PictureAverage. There is a miasma of grain about the movie, but its presence is even. Therefore the picture, while dated, is still okay. Strangely there are some outdoor scenes which seem to have a better picture than studio interior shots. When Max and Leo look out over the city is actually not bad, but the first part of the movie is poorer in comparison. Colours aren't good seeming blanched and lacking vitality. I couldn't make out any artifacting, and dirt was no more or less prevalent than other movies of this time.
SoundThere is no punch, and certainly no high frequency sweetness, here. The first exchanges between Max and Leo are ear-bleedingly sharp to hear and kind of “spitty”. It is at times like this I wish I had THX. Having said that, you can always make out what's what, even Kenneth Mars' heavy handed German accent. Musical numbers are fine, and are about the only time the extra speakers are employed on the 5.1 track. It does serve to make the musicals special compared to the other parts of the movie, though.
ExtrasAh, this is where things pick up again. I would never have thought that this movie could produce such involving extras material. Admittedly we aren't talking Hellboy status, but what is here is refreshingly good for this age, and type of movie. Peter Sellers' Statement is a wonderful find, read with passion by Paul Mazursky. I won't spoil the story as it is a genuinely funny, pure Sellers, anecdote.
The Making Of The Producers is a long hard look at The Producers. I was never bored, never wanted to fast forward with this making of. This is partly to do with the candid nature of the movie: Zero Mostel's aloof attitude; Gene Wilder was never the first choice of actor, Dustin Hoffman was. It is not often one gets to see the cast actor as second choice, and that the only reason he got the job was because first choice got a better part (Hoffman was cast in “The Graduate” so left The Producers). Brooks seems to be a straight forward guy, reminiscing that he was not pleasant back then. He talks about the script, how studios thought Hitler was too strong - “Can't it be 'Springtime for Mussolini'?” they asked. Sometimes it is a wonder studios made good movies at all, when you hear this kind of thing. All in all, a good Making of...
VerdictThe Producers is something akin to George W Bush making a light hearted, Broadway musical about Osama Bin-Laden. After all, Mel Brooks is a Jew, and The Producers does have some close to the bone Nazi imagery. A group of models, dressed in black SS uniforms, walking in the formation of a swastika, springs to mind. But then, this is the joke, the reson d'etre. During the Second World War there were some jokes made about Hitler, I am humming one now involving the Albert Hall. This film is merely a well-executed movie length joke in the same vein. The fact a modern remake starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick is in the works for a 2005 release is testimony that The Producers is still funny today as it was then.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.