Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Producers

Go To

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Many people who have actually worked in theater, including on This Very Wiki, have pointed out that Roger isn't that bad as a director. If you have extensive theater experience, you know that if the biggest issue with the director is that he's over-the-top, campy, and tacky, you've lucked out — those are issues that can still be worked with. He also appears to treat his crew and cast pretty well, and simply does not give up. It's understandable to think that he'd be wholly unsuited for "Springtime For Hitler," but of all the directors one could end up working with, Roger is far from the worst.
    • Advertisement:
    • Are Max's backers aware that they're being (or are even willing to be) scammed? After all, they've got money to spare, and where else are they going to get this kind of kinky sex?
    • Leo likes that Native American fellow a little too much for it to not be read as something.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In the musical, we get this gag of Max watching his life pass before his eyes and remembering growing up on a country farm... then realizing that that's not his life ("I'm not a hillbilly, I grew up in the Bronx!") and concluding that, in addition to stealing his money and love interest, Leo has stolen his past! Don't think too hard about it or it won't be funny.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Basically the point from beginning to end. It's more like "crosses the line infinity times." Springtime For Hitler is this in universe as well, much to Leo's and Max's dismay. In Mel Brooks' words himself, the film is "rising below vulgarity."
    • It's Roger who really makes it happen. If Franz had gone on as planned, we'd have a serious Hitler singing. But then Roger comes on with a heavy country accent while saying "Hotsy-totsy-Nazi", flapping his arms around flamboyantly, and hitting on the backup dancers. No one can take it seriously, and soon the film audience is laughing away.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ending Fatigue: As Mel himself later agreed, the movie is basically over after the Springtime For Hitler scene. Everything between that and the final scene only serves to set up the inevitable punchline, and even after all that, the film only clocks in at 88 minutes. The musical amends this by having Leo abandon Max as he's taken to jail, thus giving them more personal conflict, and making the climax in the courthouse more satisfying. Ironically, when this was translated back to screen for the movie musical, it was criticized for dragging (see "Padding").
  • Ensemble Dark Horse
    • Kenneth Mars steals every scene he's in as Franz Liebkind (mostly so he can eat it later).
    • Roger Debris’ popularities skyrocketed with his expanded role in the musical, with Gary Beach’s delicious and lovable performance stealing the show for many.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fair for Its Day: Sure, Roger's cross-dressing, flamboyance and implied relationship with Carmen (and it had to be implied, what with The Hays Code only being abolished for two years at this point) are played entirely for laughs, but for the 1960s, it's surprisingly understated, more closely resembling that of a normal modern openly gay couple than a cruel caricature that would be expected of the era. The worst he does is flirt with Leo and even then, it's more a joke at Leo's expense, showing just how sheltered and out of his depth he is. It helps that Mel Brooks himself has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ causes for his entire career.
  • Genius Bonus: Mel Brooks's love of classic literature comes up a few times.
    • Max sarcastically addressing Leo as "Prince Myshkin" is a very sly Stealth Insult.
    • Leo Bloom's name is a tribute to Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of James Joyce's Ulysses. Like his namesake, Leo is an extremely mild-mannered, submissive Nice Guy in a respectable middle-class job, given to occasional flights of fancy. Leopold Bloom is also one of the most famous Jewish characters in the history of literature, adding another layer to Leo Bloom mercilessly mocking Hitler.
    • The playbill for the musical also indicates that Max and Leo meet on Bloomsday. Leo even says "When is it gonna be Leo Bloom's day??"
    • One of the plays Max reads:
    • Franz being both upset and confused that anyone would laugh at his beloved Furrër isn't just personal for him. Nazi German was aware of the inherent absurdity of Hiter's fascist propaganda and forbade German journalists from writing anything humorous or satirical about it under the correct assumption that it would devalue his influence, as was Brooks' point in satirizing it.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In Sweden, the film was titled Det våras för Hitler, literally "Springtime for Hitler" (this was going to be the original English title, but no theater would put Hitler's name on a marquee) Subsequent Brooks films are titled "Springtime for..."; this marketing stunt created a continuity, which made the films popular in Sweden.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "Think of... The TONY!!" This gets Roger to have his "stroke of genius." And in a meta sense, in 2001 it did just that, sweeping all the categories.
