Film: The Producers

The cast is great, the script is swell, but this we're tellin' you, sirs
It's just no go, you've got no show without The Producers!

The Producers is a 1968 comedy film directed by Mel Brooks; it stars Zero Mostel as failed Broadway producer Max Bialystock and Gene Wilder as fearful accountant Leo Bloom. The film, now considered a comedy classic, launched Brooks' long film career; several decades later, he adapted it into a Broadway musical starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (as Bialystock and Bloom, respectively) which won twelve Tony Awards (the most Tonys a Broadway production has ever received). The Broadway adaptation was itself adapted into a film in 2005 (featuring Lane and Broderick in the primary roles), but this adaptation wasn't as well-received as the original film or the Broadway production.

In all versions, the story depicts Bialystock and Bloom meeting for the first time and quickly falling into a get-rich-quick scheme: they'll oversell shares in a Broadway production by a wide margin, then deliberately produce a horrific flop which closes in one night, leaving them free to flee the country with the remainder of the massive initial investment without the IRS investigating the books.

The two schemers choose as their Broadway bomb Springtime for Hitler, a "love letter" to the German dictator written by unrepentant Nazi Franz Liebkind. In the original film, their chosen director is Roger De Bris, who is wholly untalented and flamboyantly gay, while Hitler is played by Lorenzo St. DuBois ("LSD"), a charismatic but seriously brain-damaged hippie. In the musical, Liebkind is chosen for the role of Hitler, but breaks his leg at the last minute and is replaced by DeBris. Bialystock and Bloom's plan culminates in a production which the opening night audience finds funny (they think it's satire), and since the play is announced to be a smash success, things only go downhill for the protagonists from there.


Provides Examples Of:

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    The Original 1968 Version 
  • Adaptation Distillation: In-universe adapting Springtime For Hitler, which was intended to be a serious piece about how awesome Hitler was, into a musical with wacky actor choices turned it from a guaranteed flop into a massive hit.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Springtime for Hitler owns its roaring success to Hitler being inadvertently played for laughs.
  • Adorkable: Gene Wilder, who previously played a similar role of intelligent Bernard.
  • All Germans Are Nazis
  • All Part of the Show: Liebkind's causing a commotion in the audience and then his storming onto the stage in an effort to end the production.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Bloom and Bialystock, which tells you how much they're willing to do just to get the play produced. Both of them spit on the Nazi armbands when they throw them away.
  • Amusing Injuries/Bandage Mummy: What the protagonists end up suffering at the end; Franz is the mummy, still wearing his Nazi helmet.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: In-Universe, "Springtime for Hitler" is picked for this reason.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Ulla's Swedish. They're all actual Swedish words, but it's completely grammatically incorrect: the "god dag min vän" is said as "god dag min vännen", which is closer to "good day my the friend".
  • Batman Gambit: Bialystock and Bloom's entire "creative accounting" scheme.
  • Berserk Button:
    "My blanket! My blue blanket! Gimme back my blue blanket! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
  • Bilingual Bonus: Ulla answers the phone with, "God dag på dig!" (Swedish for good day to you)
    • Combined with Punny Name: Franz Liebkind. Literal translation: Lovechild... a euphemism for bastard.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Averted intentionally.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Bialystock does this when he says, "This man [Leo] should be in a straightjacket."
    • This leads to a neat outtake in the musical film, where Max instead says the line to a statue. Nathan Lane delivers it to the camera, then realizes "That's the first one."
  • Bribe Backfire: Invoked by Bialystock to insult a well-respected reviewer, thus guaranteeing a bad review.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Frequent with Liebkind and Ula.
    • When Liebkind does a Winston Churchill impersonation to condemn Churchill's parodic pronunciation of the word "Nazis".
    Noses, Noses... it wasn't Noses, it was Nazis!
  • Bromantic Comedy: Basically what the main story of this film is, with Max teaching Leo that "there's is more to him then there is to him".
  • Bungled Suicide: Toward the end Franz Liebkind attempts to shoot himself, but the gun fails to go off.
    "Boy, ven things go wrong..."
  • Busby Berkeley Number: Springtime For Hitler's opening, complete with the dancers forming a swastika.
  • Call Back: One of the dirty games that Max plays with little old ladies is where he is a chauffeur named "Rudolpho". When Max is swimming in money, he has his own limo. The chauffeur's name is Rudolpho.
