Mel Brooks’s directorial debut stars Zero Mostel as the down-on-his-luck theatrical producer Max Bialystock, who is forced to romance rich old ladies to finance his efforts, and Gene Wilder, as his timid accountant Leo Bloom. Together, they hit upon a way to make a fortune by producing a sure-fire flop, “Springtime for Hitler.” The Producers won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and launched Brooks into a long-standing career as one of America’s greatest entertainers.