Tuesday, June 5, 2007
When I discovered this image of THE PRODUCERS in a 16mm film rental catalogue back in 1976, I went nuts. For some reason this was never used (to my knowledge) in any actual publicity and it's a shame it hasn't been more widely seen. The combination of the great cartoonist Jack Davis with this ground-breaking 1967 Mel Brooks farce seems perfect and this captures the movie in a nutshell.
I saw THE PRODUCERS on TV around 1970 and had no idea what I was in for. When this was made Monty Python was only just being hatched and was years away from being seen in the USA. The wildest a comedy movie ever got was maybe some Peter Sellers weirdness here and there, but overall "Good Taste" always prevailed. All of a sudden here was this crazy, crazy movie about these lunatic producers and their drag-queen director concoting a Busby-Berkley musical about Adolf Hitler---it was in mind-blowingly bad taste for the time and nobody other than Mel Brooks would have dared to go so aggressively out on such a limb. I of course loved it. I have never quite been the same since seeing it, which turns out to be something that was true for the devoted few who "found" the film back when it was new. A few years later BLAZING SADDLES, HOLY GRAIL and later AIRPLANE! etc kept pushing the envelope even farther, but THE PRODUCERS will always be my favorite live-action film comedy. I've carried every line of it around in my head for nearly forty years and I never cease to enjoy watching it. I saw the recent stage musical version of it in LA and liked it okay but not enough to see the new re-make movie. The original version fell out of favor for a while but I am amazed and happy to see how many people in their teens are re-discovering this riotous film. I hope this atwork delights fans of both Mel Brooks and of Jack Davis as much as it does me. (Doubtless any and all copyrights that pertain to the film apply to this image)