Trivia / The Producers

  • Acclaimed Flop: The original film only played in art cinemas and barely made its money back. That didn't stop it from winning an Academy Award for "Best Original Screenplay."
  • Actor Allusion: Will Ferrell's character breaks one leg, then later breaks the other. Mustafa, who Will played in Austin Powers 2, had the same misfortune.
    • A (sadly deleted) scene, fortunately on the DVD, features Max and Leo singing a duet that turns into a trio when a random stranger joins in. The actor playing said stranger is Ernie Sabella, which means that Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba were briefly reunited for a song.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series
  • Banned in Germany: The No Swastikas rule is so Serious Business there, it doubles as Comically Missing the Point on many levels. It wasn't shown until it was included in a film festival featuring the works of Jewish filmmakers.
  • Creator Backlash: The subject of sort of a meta-example (in addition to the obvious in-universe example). In season 4 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mel casts Larry David as Max on Broadway, knowing he's a terrible actor, in the hopes that The Producers will finally die because he's sick of it (see?). The season finale covers the debut performance with Larry in the role, and he starts to falter but manages to turn it around, ensuring the show's continued longevity.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Lorenzo St. DuBois seems to be a 50 year old hippie, not recent college graduate. (Of course, that could be the point.)
    • Estelle Winwood lied about her age to get cast in the film. She was 85, portraying a 70 year old woman.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The original title was Springtime for Hitler. The studio only accepted to do if it was changed, given lots of theaters would refuse to put Hitler's name on the marquee. Thus Mel Brooks came up with The Producers, if only because they're anything but.
    • The original film was so offbeat and provocative it almost didn't get released - until Peter Sellers saw an early cut at a private gathering and pressured Avco-Embassy to support it, taking out an ad in Variety. (Ironically, Brooks had initially wanted Sellers for a role in the film but he turned it down.)
    • In a looser sense, this is the entire plot of the film—Bialystock and Bloom are meddling with their product, albeit to make it fail rather than succeed.
  • Fake Nationality: Franz Liebkind and Ulla; even though Uma Thurman has distant Swedish ancestry, she makes Ulla sound about as Swedish as, well, Hitler.
  • The Cameo: Mel Brooks provides the voices of the screeching cat Max throws, and dubbed the Stormtrooper who sings "Don't be stupid, be a shmartie, come on join the Nazi Party!"
  • Old Shame/Money, Dear Boy: Estelle Winwood.
    "Oh, that dreadful picture. I can't bear to watch it, even on a small television. I must have needed the money - living in Hollywood weakens one's motives. It reminds me of the saying that nobody ever went broke underestimating the American public's taste."
    • Zero Mostel was thoroughly embarrassed by how fat he was during the filming and lamented how, for all he'd done, he'd be forever remembered as "That fat guy in The Producers."
  • Recursive Adaptation: The 2005 film of the play based on the 1968 film.
    • Brooks himself Lampshaded this during an interview, saying "It hasn't been done in claymation yet!"
  • Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon: An example which does a complete 360: the movie and play was written by Mel Brooks, creator of "Get Smart," which starred Don Adams, who would later voice "Inspector Gadget," which would later be adapted into a movie with Matthew Broderick, who plays Leo in the play and 2005 remake of this movie.
  • Throw It In: Gene Wilder's "Whom Has He Hurt" speech was completely improvised. Kenneth Mars also made up some lines on the spot (“Churchill . . . and his rotten paintings. The Fuhrer. Here was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in von afternoon—two coats!”).
  • Trope Namer: Of Springtime for Hitler, obviously. Unique in that The Producers has two of them if you include the closing "Prisoners Of Love."
  • Troubled Production: The film did manage to avert the time and money problems that plague most movies here - Mel Brooks managed to do everything in 40 days on a $941,000 budget. Otherwise, as this article proved, it was no easy feat.
    • Even before filming begun, Brooks had problems selling his Springtime for Hitler script, as many felt making fun of the Fuhrer was in bad taste - one studio even suggested renaming it "Springtime for Mussolini". Even once he did get producer Sidney Glazier, he asked to change the title as most theaters would refuse to put Hitler's name in the marquee (thus Brooks came up with The Producers, feeling it was an ironic Non-Indicative Title given how the protagonists are anything but producers).
    • Brooks convinced Glazier and the studio that he could direct the film, despite being his feature debut. His inexperience showed right off the bat (Brooks yelled "Cut" instead of "Action" to start shooting), the slow pace of production compared to television annoyed Brooks, and both his sleep and his temper suffered for hit: in addition to only two hours of rest, Prima Donna Director tendencies showed up, with Brooks clashing with the cinematographer, insulting a visiting reporter, and temporarily banishing Glazier from the set.
    • Star Zero Mostel, who was afraid of Type Casting but still accepted the role of Max Bialystock because his wife loved the script, was hard to deal with, and only with Brooks as both were frequently at odds. Mostel had injured his leg in a bus crash some time before production, and added a clause in his contract being forfeited from any work past 5:30PM. Assistant director Michael Hertzberg managed to convince him once to work overtime, by enduring Mostel screaming his lungs off at him for several minutes. And given the leg injury got worse in humid weather, the very last scene at the Lincoln Center's fountain had Mostel throwing a fit and give up on production. Glazer had to leave a dentist appointment and rush to the set where Mostel and Brooks were arguing, and once the producer managed to calm them down, the resulting scene had to be shot all night long. (it shows in the finished film, as the sky is as dark as possible).
    • Once filming ended, a long post-production where Brooks clashed with the editor ensued. Upon release, critics were divided, the film barely got distributed and subsequently only got enough to cover its low budget. Still, the Academy liked it enough to give it an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (to Brooks' surprise), and eventually the film was Vindicated by History.
  • What Could Have Been: Dustin Hoffman was initially cast as Franz Liebkind in the original film until Mike Nichols cast him as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate instead.
    • According to Mel Brooks, he only let Hoffman audition for The Graduate because Brooks' wife, Anne Bancroft, was playing Mrs. Robinson in that film. Also, since Benjamin was a blond jock in the book, Brooks thought he'd never get the role.
    • Peter Sellers was the original choice Mel Brooks had for Leo Bloom.
    • Brooks wanted Kenneth Mars as Roger De Bris, but Mars insisted on playing Liebkind instead.
    • Brooks originally conceived the film as a non-musical play, but realized it required too many set changes. He then played with the idea of it as a book, but it had too much dialogue. Eventually, he realized it could only work as a movie.
    • The original screenplay had Franz Liebkind having Max and Leo swearing on The Siegfried Oath, accompanied by "The Ride of the Valkyries" and promising fealty to Siegfried, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul von Hindenburg, The Graf Spee, The Blue Max, and Adolph "You know who." This explains Franz's outraged cry when entering Max's office, "You have broken the Siegfried Oath - you must die!" The Oath was restored in the musical version.
  • Write Who You Know: Mel Brooks used to work for a similarly unscrupulous producer who would court older women into giving him money for his new show, the title of which was usually "Cash."

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