  • The Cameo: Brooks' voice dubbed into the "Springtime for Hitler" number:
    "Don't be stupid/Be a smarty/Come and join/The Nazi Party!"
  • Camp Gay: De Bris, his assistant Carman Ghia.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Roger de Bris.
    Roger: Messieurs Bialystock and Bloom, I presume? Ha! Forgive the pun!
    Leo: (aside to Max) What pun?
    Max: (aside to Leo) Shut up! He thinks he's witty!
  • Captain Obvious:
    "Adolf": Hey man, you're German!
    General: We're all Germans!
    "Adolf": That's right! That means we cannot invade Germany! I mean, I got all my friends here!
  • The Casanova: Bialystock's impressive string of successes, albeit all with women even older than he is.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Franz Liebkind. Even aside from his blatant Nazism, he's more than a little strange. We first see him on the roof hanging out with his birds, who are apparently his friends... who he talks to. Then he attends the opening night performance of "Springtime for Hitler" wearing his Nazi helmet and what's more, he goes up on stage in the middle of the show to berate the audience for laughing at his beloved Fuhrer.
  • Critical Research Failure: Invoked.invoked
    Roger: Do you know I never knew the Third Reich referred to Germany!
    (later)
    Roger: We've got to do something about that whole third act - (shocked) - they're losing the war!
  • Comically Missing the Point: Ulla, after Franz has taken the office by storm and Max and Leo are hiding under the desk:
    Bialystock: (after being badly startled by Ulla asking if he wants coffee) Why don't you ask the gentleman with the gun— the gentleman who is shooting at us— if he'd like some coffee?
    Ulla: (nods and goes off camera) Would you like some coffee? (Max facepalms)
  • Courtroom Antics: Leo tries to appeal to the judge's compassion and sympathy, "no harm done", the old ladies concur with an applause and Max shows a deep remorse. An uplifting music acompanies the scene, it looked like a convincing defense, right?... cut to the exterior of the jail where the duo is imprisoned.
  • Dear Negative Reader: Liebkind orders an audience member to stop laughing at the show, screaming, "You are the audience! I am the author! I OUTRANK you!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "This is wine, women, and song. And women."
  • Dirty Old Man: Bialystock, although one of the elderly women he romances calls him a "dirty young man."
  • Dirty Old Woman: "Hold Me, Touch Me," as well as most of Bialystock's other conquests.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: "You have exactly ten seconds to replace that look of disgusting pity with one of enormous respect!"
  • Dumb Blonde: Ulla
  • Eureka Moment: Bialystock's face when Leo muses about his "creative accounting idea".
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Ulla.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: "Hold Me, Touch Me".
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Franz: Ha ha ha, ja ja, you see zis? You see zis here vat I have told you? Yeah, zis is an example of smartness here. I have said that zis is ze quick fuse. Huh? And zis IS ze quick fuse! ...ZE QUICK FUSE!?
  • Explosive Stupidity: The result of using the quick fuse.
  • First Name Basis: In Leo Bloom's "Whom Has He Hurt" speech, he says that Max Bialystock was the first to ever call him "Leo", which he finds refreshing after being called "Bloom" even when he was in kindergarten.
  • Fruit of The Loon: Watch for the banana at the end of LSD's audition.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Lorenzo, baby! Lorenzo St. DuBois!" He even says outright that his friends call him "LSD" as a nickname.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Carmen is really affected by LSD's song "Love Power" and is grasping Roger's hand romantically.
    • While the audience is wearing thoroughly gobsmacked and in horror at the opening number, Franz is grinning like a loon.
  • Giftedly Bad: Roger de Bris.
  • Gilligan Cut: As the protagonists are about to be sentenced:
    Max: And we're very sorry, and we promise never to do it again!
    [cut to them locked up in prison, doing it again.]
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: In a sense — Leo Bloom has numerous triggers but they cause him to fall non-violently to pieces. He gets better as the movie progresses.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat
  • Homeless Pigeon Person: Subversion: Franz Liebkind, the crazy ex-Nazi playwright. Here, the pigeons prove that he is one of the Crazy Homeless People beyond a reasonable doubt. Mainly because he uses them for his crazy Nazi hijinx.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Roger complains that he's bored of musicals, all those "gooey showgirls" going "two, three, kick, turn, turn, turn, kick, turn", and wants to do straight drama. He then notes that the play is depressing, and some showgirls going "two, three, kick, turn, turn, turn, kick, turn" will liven it right up.
  • Informed Flaw: Roger DeBris is supposed to be a horrible director, but despite the subject matter, he puts on one hell of a musical.
  • Ironic Echo: When playing a sex game with "Hold Me, Touch Me", Max pretended to be a naughty chauffeur named "Rudolfo". Later, when Max is rich again, his chauffeur is named Rudolfo.
  • Jaw Drop: The entire audience is seen doing it.
  • Large Ham:
    • Zero Mostel, full stop.
    Max: Bloom, I'm drowning. Other men sail through life, Bialystock has struck a reef. Bloom, I'm going under. I'm condemned by a society that demands success when all I can offer is failure. Bloom, I'm reaching out to you. Don't send me to prison... (screams directly in Leo's ear) HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLP!
    • Also, Bloom without his blanket.
  • Last Name Basis: His entire life, he'd never been called anything but "Bloom", save Max.
  • Loves Me Not: This sets up a bilingual joke in the Show Within a Show:
    Eva Braun (holding a flower): Er liebt mich, er liebt mich nicht, er liebt mir, er liebt mich nicht. (To Hitler) Du liebst mir nicht!
    Adolf Hitler: Hey, man... I lieb' ya, I lieb' ya, baby, I lieb' ya. Now lieb' me alone!
  • Madness Mantra:
    Leo: No way out. No way out. No way out. No way out. No way out. No way out. No way out.
  • Male Gaze: Half of Ulla's screentime in the original. Also, in-universe, Leo can't glance away for a second.
  • Misplaced a Decimal Point: Invoked. When begging Leo to not report his small scale embezzlement at the beginning, Max tells him he should just misplace a few decimals.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    Franz: Hitler... there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ulla, gainaxing - stripperiffic dance included.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: The duo's efforts to profit from the biggest flop on Broadway.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The poster basically sold it as a softcore porno by including a drawing of Ulla and nothing else. No mention of it being a comedy or the premise or even Mel Brooks (who was already known as a comedy writer), just sex appeal. Not surprisingly, the film flopped.
  • Norse by Norsewest: Ulla.
  • No Sense of Humor: Max Bialystock, apparently. Anyone with any sense of humor could tell "where he had gone right."
  • Officer O'Hara: Two of 'em.
  • Oh, Crap: When Max and Leo overhear that Springtime For Hitler will run for another five years.
  • Older Than They Look: "Hold Me, Touch Me" was played by Estelle Winwood, who lied about her age (she was 85 during filming) to get herself cast, and was surprisingly agile during the physical comedy. Considering the woman died at age 101, she was one hearty dame.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: At one point Max escorts a stunned, thumb-sucking Leo from a theater showing "War and Piece".
  • Poe's Law: Surprisingly Inverted In-Universe — instead of mistaking satire for the real thing, the poor choice of Hitlernote  makes the audience mistake pro-Nazi propaganda for an anti-Nazi satire.
  • Powder Trail: "Ahah! Zis is an example of smartness. I have said zat zis is ze kvick fuse, und zis is ze kvick fuse! ...Ze kvick fuse!?!"
  • Punny Name:
  • Reaction Shot: Used to great effect during the premiere of "Springtime for Hitler". The audience is at first shocked and disgusted, while Liebkind, Max and Leo are delighted for different reasons. And then LSD comes onto the stage with his goofy Hitler and the faces of everyone begin to show an opposite reaction.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Mel Brooks based Roger DeBris elevator on a real friend's. It, too, was tiny and could barely handle three people. And yes, he did tell people to remove their shoes before entering, too.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The film itself. Roger Ebert liked to tell a story of a time he overheard a woman confront Mel Brooks in an elevator, saying, "Your film was nothing but vulgar!" Brooks responded, "Madam, my film rises below vulgarity."
  • A Round of Drinks for the House: Max does this while celebrating with Leo.. to the delight of the one other patron currently in the bar.
  • Sanity Slippage: Franz was already loopy, but Springtime For Hitler makes him Go Postal.
  • Security Blanket: Leo keeps a bit of his baby blanket on him in his jacket pocket.
  • See No Evil, Hear No Evil: Max, Leo and "Failure" briefly form the cliche for a moment in the bar across the street during intermission.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Ulla does this at one point.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot
  • Sexy Walk: Ulla, and she can't help it.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Sixties: Lorenzo, baby! Lorenzo St. Dubois!
