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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb thelionking5c736ad86cb97

The Lion King

The movie is never less interesting than when it's trying to be the original Lion King, and never more compelling than when it's carving out…

Thumb luz

Luz

Singer brings Luz in for an effective ending, but it still feels like a movie that just barely works as a feature film, and almost…

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog 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."

Advertisement

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

From Blue Velvet to Top Gun: J. Hoberman on Movie Culture in the Reagan Era

An interview with the legendary critic J. Hoberman on the release of his book Make My Day.

Viewing Midsommar, Us, and Lords of Chaos Through the Persona Filter

From a 2019 perspective, the Persona Filter can be used to better understand one’s sense of self, and to better under...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus