I’ve been catching up on some movies that I know I need to see, so I watched the 1967 version of The Producers starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as two dopes who pull the best worst scam on Broadway. This movie is probably the first movie I’ve seen from the 60s, at least as far as I can remember. I’m gonna be marathoning some more Mel Brooks movies with mi madre soon so I’ll get a real feel for the time period as well as for Mel Brooks. Speaking simply on the premise of the film, this movie was a success waiting to happen. To elaborate on my one sentence summary, Zero Mostel plays a down on his luck play producer who meets neurotic accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder). Together the two end making the worst play ever to scam their sponsors out of their money. This movie is listed as a musical comedy, but to be honest it’s more of a comedy that happens to have a few songs. There’s a difference.
First let’s talk about the acting. First we have Mr. Zero Mostel, who takes the lead in this unlikely pairing. He plays the crooked scam artist too a T, and I enjoyed eveyr second of his selfish finessery. And his singing voice isn’t too bad either. I’ve never heard of this man before watching this movie, and I may never see him again, but I dig him. But the real stand out was (unsurprisingly) the late, great Gene Wilder. One of the things that really inspired me to watch this movie was to see Gene Wilder in action. When he passed people were really singing his praises, so I figured it was time to finally see some of his flicks. He did not disappoint. I enjoyed his whiny neuroticism and the heart he brings to this film. This could be a movie about two scam artists who make musical to con little old ladies, but Wilder makes it something much more. It becomes the story of a timid man who finds friendship and excitement in a way he never thought possible. Just seeing his character come into his own in this corrupt business really is something inspiring. The chemistry between these two is one of the reasons this movie works. If those two didn’t work, the movie would’ve been an undoubted bust. But the real genius in this production is the great Mel Brooks. I had heard the stories but this is the first time I’ve actually seen any of his work. I now am wondering why I waited so long. First things first, some of the camera angles in this movie are just hilarious. They’re weird and kind of close up at times and it just makes the situation a bit more entertaining. Along with being director of this movie, Brooks also wrote the film. It’s this kind of writing that has helped this movie stand the tests of time. It’s funny and vulgar in all the best ways. Really ahead of its time in humor. I didn’t think ’67 could get so edgy. Edgy isn’t exactly the right word but I don’t know what other word to use. Anyway one last person I’d like to mention is a man by the name of Dick Shawn. He plays the lead in their horrible musical, and he’s just lovely. He’s a hippy and he’s funny but you know his character isn’t trying to be. It’s just great. And I noticed he kind of looked like and sounded like Robin Williams. I just really had to mention that, cause it had me pretty confused. In conclusion, this is a movie that one could watch opening night or 2oo years in the future and they’d still love it
. The performances are fantastic, and the amazing script and directorial style makes that so. I happily await whatever Mel Brooks movie I can find next, though I don’t know how this one will be topped.
So what do you think of The Producers? Do you like the remake better? Who was the better of the pair: Mostel or Wilder? Talk about it in the comments and don’t forget to like, share, and follow Sprom for more old movie reviews and other things in the world of movies.