Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock
Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom
Uma Thurman as Ulla
Will Ferrell as Franz Liebkind
Gary Beach as Roger DeBris
Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia
Michael McKean as Prison Trustee
Eileen Essell as Hold Me-Touch Me
David Huddleston as Judge
Debra Monk as Lick Me-Bite Me
Andrea Martin as Kiss Me-Feel Me
Jon Lovitz as Mr. Marks
Analysis of a Scene: “I Wanna Be a Producer”
Feature Commentary with Director Susan Stroman
Anamorphic Widescreen (2.40:1)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Picture: Running Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
The Producers is based on a Mel Brooks Broadway play which is based on a Mel Brooks film from 1968. The following is from the DVD cover:
“Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their award-winning roles in the hilariously funny film of the record-breaking Broadway smash-hit. Scheming producer Max Bialystock (Lane) and his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick), discover that under the right circumstances they could make more money by producing a Broadway flop than they can with a hit. But what will they do when their sure-to-offend musical becomes a surprise sensation? Co-starring sexy Uma Thurman and comedy genius Will Ferrell, The Producers is a fun-filled, side-splitting comedy.”
The Producers is rated PG-13 for sexual humor and references.
I was really looking forward to seeing The Producers on DVD. I missed it in theaters and never saw the Broadway play, so I wanted to see if it was as funny as I had heard. Unfortunately, 30 minutes into the movie I wanted to turn it off. I found that Broadway acting doesn’t always translate well onto the small screen in your living room. The over-acting, over-playing, over-emoting works fantastic when you’re 100 ft away from the live players on a stage. But when they’re 10 ft away on a big screen TV, it seems over the top. This was particularly the case in the opening moments as we see Matthew Broderick go completely psycho, cry for a blanket, and curl up in a fetal position on the floor. On top of this you have Nathan Lane yelling, falling over stuff, and both actors delivering every line at the top of their lungs. It was simply too much for me and it really wasn’t funny at all.
However, the film started getting significantly better as soon as Will Ferrell appeared on the screen as Franz Liebkind, the dim-witted Nazi and aspiring playwright. As soon as his ridiculous character appeared on the screen, it got instantly funnier. The same was the case as more and more of the supporting characters were revealed. Gary Beach (looking like Nathan Lane’s brother) was amusing as Roger DeBris, the transvestite director of the sure-fire bomb. Uma Thurman also is funny as Ulla, the Swedish bombshell that acts as secretary for the Producers.
Everything leads up to the debut of “Springtime For Hitler”, the worst possible play our Producers could create. It lives up to every tacky and offensive expectation you would have for it and ends up being truly the highlight of the film. Unfortunately, at 2 hours and 15 minutes long it takes a heck of a long time to get to that payoff. The film also suffers from multiple endings where you think over and over that it’s finally wrapping up and it doesn’t.
In the end, The Producers is going to appeal mostly to Broadway musical fans. Mel Brooks fans have a 50/50 chance of enjoying it.
There aren’t many bonus features on the DVD, but what is here is fairly substantial. There are quite a few deleted scenes, the most notable of them being an alternate opening for the film where Nathan Lane has an entire musical number on the street before he ever meets Broderick’s character. The outtakes are quite substantial and run around 15 minutes long. It’s your standard offering of flubbed lines, accidents with props, and giggling fits. “Analysis of a Scene” looks in-depth at the making of the “I Wanna Be A Producer” number. They delve heavily into the costumes, dance routine, sets, and more. It’s an impressive look at how the scene was made. And as much as there is here, it quickly becomes apparent that this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as what they have to offer in bonus features. I expect a “Producers Special Edition” some time in the future with even more extras. Rounding out the bonus features is your standard commentary by director Susan Stroman.