Before it was a Tony-winning Broadway smash, Mel Brooks’s mind-boggling, side-splitting, transcendently tasteless comedy was his classic debut feature as writer and director. The incomparable Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel originate the roles of down-at-the-heels stage producers Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock, who dream up the idea of putting on a over-financed musical that's built to fail in order to scam the investors. The result: Springtime for Hitler, an effervescent romp about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, written by a neo-Nazi (Kenneth Mars), directed by a fatuous cross-dresser (Christopher Hewett) and starring hippie-freak Lorenzo S. Dubois, LSD for short (Dick Shawn).
“The words ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewish’ are never used in The Producers. Indeed, one of the best gags is the Nazi playwright’s strategic obliviousness to the evident Jewishness of his producers.”
Photo courtesy of EMBASSY PICTURES / THE KOBAL COLLECTION.