  • Slow Clap: Beautifully subverted.
  • So Bad, It's Good: In-Universe, the reason Springtime For Hitler becomes a surprise hit.
  • Spiteful Spit: When Liebkind gives them Nazi armbands, Bialystock and Bloom throw them away in evident disgust and spit on them.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Obviously.
  • Step Three: Profit: Subverted, in that Bialystock's six steps actually detail the route to profit.
  • Stop Helping Me!: invokedMax to Leo at the trial, whose "defense" of Max begins with a list of all of Max's faults.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Leo, prior to getting his confidence, has a tendency to scream without warning.
  • Stupid Crooks: After Max and Leo pull their Springtime for Hitler, they decide to blow up the theater with a little help from Franz. However, they're not sure if they used the short fuse or the long fuse for their bomb detonator, and their way of testing to find out which one they used is to light the fuse they already primed for the bomb. And then they discuss how the fuse they lit is behaving like the quick fuse, which wouldn't have given them enough time to leave the building. And just before that: "Don't shoot! It's the dynamite! If you shoot it, it will get mad at us and blow us all up!"
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Franz starts warbling "America the Beautiful" when denying he was a Nazi.
  • Take That:
    Leo: Actors aren't animals; they're human beings!
    Max: They are, huh? You ever eat with one?
  • Tap on the Head:
    Stagehand: Hey! What can I do for you?
    Franz: You will please be unconscious. (*tap*)
    • The actors who were onstage when Franz lowered the curtain get their revenge, but thanks to his helmet it takes a few seconds for it to work.
    Franz: Often, often, he would say to me "Franz..." OW! [collapses]
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Actually an inversion of this trope, as the Hitler auditionees are rejected for being too good.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: "I'm in pain, and I'm wet, and I'm still hysterical!"
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Franz Liebkind, as well as St. Dubois' Hitler
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: "Now let's get out of here before they kill us!" (cue audience laughter and applause)
  • Villain Protagonist: Max and Leo may be funny, but they're both trying to defraud little old ladies.
  • Villain Song: The opening number of Springtime For Hitler is a cheerful paean to Nazi Germany attacking the rest of Europe.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Max considers himself one. It seems Leo only makes the situation worse.
    Max: They come here, they all come here. How do they find me.
  • What Is This Feeling?: It's called "happiness," Leo.
  • What the Hell, Hero?/Even Evil Has Standards: Leo to Max when he is contemplating killing the actors to save their necks:
    Leo: Have you lost your mind? Actors are not animals, they're human beings!
    Max: They are? Have you ever eaten with one?
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Lee Meredith has said that Scandinavian viewers attribute her supposedly Swedish accent to Scandinavian countries other than the ones they're from—Danes say it's Swedish, Swedes say it's Norwegian, and so forth.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Roger DeBris, who is supposed to be in costume as the Grand Duchess Anastasia, to which he claims that he thinks he looks more like "Tugboat Annie."
  • World of Ham
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Max isn't liking the positive reviews.
  • Zany Scheme: The whole plot.

     The Musical and 2005 Version 
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Roger: This crazy Kraut is crackers! He crashed in here and crassly tried to kill us.
    Carmen: Oh, Roger, what alliteration!
  • Adorkable: Matthew Broderick, who has also played the huggable David but the eternally cool Ferris and the con man Harold.
  • Artistic License – History: An in-universe example.
    Roger De Bris: They're losing the war?! Excuse me?!
  • Ascended Extra: In the original movie, Ulla was in roughly two scenes and had only a few lines which were nothing more than a few single words. In the musical and the movie-version of the musical, she's a major character.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The "Good Luck" song, where Max yells "guten lachen" in his string of good luck yells. Guten lachen roughly translates to "good laughs."
    • Ulla's catch-phrase "God dag min vännen". Technically all words are correct but the grammar is shot to hell. She's actually saying "Good day my the friend." Correct phrasing would have been "God dag min vän". An example that ought to have been avoidable since Will Ferrell speaks enough Swedish to know the difference.
  • Award Bait Song: In the movie musical, Will Ferrell's soulful and heartfelt rendition of "Gutentag Hop Clop" plays over the end credits
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Marks, Bloom's CPA boss.
    Mr. Marks: Do I smell the revolting stench of self-esteem?!
