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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

THE PRODUCERS (1968)

Mel Brooks ’ original production has long lost the satisfying edge of taste-defying silliness it had back in more prudish times, and there’s obviously nothing to be done about his crude directorial technique. (His style, or lack thereof, stayed remarkably unchanged thru the years.) But the basic comic idea (has-been B’way producer sells 1000% of a ‘sure flop’ that turns into a surprise hit) trumps a lot of bad filmmaking habits. Zero Mostel is scary & funny & REAL (there’s just no threat attached to Nathan Lane in the remake) while Gene Wilder gives lessons in precision comedy technique as the wormy accountant. And there was something about the pathetic FUN CITY/John Lindsay-era NYC that made the desperation in the comedy set-ups play in a manner that the musical remake missed. Kids like the sheer rudeness in the material, and of course the dancing Nazis, so if the coarse sex jokes aren't a problem for you, see what happens.

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