Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Producers (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Producers (1968)

In Mel Brooks' most popular farce - a zany, often brilliant spoof comedy about Broadway productions and the Nazis:

  • in the high-energy, opening credits sequence, cash-hungry, desperate, bankrupt, wild-eyed, hustling has-been Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) was entertaining and romancing rich, love-starved little old ladies for their money - he seduced "Cash" out of elderly females, with the film's first line: "Don't forget the check-y! Can't produce plays without check-y"; one little old lady responded: "You can count on me, you dirty young man"
  • he also played ridiculous sex games with a spry Old Lady (85-year-old Estelle Winwood), who came to his door and requested: "Hold me, touch me" (other games were: "The Innocent Little Milkmaid and the Naughty Stable Boy," and "The Countess and the Chauffeur")
Max's Fleecing of Rich Old Ladies
  • Max's timid, meek, high-strung and neurotic accountant Leopold "Leo" Bloom (Gene Wilder in his first starring role) arrived, and Max delivered a "rhetorical conversation" about his failed professional life: "You know who I used to be? Max Bialystock! The King of Broadway. Six shows running at once! Lunch at Delmonico’s. Two hundred dollar suits. (Max gestured at his stick pin) You see this? This once held a pearl as big as your eye. Look at me now. Look at me now! I'm wearing a cardboard belt! I used to have thousands of investors begging, pleading, to put their money into a Max Bialystock production. Look at my investors now. Voila! Hundreds of little old ladies stopping off at Max Bialystock's office to grab a last thrill on the way to the cemetery" - he showed off his cabinet filled with dozens of photos of older women admirers
  • then at the window after rubbing it clear with a splash of his coffee drink, he spotted a chauffeured white Rolls Royce parking outside Kippys Restaurant across the street, and gleefully yelled in admiration and jealousy: "That's it baby, when you got it, flaunt it, flaunt it!"
  • after Leo looked at Max's accounting books, and realized he had found a $2,000 discrepancy, Leo became extremely nervous and reached for his little blue security blanket for comfort; when Max grabbed it away, Leo explained his infantile need: "I'm sorry. I don't like people touching my blue blanket....It's a minor compulsion. I can deal with it if I want to. It's just that I've had it ever since I was a baby and, and I find it very comforting"
  • Max devised a rascally scheme or plan, after an off-handed suggestion by Leo who was musing about using 'creative accounting' techniques: "But under the right circumstances, a producer could make more money with a flop than he could with a hit...You simply raise more money than you really need"
  • the two greedily paired up and concocted an illegal 'sure-fire' scheme to make a million dollars from investors by producing the worst, most tasteless play ever made; they would purposely over-finance a "sure-fire flop" play, and then pocket the remainder of the investors' money after the show closed; Max fantasized that afterwards, they would run away with the stolen money to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • to ease Leo's frazzled nerves, Max threw a cup of cold water at Leo, and Leo had a further outburst: "I'm hysterical and I'm wet. (Max slapped him on the face) I'm in pain and I'm wet, and I'm still hysterical"
  • they promenaded through Central Park (eating hotdogs, riding a carousel and renting a row-boat) - with the eruption of Lincoln Center's fountain, as Leo joyously danced and shouted that he had decided to join Max: "I'm a nothing. I spend my life counting other people's money. People I'm smarter than. Better than! I want... I want...I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!...I'll do it! By God, I'll do it!"
  • after reading hundreds of scripts late into the night, Max revealed that he had found the one ideal script that had tremendous promise as a flop: "We've struck gold. Not fool's gold, but real gold. The mother lode." The script was titled Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden - a musical comedy about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun in Berchtesgaden, written by Franz Liebkind
  • in a hilarious "concierge" sequence in the West Village, Max and Leo (seeking Nazi playwright named Franz Liebkind) were confronted by an apartment building's self-proclaimed "Concierge" (Madlyn Cates) who stuck her head out of a ground-floor window and questioned their entrance: "Who do ya want? Nobody gets in the building unless I know who they want. I'm the concierge. My husband used to be the concierge, but he's dead. Now I'm the concierge...Oh, the Kraut! He's on the top floor, Apartment 23...But ya won't find him there. He's up on the roof with his boids. He keeps boids. Dirty, disgusting, filthy, lice-ridden boids. You used to be able to sit out on the stoop like a person. Not anymore! No, sir! Boids! Ya get my drift?...I'm not a madam! I'm a concierge!"
  • Max and Leo met (over schnapps in his apartment) with insane, goose-stepping, deranged ex-Nazi "kraut," WWII helmet-wearing Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars), a playwright who sang German anthems; he was the author of the play Springtime For Hitler - that Max wanted to produce on Broadway; he had only scorn for British prime minister Winston Churchill, but spoke glowingly about his Fuhrer: "Hitler - there was a painter! He count paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two Coats! Churchill. He couldn't even say 'Nazi'. He would say 'Noooo-zeeehz, Nooooooooooooo-zeeehz!' It wasn't Noses! It was Nazis! Churchill!...Let me tell you this! And you're hearing this straight from the horse. Hitler was better lookin' than Churchill. He was a better dresser than Churchill. He had more hair! He told funnier jokes! And he could dance the pants off of Churchill!...Churchill!"
Franz' Defense of Hitler
  • Max hired a "toy" -- a blonde, buxom, va-va-voom Swedish-speaking, sexpot receptionist-secretary Ulla (Lee Meredith) whose "work" consisted mostly of hip-swinging go-go dancing for Max
  • they also recruited pompous, flamboyant, cross-dressing (transvestite), gay director Roger DeBris (Christopher Hewett) and his bearded assistant/lover Carmen Ghia (Andreas Voutsinas) for their production
  • there were extensive auditions for the lead role of Hitler in their over-financed play Springtime for Hitler; deranged, spaced-out, middle-aged, adult flower child and hippie actor Lorenzo St. Du Bois "L.S.D." (Dick Shawn) presented an audition that featured the pathetic flower child love song "Love Power"; he was offered Hitler's character in the play
  • their outrageous, perverted, outlandish and distasteful musical at the Playhouse Theatre premiered - with the opening, satirical title number Springtime for Hitler, complete with a goose-stepping, black-booted Nazi chorus (a parody of the Busby Berkeley style in a revolving swastika formation shot from overhead) that sang and danced (with the lyrics: "Don't be stupid, be a smarty, Come and join the Nazi party!"), also accompanied with gunshot sounds!
"Springtime for Hitler"
  • initially, Leo and Max were joyful (believing that they had produced their "sure-fire flop" on Broadway) when they overheard a female patron exiting the play while exclaiming: "Well, talk about bad taste!", with slow-panning reaction shots of the horrified audience members gasping at the Broadway musical play
  • unexpectedly, their plan backfired - their resultant joy was turned to consternation when Leo and Max realized that their flop was actually a big surprise hit when they were toasting the failure in a nearby bar, and heard theatre-goers during the intermission proclaim the play a real success: "Well, so far that's about the funniest thing I've ever seen on Broadway"