  • Batman Gambit: The scheme, which hinges on the assumption everyone will hate it. Unfortunately, everyone hates it too much, causing them to see it as satire when it accidentally turns funny.
  • Berserk Button:
    "My blanket! My blue blanket! Gimme back my blue blanket! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Frequent with Liebkind and Ula.
    • When Liebkind does a Winston Churchill impersonation to condemn Churchill's parodic pronunciation of the word "Nazis".
    Noses, Noses... it wasn't Noses, it was Nazis!
    • Also with Liebkind:
    Franz: Ze penalty for braking ze Siegfried Oath... IS DESS!
    Max: "DESS!"? Is that anything like death?
    • And again, when Max passes the blame to Roger de Bris:
    Max: Why don't you shoot the actors?
    Franz: Ze actors?
    Max: Yes, "ze aktahz".
  • Bromantic Comedy: Basically what the main story of this film is.
  • The Cameo:
    • Mel Brooks appears at the very end telling the audience to "get out!"
    • Brooks' voice dubbed is into the "Springtime for Hitler" number (it's the same line recorded for the 1968 version).
    "Don't be stupid, be a smarty/Come and join the Nazi Party!"
  • Camp Gay: De Bris and his team living with them, save for one just-as-over-the-top Butch Lesbian. They even sing a song about it.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Roger de Bris.
    Roger: Messieurs Bialystock and Bloom, I presume? Ha! Forgive the pun!
    Leo: (aside to Max) What pun?
    Max: (aside to Leo) Shut up! He thinks he's witty!
  • The Casanova: Bialystock's impressive string of successes, albeit all with women even older than he is.
  • Casting Couch:
    • Ulla benefits from it, of course, although it's only because she's attractive—no actual sex occurs.
      Max: There is always a role for the producer's girlfriend!
    • This scene also lampshades his previous The Casanova experiences.
      Max: Just once I'd like to see a woman on that couch that's under 85.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Ulla's idea of "tidying up" is to paint everything white. Including the furniture, appliances, and the numbers on the safe.
  • Counterpoint Duet: "We Can Do It".
  • Dark Reprise: "We Can Do It/I Can't Do It" notably echoes when the play is a success and Bialystock and Bloom argue over the plan's failing.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "This is wine, women, and song. And women."
    • Also:
    Max: The two cardinal rules of producing. One: Never put your own money in the show.
    Leo: And two?
    Max: NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW!
  • Deus ex Machina: Bialystock and Bloom are completely pardoned for the serious fraud they have committed; the reason given is their play "brought joy and laughter into the hearts of every murderer, rapist, and sex maniac in Sing Sing".
  • Double Entendre: De Bris' song Keep It Gay.
    And so the rule is when mounting [beat] a play!
  • Embarrassing Middle Name:
    • It is claimed that Hitler's middle name was "Elizabeth."
    "Not many people know zis, but ze Fuhrer vas descended from a long line of English qveens."
    • De Bris' name is also Elizabeth, but he doesn't seem too embarrassed by it. It's more there so Max and Leo can do a double take.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: At eleven, Ulla likes to have sex.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex/A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted with Bloom. He's treated as a loser for wanting to wait until marriage.
  • The Fifties: Set in 1958, but there aren't that many blatant period markers and Anachronism Stew abounds (such as when the Village People show up during the "Keep It Gay" number).
  • Final Love Duet: Subverted with "Till Him," which basically resembles a Final Love Duet, except for the fact that they're Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • First Name Basis: In Bloom's intro to "'Till Him" speech, he says that Max was the first to ever call him "Leo" since before kindergarten.
  • Fore Shadowing: During 'We Can Do It', Bloom sings to Max "You see Rio, I see jail". By the third act, Max is in jail and Bloom is in Rio... so if they were to look toward each other, what would they see?
  • Get a Hold of Yourself Man:
  • Giftedly Bad: Roger de Bris.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: In a sense — Leo Bloom has numerous triggers but they cause him to fall non-violently to pieces. He gets better as the movie progresses.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Good lord. The reel on the DVD is a quarter of an hour long and will reduce you to tears. Apparently when Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are in the same room together they induce chronic corpsing in each other.
  • Historical In-Joke: Franz sends a carrier pidgeon to Argentina - a notorious haven for Nazis after WWII.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: 'I Wanna Be a Producer'.
