It, Flaunt It").
All compromises aside, this is one heck of a movie musical which brightly shines the spotlight on the performance abilities of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. You can easily see why they will always be the definitive stage versions of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom.
The Singer/Actors here are/will always be identified with these parts as they have been on the Stage for the last several years: Nathan Lane as Max Bialystok, Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom and now Uma Thurman as blond bombshell, Ulla.
The story is pretty simple: Max, Broadway producer down on his luck comes upon the idea via his accountant Leo, to produce a show that will without any doubt fail; thereby, through larceny and/or accounting tricks, make both Max and Leo a lot of money. Make sense? Not much but who cares: it's in the telling that "The Producers" is so much fun.
Both Lane and Broderick chew the scenery within and inch of its life and most of the musical numbers are fantastically staged outdoors to great advantage: the investor ladies with walkers scene is a hoot as well as Leo's number with his fellow accountants as is the opening scene from the show that Max and Leo produce: "Springtime for Hitler."
"The Producers" will not teach you anything except maybe not to listen to your accountant nor will you leave the theater with any profound thoughts...but you will leave happy and positive...and those are not bad things, not bad things at all.
The story is as old as 1968 when Mel Brooks gifted us with the original movie. The accountant who inadvertently gives the Broadway producer the tip of a lifetime----produce the worst play of all time and pocket the backing-is a singing, dancing romp that leaves you feeling you have seen the best of Broadway at the movies. No one but Nathan Lane could ever bring all the sleaze of Max Bialystock to life with such hilarity; no one but Matthew Broderick could make the nerdy Leo Bloom so enchanting: and no one but Uma Thurman could convince us such a stunningly seductive woman could fall for either.
Will Ferrell shines as the playwright enamored with Hitler and thrilled to bring his "Springtime for Hitler" to the stage in one of the movie's best production numbers, the other being the sex-starved old ladies dancing desperately with their walkers.
Bawdy writing by Mel Brooks and the inimitable mugging of Lane and Broderick make this a must-see for fans of musicals.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you're a fan of Broadway or musicals or anything with singing and dancing and comedy, this is for you! Read morePublished 3 days ago by Christiana Carns
Highly enjoyable musical version of the classic comedy with great choreography.Published 4 days ago by Ruben Iglesias
It was ok, Loved the original, by Zero Mostel, this left a lot to be desiredPublished 1 month ago by Smoke Stack
An excellent film. In many ways it is superior to the original film that starred Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.Published 1 month ago by M. K. Frederick
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