Can you identify these quotations?
"Gentlemen, it is magic time."
"You can't shoot actors, they're people!" "Oh yeah? Have you ever eaten with one?"
"Hitler. . . now there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two coats!"
"I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!" "Max... he 's wearing a dress."
"Go, Bialy, baby, go!!!"
By now any theatre/movie/Mel Brooks nut will have recognized these quotations as coming from The Producers, considered by some -- and not just theatre folk -- to be the funniest movie ever made.
The reason the film is of special interest to theatregoers is it follows the relationship between Max Bialystock, a Broadway producer fallen on hard times, and Leo Bloom, the meek accountant who helps Max hatch a scheme to make money on Broadway once again.
Since mounting plays is expensive (even in 1968 when the movie was made), and since backers have to be paid off if the show's a hit, Bloom discovers that a crafty producer can make more money with a flop than with a hit -- but he must be absolutely sure the show will fail.
Bialystock & Bloom's search for the worst musical ever made leads them to Franz Liebkin's Springtime For Hitler -- subtitled "A Gay Romp With Adolph and Eva at Berchtesgaden" -- whose title tune has been murmured sarcastically at many a Broadway intermission over the years. Irony of ironies, that song, and those other classics from the film -- "Prisoners Of Love" and "Love Power" -- may actually see the light of a legit theatre.
A year ago, producer David Geffen was holding talks with author/director Mel Brooks about bringing The Producers to Broadway. According to the Daily News, those talks are back on again, because both Geffen and Brooks are interested. One source even said that the two are considering titling the new show after the play-within-the-movie, Springtime For Hitler.
A call by Playbill On-Line to Geffen spokesperson Terry Press confirmed that Brooks and Geffen are talking, but no further information was available at this time.
The Brooks film starred Zero Mostel as Max, Gene Wilder as Leo, and Kenneth Mars as Franz.
--By David Lefkowitz