  • "I Am" Song:
    • "I Wanna Be a Producer"
    • 'Heil Myself' counts as well, especially with De Bris's Judy Garland monologue.
  • Ice-Cream Koan:
    Max: There's more to you than there is to you. [mouths: "What the fuck?!"]
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: When announcing an actor to audition for Hitler:
    Carmen: Jacques Lapideux? (no response) Jacques Lapideux? (no response) Jack Lapidus?
  • "I Want" Song:
    • 'I Wanna Be a Producer'.
    • Also 'The King of Broadway,' where Max both laments his lost glory and vows to be on top again.
  • Large Ham:
    • Max in "Betrayed".
    Max: Wait a minute. My name's not Alvin. That's not my life. (sobbing) Somebody else's life is flashing before my eyes(!) I'm not a hillbilly, I grew up in the Bronx! Leo's taken everything — even my past!
    • Bloom without his blue blanket.
    Max: What's that? A handkerchief?
    Leo: No, it's nothing. It's nothing
    Max: (snatching it) If it's nothing, why can't I see it?
    Leo: MY BLANKET! MY BLUE BLANKET! GIMMIE MY BLUE BLANKET!
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When Max looks through his old lady photos:
    Max: Where is "Hold Me Touch Me"? [checking photos] Kiss Me Feel Me, Clinch Me Pinch Me, Lick Me Bite Me, Suck Me F—Ah, here she is.
  • Leitmotif: "I Wanna Be A Producer" and "We Can Do It" occur frequently, notably with the latter occuring grimly when the plan fails and the former triumphantly when Leo earns his producer's hat.
  • Lighterand Softer: Both the musical and film based on it compared to the original dark comic film:
    • Given how Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick treat Max and Leo they've done a wonderful job to make it work.
    • Roger De Bris and his entire team, but he gets top props through his portrayal of Hitler.
    • Instead of Franz, Max, and Leo trying to blow up the theater, Max and Leo get into a fight over the books, and Franz wants to get them both for breaking the "Sigfried Oath" with a pistol. Franz gets his legs broken, Max gets arrested and Leo is in a panic.
    • "Prisoners of Love" also gets worked in at Sing Sing and we see it hit Broadway after Max, Leo and Franz are pardoned in The Musical. We are also treated to the Reprise, "Leo and Max," which also has the page quote.
  • Literal Metaphor: "Quick, darling; back in the closet!"
    Max: Roll them in the aisles.
    Ulla: Okie dokie, I vill try But there's just so many of them.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: Jim Borstelmann plays four roles; Scott the choreographer, Donald Dinsmore ("The Little Wooden Boy"), one of the little old ladies and a Bavarian peasant during the Springtime For Hitler number.
  • Madness Mantra:
    Max: Look at these reviews! "A satiric masterpiece!"
    Leo: No way out...
    Max: "A surprise smash!"
    Leo: No Way Out...
    Max: "It was shocking, outrageous and insulting...AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!"
    Leo: NO WAY OUT!!!
  • Medium Awareness: One song in the play ("Betrayed!") has Bialystock summarizing the events of the play up until that point, including an interMission.
    • The play - Ulla: "Why Bloom go so far stage right?"
    • The second movie - "Why Bloom go so far camera right?"
    • At the start of the play's second act, Ulla says she painted the office white during the intermission.note 
    • The Movie of the musical alludes to this in credits song "Nothin' Like A Broadway Show":
    Max & Leo: Nothing like a show on Broadway!
    Leo: There's nothing like a Broadway show!
    Max: Till you're in movies...
    Leo: There's nothing like a Broadway show!
    • Max comments on Leo's singing voice.
  • Misplaced a Decimal Point: Invoked. When begging Leo to not report his small scale embezzlement at the beginning, Max tells him he should just misplace a few decimals.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    Franz: Hitler... there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ulla, gainaxing - stripperiffic dance included.
  • The Musical: Both in-universe and the film itself.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Bialystock's and Bloom's efforts to profit from the biggest flop on Broadway.
  • Nice Hat: Bialystock forbids Bloom to wear his spare black fedora because "that's a Broadway producer's hat, and you don't get to wear the Broadway producer's hat until you're a Broadway producer! "And you're not a Broadway producer, until you've produced a Broadway play!"
  • Norse by Norsewest: Ulla.
  • No Sense of Humor: Max Bialystock, apparently. Anyone with any sense of humor could tell "where he had gone right."
  • Not What It Looks Like: In the 2005 version, after "Springtime For Hitler" is a success, Bloom and Max fight over the bank account books. Roger and Carmen walk in when Bloom and Max have hit the floor, with one on top of the other, and are saying "Give it to me!" Roger remarks, "Now, that's what I call celebrating!"
  • Offscreen Crash: Franz "breaking a leg".
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss... sss?!
  • Overly Long Name: Ulla Inga Hansen-Bensen-Janson-Tallen-Hallen-Svaden-Swanson (A name that will soon be up in lights - if they can find enough bulbs). And that is just her first name. We don't get to hear her last name, because they "don't have the time" to hear it. In the courtroom scene near the end, Ulla finally reveals her last name as "Bloom", after she marries Leo.
  • Perpetual Tourist: Discussed. The most recent version also has Leo Bloom (temporarily) end up somewhere vaguely South American.
  • Poe's Law: Surprisingly Inverted In-Universe — instead of mistaking satire for the real thing, the poor choice of Hitlernote  makes the audience mistake pro-Nazi propaganda for an anti-Nazi satire.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The role of LSD doesn't translate well in the 21st century, and that, coupled with a society more open about homosexuality, allowed Roger De Bris to get a larger (and funnier) role in the play. One critic pointed out that the LSD character could still have worked in the remake, since the story is now set in 1958 and the character in retrospect seems more like a Fifties beatnik than a New-Age Retro Hippie.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Ulla
  • Punny Name: Roger De Bris, Carmen Ghia.
  • Queer People Are Funny
  • Raging Stiffie:
    Ulla: You like it?
    Max: L— like it? I want you to know my dear that even though we're sitting down, we're giving you a standing ovation.
  • Reaction Shot: Used to great effect during the premiere of "Springtime for Hitler". The audience is at first shocked and disgusted, while Liebkind, Max and Leo are delighted for different reasons. And then Roger De Bris comes into play with his goofy Hitler and the faces of everyone begin to show an opposite reaction.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Franz Liebkind's Luger jams and fires when dropped, with great comedic timing. The classic Luger's toggle action actually is somewhat temperamental.
  • Security Blanket: Leo keeps a bit of his baby blanket on him in his jacket pocket.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Ulla in both versions, but perhaps more so in the original.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The ending has Bialystock and Bloom putting on several familiar sounding productions, which include: "A Streetcar Named Murray"; "She Shtupps to Conquer"; "High Button Jews"; "South Passaic"; "Katz"; "Maim"; and "Death Of A SalesmanOn Ice!"
    • Going through a list of potential candidates for the worst play ever written, Bialystock comes across a synopsis for Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. ("Nah, it's too good.") A Karmann Ghia is a model of Volkswagen. Leopold Bloom is the protagonist of James Joyce's novel Ulysses. At one point Max refers to Leo as "Prince Myshkin"; this is the protagonist of Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot.
    • Leo's line "When's it going to be Bloom's day?" is another reference to Ulysses; in fact, according to Word of God, that particular scene takes place on Bloom's Day. Tom and Mel were very surprised at how many people got the joke. In the 2005 movie, a calendar in Max's office sets the scene on Bloom's Day, June 16.
    • When Jason Alexander took over as Bialystock he adlibbed in "Betrayed." Bialystock calls out interMission and is scripted to sit down for a moment before continuing the show. Instead Jason pulls out a playbill, flipping through it and said to the audience, "He's good, but he's no Lane." (Nathan Lane of course being the original player of Bialystock for the musical.)
    • Nathan Lane's understudy did something similar during the original run of the play. During "intermission," he turned to an imaginary companion and said, "I like the other guy better."
    • In the 2005 movie, during "I Want To Be A Producer", Leo descends a flight of stairs lit with his name. The lettering and border are identical to the Spaceballs logo.
    • The "Yiddish" which translates as "Who do you have to fuck to get a break in this town?" comes from a speech given by Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator.
    • The Siegfried Oath is named for Conrad Siegfried, the Big Bad of Get Smart, a TV show Brooks co-created with Buck Henry in the 1960s.
    • Bloom reminds Bialystock that actors are not animals, which Bialystock angrily disputes. Zero Mostel was critically acclaimed for his transformation sequence, without benefit of makeup, into a rhinoceros in the play of the same name. In an inversion of this trope, Wilder would join Mostel in an ill-fated comedic movie adaptation of Rhinoceros.
