The Producers (2005 film)

The Producers (2005 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Producers


image_size =
caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Susan Stroman
producer = Mel Brooks
Jonathan Sanger
writer = Mel Brooks
Thomas Meehan (screenplay)
starring = Nathan Lane
Matthew Broderick
Uma Thurman
Will Ferrell
Gary Beach
Roger Bart
music = Mel Brooks
Thomas Meehan
cinematography = John Bailey
Charles Minsky
editing = Steven Weisberg
distributor = flagcountry|USA: Universal Pictures
flagicon|EarthWorldwide: Columbia Pictures
released = flagcountry|USA: December 16 2005 (select cities), December 25 2005 (nationwide)
flagcountry|UK: December 26 2005
flagicon|EarthWorldwide: by 2007-01-26
runtime = 134 min
country = United States
language = English
budget = $45,000,000 USD (approx)
gross = $38,058,335
followed_by =
website = http://www.theproducersmovie.com/
amg_id = 1:315141
imdb_id = 0395251

"The Producers" is a 2005 comedy-musical film starring Uma Thurman and The Lion King's Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. It is based on the 2001 Broadway musical of the same name and a remake of the 1968 movie starring Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, and Andréas Voutsinas. The movie is directed by Susan Stroman (the director and choreographer of the original Broadway production). It was produced and distributed domestically by Universal Pictures and distributed overseas by Columbia Pictures.

Plot

The film opens ("Opening Night") with the flop musical "Funny Boy" based on William Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Afterward, Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) arrives at the office of the show's washed up producer, Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane). Max has hired Leo Bloom as his accountant. While studying Max's books, Leo inadvertently inspires Max to put on a show that is certain to fail at the box office and cleverly change their accounts leaving them with $2,000,000 to spend. At first, Leo refuses to participate. Max, who cannot change the books himself, attempts to coax Leo into the scheme ("We Can Do It"). Leo still refuses and returns to his old accounting firm, Whitehall & Marks.

After being chastised by Mr. Marks (Jon Lovitz), Leo fantasizes about being a Broadway producer ("I Wanna Be a Producer"). Leo quits his job and with Max, forms Bialystock & Bloom. Max and Leo search for "the worst play ever written" and discover "Springtime for Hitler," written by an ex-Nazi named Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell). They are coerced into performing Adolf Hitler's favorite tune in order to gain Liebkind's signature for Broadway rights to the musical ("Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop"). They solicit a flamboyant gay director, Roger De Bris (Gary Beach) ("the worst director in the world"), to direct and choreograph the play. De Bris initially refuses saying that the musical is far too dark and gritty and that Broadway needs to be more "gay" ("Keep It Gay"). Roger is talked into it, however, after being enticed by Max and Leo, who tell him that if he directs the play, he is certain to win a Tony. Then, Ulla (Uma Thurman), a beautiful Swedish woman, appears at their office for casting despite there being no auditions. Max insists on hiring her as their secretary and auditioning her ("When You've Got It, Flaunt It").

To gain the finances for the musical Max has sexual affairs with every old lady across town ("Along Came Bialy"). Max and Leo return to the office to discover that Ulla has redecorated it to be entirely white. After Max leaves, Leo laments about Ulla and the dangers of sexual affairs straying him from his work, culminating in a kiss between Leo and Ulla ("That Face"). Later, at the auditions for the role of Hitler, Franz becomes angered at a performer's rendition of a beloved German song. Franz storms the stage and sings the song the correct way ("Haben sie gehört das deutsche band?"). Max hires Franz to play Hitler.

On opening night, as the cast and crew prepare to go on stage, Leo wishes everyone "good luck", to which the players are horrified. They explain to Leo that it is in fact "bad luck" to say "good luck" on opening night and that the correct phrase is to say "break a leg" ("You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night"). Franz leaves to prepare and, in his rush, literally breaks his leg. Max enlists Roger to perform the role in his place, and Roger accepts.

As the show opens, the audience is horrified and begins to walk out until Roger steps on stage as Hitler. Because his performance is so flamboyant, the audience sees the play as a mockery of Hitler rather than Franz's original vision ("Springtime for Hitler"). As a result, the show is a success and the IRS will be keeping tabs on Max and Leo. Max gets arrested for his tax fraud while Leo and Ulla escape to Rio ("Betrayed"), however they return to stand up for Max in court ("'Til Him"). The judge sentences them both to five years at Sing Sing prison, but they are pardoned after writing a musical in prison ("Prisoners of Love"), and go on to become successful Broadway producers.

After the credits roll ("There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway"), there is an extra song ("Goodbye!") by the cast.