Initial Hopes for Their Failed Play

Horrified Audience Reaction

Joy Turned to Consternation
  • after the trio conspired to blow up the theatre to end their production of Springtime For Hitler, they were charged with fraud and appeared in court (filled with weeping old ladies); Leo sat with a bandaged forehead, while Franz was completely bandaged and mummified, and Max had his hand in a cast sporting an upraised middle finger
  • after the announcement of an "incredibly guilty" verdict, Leo presented his defense of Max to the court: "Max Bialystock is the most selfish man I ever met in my life...Not only is he a liar and a cheat and a scoundrel and a crook, who has taken money from little old ladies, but he's also talked people into doing things, especially me, that they would never in a thousand years have dreamed of doing. But, your Honor, as I understand it, the law was created to protect people from being wronged. Your Honor, whom has Max Bialystock wronged? I mean, whom has he really hurt? Not me. Not me. I was -- this man. No one ever called me Leo before. I mean, I know it's not a big legal point, but even in kindergarten, they used to call me Bloom. I never sang a song before. I mean with someone else. I never sang a song with someone else before. This man, this man, this is a wonderful man. He made me what I am today. He did. And what of the dear ladies? What would their lives have been without Max Bialystock? Max Bialystock who made them feel young and attractive and wanted again? That's all that I have to say" (The ladies stood and applauded); Max stood and tacked on his own final words: "And may I humbly add, your Honor, that we've learned our lesson and that we'll never do it again."
Leo's Court Defense of Max and Franz
  • the trio was sent to the State Penitentiary after being sentenced for 2-5 years - but they hadn't learned their lesson; Leo and Max put on a similarly fraudulent production of Prisoners of Love in prison; Leo was accepting payments for 'shares' of the show from other convicts (and even the warden), while Max was bellowing during dance rehearsal: ("Sing it out, men! Higher, you animals, higher! We open in Leavenworth Saturday night!")
  • there was an affectionate tribute to Mostel, listed last in the end credits, and only named as "Zero"

"Look at me now!"

"That's it, baby, when you got it, flaunt it"

Max's Accountant Leo With His Blue Security Blanket: "You're making me extremely nervous"

Leo's Proposal of a Creative Financial Scheme

Leo: "I'm hysterical and I'm wet"

Promenade Through Central Park and to Lincoln Center

"I'm the Concierge"

Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars) On the Roof with His "Boids"

Max's Swedish-Speaking, Secretary Ulla (Lee Meredith)

Assistant/Lover Carmen Ghia

Gay Director Roger DeBris (Christopher Hewett) - "The World's Worst Director"

L.S.D.'s "Love Power" Audition to be Hitler

Hitler (Dick Shawn) in Springtime for Hitler

The Trio's Plot to Blow Up the Theatre

The Warden's Purchase of Shares

"Prisoners of Love" - in Prison

End Credits Tribute to 'Zero'


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