Scene:The opening number to "Springtime For Hitler."
Specs: Full Frame and Wide Screen (1.85:1) versions, English
Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby 2.0, English, French and Spanish
today, it may be hard to appreciate just how ground-breaking
Mel Brooks' first film really was. One scene within it best
captures what many audiences may have felt: after the flamboyant
title number for "Springtime For Hitler," the camera turns
on the shell-shocked theatergoers. Dead silence fills the
screen as they try to process what exactly they just saw.
too, did initial movie-going audiences look on slackjawed.
Because of its incendiary subject matter, turning the Third
Reich into a musical fantasia, the original production company
tried to quietly dump the film. In the 1960's, no one was
sure if audiences would get the joke when a dancing SS member
sang out, "Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the
Nazi Party." Luckily, the right person did.
by accident did a stoned Peter Sellers view the film, and
take out an ad in Variety at his own expense extolling its
virtues. The comedy giant called it the funniest film of
all time, and people started checking it out.
it the funniest film of all time? That's for you to argue,
but it still has power. Not coincidentally, MGM has delivered
the fine DVD package that the film deserves.
lets the film speak for itself on one side of the disc,
instead opting to dominate a documentary on the making of
his classic debut. With the help of the surviving cast and
major crewmembers, Brooks does a fair job of conveying how
difficult it was to bring his vision to the screen.
when he was working on the script, he considered turning
it into a play, but friends told him it had too many locations
for such. Brooks has, of course, turned The Producers
into a Broadway musical in its own right, though it barely
rates a mention in the extras.
documentary isn't all about him, however. Warm remembrances
and anecdotes come from several of those who participated.
Though the interviews all occurred separately, everybody
seems to have their stories straight. Anyone who has enjoyed
Kenneth Mars this season on Malcolm In The Middle
has already picked up how far he is willing to go to be
funny; as the Nazi playwright, his methods made people a
little nervous. In fact, it seems like Gene Wilder is still
afraid of him.
for a film this old, the disc includes an alternate extended
take on the film's climactic scheme. Though it's a little
scratchy, it's still clear, and though it adds little comedy,
the outtake serves as interesting history.
you think you know the writer/director from lesser efforts
like Robin Hood: Men In Tights and Dracula: Dead
and Loving It, you don't. The Producers stands
as a classic comedy, and a must-have for a home video fan.
The Producers (Special Edition)