The Producers review
by: Helen Westbrook - Last updated: 2005-12-26
The Producers (12a)
A literal enactment of the phrase "break a leg" causes misfortunate for theatrical agent Max Bialystok and his partner Leo Bloom in the film The Producers, the remake of which is now out.
Disaster following disaster for Max Bialystok's theatrical productions, causes him to take seriously an idea innocently plucked out of the air by Leo Bloom, an accountant visiting his office.
The idea is to put on a play which is certain to close after the first night. Having collected a great many donations from their backers, they would leave town with their money, for a better life, immediately after the performance. The two conspirators wade through piles of terrible plays by aspiring writers, and pick one which is so excruciating in its writing, so certain to cause offence to its first night audience, some of whom, hopefully, might even walk out during the performance, that it would disappear immediately to join the other first night flops.
The play they choose is a musical called "Springtime for Hitler" written by Franz Liebkind, who they find busy keeping caged birds on a rooftop, and who will part with his magnum opus only if Bialystok and Bloom confirm that they, like himself, are fans of Hitler. Managing, by their own means, to convince him, they persuade Roger DeBris and Carmen Ghia, and their unusual and colourful assistants, to direct the production. On returning to their office, they are visited by Ulla, who arrives for an audition, and stays to become the duo's secretary, and ultimately Leo Bloom's wife.
The production of the play goes ahead, with its producers confidently looking forward to the fruition of their scheme. When their plans don't work, Bialystok and Bloom have to take the consequences. However, they use the opportunities afforded by their new situation to their advantage and use their talents to further their careers.
Nathan Lane, as Max Bialystok, is appealing to the audience as well as to the many elderly ladies of New York from whom he receives, in return for certain favours, a great deal of money to back his shows. Matthew Broderick, as Leo Bloom, gets the sympathy of the audience as a nervous and unfulfilled accountant, relying on a square of blue blanket (which is in remarkably good shape considering the amount of use it's had in its lifetime) to help him to deal with what life throws at him. Will Ferrell as Franz Liebkind, is overpowering both in height, character and performance.
As a Nazi lover, he is passionate about his masterpiece, and ideal to play the part of Hitler as he intends the part should be played. Gary Beach as Roger DeBris and Roger Bart as Carmen Ghis as Roger DeBris's assistant are colourful characters. Roger DeBris's ultimate performance as Hitler, in his own unique style, is responsible for the outcome of Bialystok and Bloom's scheme. Uma Thurman is beautiful and glamorous, captivating cast and audience with her alluring performance.
The Producers is a lively and colourful film, with a lively and colourful cast, and with every moment packed with action and interest, intermingled with catchy musical numbers by cast and chorus.