    • In the musical, Max tells the old ladies to make out the checks to "Cash," the name of his new play. One of them tells Max that that's a funny name for a play, to which Max replies "So is The Iceman Cometh." Over a decade later, Nathan Lane (Max) would star in a production of this funnily-named play.
  • Ho Yay:
    • If there were any more sexual subtext between Bialystock and Bloom, they might as well be making out on-screen. In the original movie, they do actually kiss, albeit on the cheek.
      • According to Gene Wilder, the very first thing Zero Mostel did when they met was drag him into the room by the arm and kiss him on the mouth. Make of that what you will.
      • In the Jimmy Kimmel Live! parody (An Anachronism Stew sketch lampooning Donald Trump, with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reprising their roles), Max, now a political consultant hearing from Leo that the two can make more money from a losing candidate than a winning one, takes Leo in his arms, Gone with the Wind poster style. Leo even says, "Max, don't..."
      • In the musical version, "'Til Him", the song that Leo and Max sing in the trial scene, is blatantly a love song pretending to be a friendship song, and it ends with Max snuggling into Leo's chest in a way that goes way beyond friendship.
      • In the 2005 movie, Roger and Carmen walk into the apartment to find Leo and Max wrestling on the ground and make a remark along the lines of, "That's one way to celebrate!" (Roger and Carmen are, of course, flamboyantly gay.)
    • The author of Springtime For Hitler seems a little too fond of the Fuhrer.
  • Hype Backlash: Considering that the musical won every single one of the twelve Tony categories it was nominated fornote  and ran for close to a decade, this is to be expected.
  • It Was His Sled: Pretty much everyone knows how this one turns out; hell, we even named a trope after it.
  • Memetic Mutation
    • "That's our Hitler!" to the point where it was used on an episode of House.
    • "Will the dancing Hitlers please wait in the wings? We are only seeing singing Hitlers!"
    • "That's it baby! When you got it, FLAUNT IT! FLAUNT IT!"
    • "I'm in pain! I'm in pain and I'm wet and I'M STILL HYSTERICAL!"
    • "I fell on my keys."
    • "Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi party!" Especially because in both movies and the show (including touring productions), the line is always a recording of Mel Brooks' voice.
    • "You are the audience! I am the author! I outrank you!"
    • The infamous "Blue Blanket" scene, especially the Gene Wilder version.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Even though Roger and Carmen embody just about every stereotype about homosexuals, the characters are beloved by many gay people for their hilarious banter and heartwarming relationship.
  • One-Scene Wonder
    • In the original film, William Hickey as the drunken bar patron, and Estelle Winwood as "Hold Me Touch Me."
    • In the 2005 version, Jon Lovitz as Mr. Marks.
    • The entire company of Springtime for Hitler who keeps the show going even when their audience is leaving, and they quickly stop Franz when he tries to hijack the show in the original film.
  • Padding: As funny and exciting as "Betrayed!" is on stage, it's necessity is diminished in the movie version, especially since it's staged exactly the same way, so it just comes off as Max talking to himself for five minutes.
    Roger Ebert: The only flaw was one of excess; in a scene set in prison toward the end, he has Lane recap virtually the entire movie as a one-man repertory troupe, and if it goes on too long, well of course it does. Moderation is not a quality possessed by anyone associated with a movie that advises us, "If you've got it, baby — flaunt it!"
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • In the original film, "Eva Braun" is played by Renee Taylor, who's Fran Fine's mother in The Nanny.
    • And Goering is Barney Martin, then fresh off his 20 year career with the NYPD and a few decades away from playing Morty Seinfeld.
    • And that's legendary character actor William Hickey, better known to young tropers as the voice of Dr. Finklestein, playing the drunk.
