Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1967. Crossbow Productions, Springtime Productions, U-M Productions. Screenplay by Mel Brooks. Cinematography by Joseph F. Coffey. Produced by Sidney Glazier. Music by John Morris. Production Design by Charles Rosen. Costume Design by Gene Coffin. Film Editing by Ralph Rosenblum.
Zero Mostel plays a failing Broadway producer who has no idea where his next meal is coming from. Together with his fellow producer (Gene Wilder), Mostel comes up with the wackiest idea to make money: raise more funds than you need to put on a really bad show that will definitely flop, and then pocket the difference! Coming up with a musical based on Nazi Germany, the pair are quite astonished when the embarrassing extravaganza they put on ends up being the toast of Broadway. Mel Brooks’ breakthrough film is a hilariously biting satire of show business and politics, and the zany performances from the leads are worthy of plenty of laughs. The central number of their play, “Springtime For Hitler”, is an absolute riot. The film was made into a hugely successful Broadway musical more than thirty years after it first opened in theatres.
Academy Award: Best Original Story and Screenplay
Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Gene Wilder)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Zero Mostel); Best Screenplay