Springtime…for Hitler…in Germany!
BQB here with a review of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.” FYI, there was a 1960s movie that I haven’t seen yet (starring Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel), a 2005 movie version starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick I did see and of course, a Broadway play I was never lucky enough to see.
In short, this story has been around forever, but if you want to avoid spoilers, then look away.
Mel Brooks is the funniest man in show business and he parodies everything. “Blazing Saddles” was a sendup of Western flicks that were very popular up until like the late 1970s. “Spaceballs” poked fun of “Star Wars” so naturally, when Brooks had the chance to produce a Broadway play, he made fun of Broadway.
Max Bialystock was once, as he song goes, “The King of Old Broadway.” He laments that he used to have the best of everything, but now he’s a bum who hasn’t had a hit in years. The critics rip him apart, pointing out that at the end of his musical version of Hamlet, “everyone is dead and they were the lucky ones.”
Bialystock meets uptight, super anxious accountant Leopold Bloom (Matthew Broderick)who poses a hypothesis, namely, that a producer could make more money with a flop than a hit. In other words, Max has had a long history of swindling little old ladies out of their money, convincing them to invest in his plays that always tank. However, if the show was so awful that it tanked on opening night, he could just walk away with the money.
Uma Thurman rounds out the cast as Ulla, the super hot Swedish babe who just knocks on Bialystock’s door one day, hoping to become a star.
The duo sets out to find the worst play ever written and find “Springtime for Hitler” penned by a Nazi enthusiast (Will Ferrell). The boys hope the play will be so offensive that it will close opening night but alas, when the audience sees a flamboyantly gay Hitler mincing about stage, they take it as a hilarious parody and the show becomes a blockbuster smash.
As Bialystock laments, “Where did we go right?”