In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_mv5bmje1mzi2mzcxov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnte2mjk4nte_._v1__sx1216_sy640_

Cartel Land

The film provides a fascinating, on-the-ground account of people struggling with situations that range from challenging to horrific.

Thumb_large_nxcfdsanskih09xq74fjnyhw4g0

Stray Dog

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Opening Shots: The Producers (1968)

prod01.jpg

prod04.jpg

From Raymond Ogilvie:

"The Producers" (1968),  Mel Brooks first film, uses its first shot to break taboo by sexualizing old women. The character Max Bialystock is based on a producer Brooks worked for as a young man. This producer would, like Max, make love with old women to get funding for his plays. But Mel Brooks, whose films "rise below vulgarity," doesn't end his taboo-breaking here. He goes on to apply the same gleeful irreverence to ex-Nazis, homosexuals, and voluptuous foreign blonds. Indeed, if the studio had not objected, Brooks would have called this movie "Springtime for Hitler."

Cold open on a frosted glass window with the legend, "Max Bialystock, Theatrical Producer." Behind the glass, two silhouettes kiss and giggle mischievously. The man, the taller of the two, excuses himself for a moment, putting up his finger to tell the woman to keep quiet. Slowly he cracks open the door and peeks out. Here is Max Bialystock, theatrical producer, played by the tall, portly comic actor Zero Mostel. He's checking to see that there are no witnesses to his clandestine love affair.

prod06.jpg

prod07.jpg

prod13.jpg The coast is clear, so he gestures to the woman he is with. "C'mon," he whispers. And surprise, surprise, it's a little old lady with a perfectly pleasant smile on her face. Judging from her pearls and accessories, she's in a good financial position. She blows Max a kiss, which he energetically pretends to catch in his mouth and chew on.

prod19.jpg

They exchange goodbyes. Max gently stops the old woman and reminds her, "Don't forget the checkie! Can't produce plays without checkies!" And she happily replies, "You can count on me, you dirty young man!" He mischievously reaches down and pats her bottom. She puts on a face of surprise and delight. Then she turns away and leaves down the stairs. Max waves giddily after her. "Goodbye! Goodbye!" Once she's out of range, his face quickly turns sour, and he says under his breath, "Old buzzard." He pulls out his pocket watch to check the time. He's on a tight schedule today. Shortly after this woman leaves, he greats another old lady for a romantic rendezvous.

Popular Blog Posts

Why Can't Sad Be Fat?

A rebuttal to Joni Edelman's piece on "Inside Out."

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Unloved, Part 19: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The July 2015 edition of The Unloved looks at Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert...

Magic Lantern Show: The Sensual Pleasures of "The Third Man"

On the look and sound of "The Third Man."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus