Review: The Producers

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  December 16, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Movie Reviews 

What would it be like to see Broadway make its way onto the silver screen in such a way that the screen would be seamless with the stage?

Many of a great director has tried to capture the magic of Broadway onto a flickering movie screen. Many have failed, very few have succeeded.

There are many ways to accomplish such a lofty goal. Some of the more popular ones are to reinvent the play completely for the screen, or minimalize the set designs and do a lot of close-cut shots, or finally just film the play on stage.

In recent years, especially with the success of Chicago, a lot of these concepts have been abandoned with a successful transition between stage and screen by embracing what makes each grand. Chicago was the perfect "grand stand" and people loved it.

Now with The Producers, we look for another film to step up and continue that trend. Unfortunately, it just doesn't have the allure to make you feel like you are there in the theatre.

The basic story of the film is that an almost-bankrupt producer (Nathan Lane) takes in a new protégé (Matthew Broderick) when the protégé, who is also an accountant, comes up with an idea that there is a lot of money to be made when a film goes belly-up on Broadway.

The pair set out to find the worst play ever conceived so they can rake in their fortune. The play they pick is "Springtime for Hitler", a posh neo-nazi musical that glorifies Hitler and his regime.

Will the pair succeed? Who will direct this monstrosity? And who is the hot Swedish blonde who has come to work for them?

Based on the 1968 film of the same name, the musical Broadway production of "The Producers" was a huge success and a multi-Tony award winning show. The show was conceived by legendary comic genius Mel Brooks, who revamped his film for Broadway and now for this new musical film.

I guess one of the reasons I liked The Producers was the music. The lyrics, over-the-top performances, and strikingly great musical turn in Uma Thurman made this film a delight to watch.

You really have to listen close for the beautiful in-jokes in all the songs. Probably my favorite song in the production was "Keep it Gay" because it seemed to have the best rhythm and seemed to be the least-forced song in the film. Everyone was having fun and it was executed flawlessly.

The only downside to the film is that it tries way too hard in a lot of circumstances and the ending drags on for an eternity. There were at least 4 or 5 different places it could have ended. It was almost like the movie was trying to punish us because we wanted a happy ending. (3.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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