Cast

* Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock
*Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom
*Will Ferrell as Franz Liebkind
*Uma Thurman as Ulla
*Gary Beach as Roger De Bris
*Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia
*Jon Lovitz as Mr. Marks
*Michael McKean as Prison Trustee
*David Huddleston as Judge
*John Barrowman as Lead Nazi Tenor
*Eileen Essell as Hold Me-Touch Me
*Debra Monk as Lick Me-Bite Me
*Andrea Martin as Kiss Me-Feel Me
*Fred Applegate as Seargeant O'Toole

oundtrack and songs

#"Overture" - Orchestra
#"Opening Night" - Opening Nighters
#"We Can Do It" - Max and Leo
#"I Wanna Be a Producer" - Leo, Accountants, and Mr. Marks
#"Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop" - Franz, Max, and Leo
#"Keep It Gay" - Roger, Carmen, Max, Leo, and Company
#"When You Got It, Flaunt It" - Ulla
#"Along Came Bialy" - Max and Little Old Ladies
#"That Face" - Leo and Ulla
#"Haben Sie gehört das Deutsche band?" - Franz
#"You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night" - Roger, Carmen, Franz, Max, and Leo
#"Springtime for Hitler (Part I)" - Soldiers, Girls, and Company
#"Heil Myself" - Roger and Company
#"Springtime for Hitler (Part II)" - Roger, Ulla, and Company
#"You'll Find Your Happiness in Rio" - Samba Band
#"Betrayed" - Max
#"'Til Him" - Max, Leo, and Little Old Ladies
#"Prisoners of Love (Broadway)" - Prisoners, Ulla, and Company
#"Prisoners of Love (Leo and Max)" - Leo and Max
#"There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway" - Leo and Max
#"The Hop-Clop Goes On" - Franz
#"Goodbye!" - Leo, Max, Ulla, Roger, Carmen, Mr. Marks, Accountants, Dancing Girls, and Mel Brooks
#"The King of Broadway" - Max (deleted scene on DVD)

Reception

"The Producers" received mixed reviews from critics. One positive online review said: "Outrageous musical numbers evoke most of the laughs in this movie funfest. Eat your heart out, Rockettes, because here comes a little old ladies’ chorus line (“Along Came Bialy”) to rival your success. Watch out, real-life producers, for an actor named Gary Beach (“Heil Myself”). Never, and I mean never, hire him if you want your play to flop! And stop spinning in your grave, Florenz Ziegfeld. Those “Springtime for Hitler and Germany” showgirls are all in good fun. Finally, congratulations to director Susan Stroman, for making this Broadway gem into a film that old-time movie musical fans like me can cheer about." [ [http://www.reeltalkreviews.com/browse/viewitem.asp?type=review&id=1515 ReelTalk Movie Reviews ] ]

Nathan Rabin wrote: "Between the rough start and an ending that lingers too long, there's a solid hour or so of terrific entertainment that serves as both a giddy tribute to Broadway musicals and a parody thereof. Thirty-seven years after Brooks declared war on taste and propriety, 'The Producers' has lost its power to shock or offend, but it's retained its ability to amuse." [ [http://www.avclub.com/content/node/43532 The Producers] ]

Roger Ebert cited difficulty in reviewing the film due to familiarity with the original 1968 film. However, he did state that the new version was "fun" and gave it three stars (out of a possible four). Said Ebert: "The new movie is a success, that I know. How much of a success, I cannot be sure."cite news
last = Ebert
first = Roger
title = "The Producers" review
publisher = RogerEbert.com
date = 2005-12-16
url = http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051215/REVIEWS/51213003/1023
accessdate = 2007-01-26
]

Most negative reviews suggested that the performances were tuned more for the theater rather than for film. Stephanie Zacharek observed: "'The Producers' is essentially a filmed version of a stage play, in which none of the characters' expressions or line readings have been scaled down to make sense on-screen. Every gesture is played out as if the actors were 20 feet away in real life, which means that, by the time the performers are magnified on the big screen, they're practically sitting in your lap. The effect is something like watching a 3-D Imax movie without the special glasses.Zacharek, Stephanie, [http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/movies/review/2005/12/16/producers/index.html "The Producers"] , retrieved January 26 2007 from salon.com]