    • During the song "The King of Broadway" a man says "It's good to be the king", a line from History of the World Part I
    • After the end credits of the 2005 movie Mel Brooks says "Get out! It's over!".
  • Show Within a Show: The production of "Springtime for Hitler" that is the eponym of one notable trope here on this very wiki.
  • Snake Talk: "Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss...sss?"
  • So Bad, It's Good: In-Universe, the reason Springtime For Hitler becomes a surprise hit. The musical adds Roger's camp and over-the-top portrayal of Hitler to sell it as satire instead of the straight musical Franz wanted.
  • Stop Helping Me!: invokedMax to Leo at the trial (whose "defense" of Max begins with a list of all of Max's faults) in the both movies; Max then says again to the off-key chorus of old ladies at the trial in the musical remake.
    • Also Max trying to calm Leo down; he responds to being splashed with water and being slapped by adding to his hysteria:
    Leo: I'm hysterical!
    Max: Hold on, I'm coming! I'm coming! Take it easy!
    [Max throws water over him]
    Leo: (several beats) I'M WET! I'M WET! I'M HYSTERICAL AND I'M WET!
    [Max slaps him]
    Leo: (beat) I'm in pain. I'M IN PAIN, I'M WET AND I'M STILL HYSTERICAL!!
  • Suddenly Shouting: Leo, prior to getting his confidence, has a tendency to scream without warning.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Franz: I was never a member of the Nazi Party! I only followed orders! I had nothing to do with the war! I didn't even know there was a war on! We lived at the back, near Switzerland. All we heard was yodelling... yodel le he hoo! Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo, Yodelay, Yodelay, Yodelay''
  • Take That:
    Leo: Actors aren't animals; they're human beings!
    Max: They are, huh? You ever eat with one?
  • Tempting Fate: In the remake, Bialystock tells Bloom, "Nothing is going to come between us." Enter Ulla.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: "I'm in pain, and I'm wet, and I'm still hysterical!"
  • That's All, Folks!: The Stinger, quoted at the bottom of this page.
  • Third-Person Person: Ulla.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Liebkind, as well as Roger's portrayal of Hitler in the musical; it becomes Unintentionally Sympathetic during a slower bit in "Heil Myself".
  • Twinkle Smile: Ulla during "That Face".
  • Villain Song:
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • "Betrayed" is a song that tells of Max's, after he gets the postcard from Leo (who on Ulla's urging took her and the cash to Rio). It has a medley that begins with "I used to be the King, but now I am the fool" as he recalls the plan and sings parts of the songs involved in each step.
    • "Where Did We Go Right?" had Max and Leo have one, realizing their attempt to make the biggest flop out of Springtime for Hitler became an Epic Fail as it becomes a surprise smash satire instead!
  • What Is This Feeling?: It's an erection, Leo.
    • It's either that or Malaria.
    • There's pills for everything these days, so don't worry.
  • What the Hell, Hero?/Even Evil Has Standards: Leo to Max when he is contemplating killing the actors to save the neck:
    Leo: Have you lost your mind? Actors are not animals, they're human beings!
    Max: They are? Have you ever eaten with one?
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Roger DeBris, who is supposed to be in costume as the Grand Duchess Anastasia, to which he claims that he thinks he looks more like "the Chrysler Building."
  • World of Ham: Throughout, though especially prevalent in the post-production scene:
    Max: You! You lousy fruit! You ruined me!
    Carmen: You ungrateful breeder! After he stepped in and saved your little show! I can't—
    [Max grabs his neclaces and chokes him]
    Carmen: MY CHAINS! MY ITALIAN CHAINS! MY CHAINS!
    [Max cackles with laugher]
    Franz: [firing a gun in the air] YOU HAVE BROKEN THE SIEGFRIED OATH! YOU MUST DIE! YOU ALL MUST DIE!
  • Zany Scheme: Once Max gets pointed out by Leo that he made a profit of $2,000 due to Funny Boy closing on opening night, Max gets his idea (per the musical):
    Step 1: We find the worst play ever written.
    Step 2: We hire the worst director in town.
    Step 3: We raise two million dollars.
    Leo: Two?!?
    Max: One for me, one for you. There's a lot of little old ladies out there!
    Step 4: We hire the worst actors in New York and open on Broadway and before you can say
    Step 5: We close on Broadway, take our two million, and go to Rio.


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