    • In the 2005 film, John Barrowman plays the male lead singer in the opening number of Springtime For Hitler, in the same year as the first Doctor Who episode in which he played Jack Harkness, the role that would win him fame. He is immediately recognizable despite having blond hair in the part.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The entire scene where Max and Leo meet and come up with their plan is left almost entirely intact in every adaption despite it's length due to it having some of the funniest and best known lines.
    • The actual Springtime for Hitler musical number had become an iconic example of the line crossing humor of Mel Brooks, from the ridiculous outfits of the women, to the performers marching in a Swastika.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The film begins with an unnecessarily long sequence where Bloom engages in a lengthy conversation with Bialystock in order to illustrate how slimy Bialystock is followed by an equally lengthy exposition about how the Broadway scam is supposed to work. On the other hand, it has some of the best lines of the movie ("My blanket! MY BLUE BLANKET!").
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked with Springtime For Hitler, which is deliberately meant to be as tacky, offensive and tasteless as possible until it passes through into "So Bad It's Sidesplitting"... which is the exact opposite of what Max and Leo want.
    Max: "How could this have happened? I was so careful: I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast... where did I go right??"
  • Special Effects Failure: A Black Comedy made for a little under a million dollars isn't going to buy you much in the way of visual effects in 1968. As such, the theater "blowing up" is clearly just a photograph with some very cartoonie-looking colored paper cutouts pasted into the windows.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Leo and Max watching, devastated, as the audience howls with laughter at their play, informing them beyond a shadow of a down that their plan failed spectacularly and they've just doomed themselves to a prison sentence. Just before the scene cuts, a single tear rolls down Leo's face as the score plays a short minor-key rendition of "Springtime for Hitler." They may be committing tax fraud, but after seeing everything they went through to accomplish it, you can't help but feel a little sorry to see that it was all for naught.
    • "Til Him."
    • Leo's speech at the end of the original. Almost none of it is comedic, just the innocence and heartfelt friendship that Leo has for Max on full display.
      Leo Bloom: No one ever called me Leo before! I mean, I know it's not a big legal point, but... even in kindergarten they used to call me Bloom. I never sang a song before. I mean with someone else, I never sang a song with someone else before. This man... this man... this is a wonderful man. He made me what I am today... he did.
  • Threesome Subtext: One could very easily make a case for Bloom/Ulla/Bialystock. Bialystock and Bloom have Ho Yay by the bucketloads (hell, the main love story of the show is their friendship), Ulla and Bloom hook up, Ulla's clearly very fond of both of them, even if only as a friend in Max's case, and it's pretty clear Bialystock hired Ulla because he was hoping to get with her before Bloom beat him to it. The only real catch would be Leo — neither Max nor Ulla seem like they'd mind sharing. In fact, they both get a line that lends credence to the shipping.
    Ulla: (to Leo) I know we both love Max...
    Max: (to Leo after seeing him kissing Ulla) Here I thought we were partners, sharing everything fifty/fifty.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: The "song" LSD "performs" during his Hitler-audition.
  • Vindicated by History: The film was a flop upon release, with both critics and audiences being caught off guard by Mel Brooks' particular brand of sledgehammer satire. Then it won the Best Screenplay Oscar, and has since become revered as a must-see comedy classic.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The Busby Berkeley-style swastika dance, especially in the stage version, where mirrors upstage are tilted towards the audience so they can see it clearly (at the Broadway 2001 Tryouts version, it received a round of applause).
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Younger viewers likely don't get that Carmen Giya's name is a pun on a sports car called the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.
  • The Woobie: Leo Bloom is a meek accountant who is nearly driven to a nervous breakdown each time his new partner tries to rope him into his scheme. While Gene Wilder makes him sympathetic, it's only until the Broadway play when it is explicitly stated that he has low self-esteem and feels that he never amounted to anything, and only makes it more heartwarming when he loosens up later on. "I Want To Be A Producer" ends with a truly awesome and heartwarming note!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: