The Producers 1967

The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967)

Once upon a time there was a Broadway producer who met a "creative" but timid accountant. Together they concocted the most outrageous $1,000,000 scheme in the annals of Show Biz.

Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Christopher Hewett, Lee Meredith, Kenneth Mars, Dick Shawn

The original film was written and directed by Mel Brooks and first screened in 1967. (The official USA release date was 1968.) Brooks and Thoman Meehan adapted it as a musical directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman which premiered in London in 2001. Brooks and Meehan next adapted the musical as a new film, also directed by Stroman, and released in 2005.

I watched this after seeing the 2005 film - in fact the next night. It's a no-brainer that the later film is a much richer experience. The original contains a musical - or a bit of one - but the newer film is a musical: significant elements in the plot are told in song and dance. The scripts are very similar: I was easily able to anticipate the next line throughout, and it's often word for word. So all that's left to make a comparison is the two Bialystocks and two Blooms, and so on. And there's nothing in it. Mostel doesn't do anything that Lane can't. He has a slightly more expressive face, and is possibly framed better for some lines. Wilder is charming, but he doesn't get a chance to dance and sing, as Broderick does so effectively. So how anyone can think the film with only the script is 'better' than the film with the same script but with millions of dollars worth of Broadway production added is beyond me.

Garry Gillard | New: 23 March, 2017 | Now: 24 March, 2017