Kehr Capsule of the Week: The Producers (1968)

A home movie by Mel Brooks—not only the first picture he directed, but evidently the first he’d ever seen. Everything that can go wrong in an amateur film does go wrong, from the timing to the structure to the pitch of the performances (Zero Mostel assumes the scale of Mount Rushmore), yet there are a few solid laughs in Brooks’s bombs-away satire of backstage Broadway. Mostel is a sharpie who sells 25,000 percent of a play he’s sure will be a flop; Gene Wilder is his nebbish partner, still sweetly effective at this early stage in his career. 88 min.

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