Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Producers

In the midst of a week of heavy, serious drama, The Producers was a pleasant interlude. It was funny, clever, and light-hearted. What more can you ask from a comedy?

Truthfully, The Producers was not what I expected. Most Mel Brooks movies I've seen are parodies of common films or film genres, like his send up of Hitchcock in general and Vertigo in particular, High Anxiety. Two of those parodies, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, are among my favorite comedies; they never fail to make me laugh. The Producers is not a parody, but a straight farce about two men and their scam to make a million off a Broadway flop. Ironically, when Brooks transformed it into a musical and it became an enormous hit, it became a parody.

Perhaps it was expectations, perhaps it was because envelope-pushing comedy in 1968 seems tame today, but I didn't find The Producers to be as funny as I expected. The casting is inspired and perfect and Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder have incredible timing, but too many of the jokes just didn't work for me.

Still, it was an enjoyable film and provided one moment of serendipitous comedy. Christopher Hewett plays the flaming director in drag, and when Joy and I realized how we knew the actor, it produced an unexpected outcry of "Mr. B, what happened to you?"


Stephen said...

The main thing I remember about the film version of The Producers is that you reach the end of the movie, and then it keeps on going into this blow-up-the-theatre plot.

Andrew said...

Yeah, and then it even goes on to them producing a musical in prison.