Trivia

* In the song "Opening Night", a newspaper theatre review is shown on the screen; on the byline, credit is given to Addison DeWitt, the theatre critic played by George Sanders in 1950's All About Eve.
* Although it's never said, the film takes place in 1959, when Broadway was a prominent piece of entertainment. [Susan Stroman's comments on the DVD audio commentary.]
* In the scene when Ulla first enters Bialystock's office, the King Leer poster next to the door can be seen, and after a few seconds, its eyes start spinning.
* The voices of 'Tom The Cat' (who is thrown by Bialystock into the theater) and the Stormtrooper who says 'Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi Party!' are provided by Mel Brooks, two voices he also pre-recorded for the Broadway show and one voice (the latter) that he did in the original movie.
* After the closing credits, there is an additional song where the cast bids good-bye to the audience. This number is also sung in the stage production right after the final company bow. At the end of the number is a cameo by Mel Brooks himself, who tells the audience: 'Get out, it's over'. In an interview, Brooks complained that audiences wanted to stay in the theater after the show was over. He specifically wrote this song to tell everyone to leave.
* When Leo Bloom shouts "Stop the world, I wanna get on!" it is a reference to the musical "Stop the World - I Want to Get Off".
* When Max is visiting the old ladies in their apartment buildings, he pushes several intercom buttons, labeled with names of the residents they refer to. Many of these are references to famous people::*'A. Bancroft', Mel Brooks' late wife, Anne Bancroft.:*'J. Gatsby', the eponymous protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby".:*'Bloomingdales', the name of a department store.:*'Tisch', the Tisch School of Arts and Tisch Hospital at New York University.:*'C. F. Kane', referring to Charles Foster Kane, from the film "Citizen Kane".:*'E. Wharton', referring to Edith Wharton author of "Ethan Frome".:*'M. Kaminsky', Mel Brooks' birth name, Melvin Kaminsky.:*'A. Carnegie' (Andrew Carnegie).:*'J.J. Astor' (John Jacob Astor V). :*'J. Rockefeller' (John D. Rockefeller).
* A black fedora is the "Broadway producer's hat" that Max finally allows Leo to wear in the last scene.
* While talking about the $2,000 missing from Max's books after "Funny Boy", the calendar behind Max and Leo reads June 16th. The date is known as "Bloomsday" (later referenced when Leo and Max agree go ahead with their plan) by fans of James Joyce and his novel "Ulysses". Joyce's character Leopold Bloom experiences extraordinary things on what's supposed to be an ordinary day - June 16th.
* The two main stars of the film, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick previously worked together voicing friends Timon the meerkat and Simba the lion in Disney's 1994 animated motion picture The Lion King. A scene shot for The Producers, but deleted featured the pair on-screen with Ernie Sabella, who voiced the third member of their friendship, Pumbaa the warthog. This scene is included on the DVD. The scene is called the Astro Bar and shows where Max and Leo escaped to during the middle of Springtime for Hitler when Max said, "Let's get out of here before they kill us". The three are the only in the bar and Max buys a round for all of them and sings about Rio. Eventually Max and Leo leave to see how bad there show flopped(they had no idea how people reacted to Roger's Hitler) while Ernie Sabella stays.
* At the end of the song "The Hop-Clop Goes On" Franz whispers, "Don't forget to buy Mein Kampf, in paperback. Available near you at Borders Books or Barnes & Noble und Amazon.com."
*When Bialystock and Bloom are searching for the worst play ever written in act 1, Bialystock reads out the opening to The Metamorphosis, an existential novella by Franz Kafka

References to other Brooks works

In the movie there are references to other movies by Mel Brooks, including:
*"High Anxiety": Ulla asks if she can audition for Max and Leo, Leo begins to say, "Oh no, miss, that won't be nece–" (interrupted, the full word being "necessary"). Max interrupts him, saying "Yes, it is 'nece,' extremely 'nece'!".
*"Get Smart": A condition of Liebkind allowing "Springtime" to be performed on Broadway is that Bialystock and Bloom take the 'Siegfried Oath'. Siegfried was a character with a thick German accent and Maxwell Smart's main adversary on "Get Smart", the 1960s television show created by Brooks.
*"Blazing Saddles"; while looking over the contracts in the freshly-painted office, Leo says to himself, "Work work work, work work work, work work work." In Max's prison scene, the prison guard says he has a postcard from someone in Brazil, Max wonders aloud who he knows in Brazil, before asking the guard, "Why am I asking you?". Carmen Ghia's drawn out "Yesssss?" is also a reference to Blazing Saddles, heard during the gay dancers scene headed by Dom DeLuise. When Max uses the line 'you Teutonic twit' it is a reference to Hedley Lamarr's 'you Teutonic twat'. As Bialystock and Bloom leave the roof Franz leans against the door and says, "What nice guys" in the same manner that Lily Von Schtupp does when Sheriff Bart leaves her dwessing woom saying, "What a nice guy."
*"To Be or Not to Be"; while playing Hitler, Roger sings a song entitled "Heil Myself".
*"Silent Movie"; the "walker dance" during the number "Along Came Bialy"
*"Young Frankenstein"; while in Sing Sing prison, the inmates are seen rehearsing a dance for "Prisoners of Love". This is the same dance done by Dr. Frederick Frankenstein and the Frankenstein Monster.

Certain actors in the film have been involved in previous Brooks related productions, such as David Huddleston, who played Olson Johnson in "Blazing Saddles" and Thomas Meehan, who co-wrote "Spaceballs", the film's previous musical incarnation's book and the film itself with Brooks.

References

External links

* [http://www.theproducersmovie.com/ Official site]
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