"The Producers" Though director Mel Brooks won an Oscar and Writers Guild of America Award for his riotous screenplay and Gene Wilder earned an Oscar nomination for supporting actor, this seminal comedy wasn't a hit when it was released. In fact, Embassy, the company releasing the film, thought it was in bad taste and didn't want it in theaters. Peter Sellers, though, saw it privately and put an ad in Variety to support the film. Embassy caved in and released it sparely. Politically incorrect and laugh-out-loud funny, the film centers on two New York theatrical "producers" -- Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and his timid account, Leo Bloom (Wilder), who attempt to get rich by having investors put money into a Broadway show, "Springtime for Hitler," that is guaranteed to flop. Their investors? Old widows who are romanced by Bialystock. The big problem is that the show becomes an overnight sensation -- but there's no way to repay everyone. More than 30 years later, Brooks turned "The Producers" into the Broadway musical that ended up breaking the record for the most Tony Awards. The play's stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reprised their roles in the disappointing 2005 film version.
Embassy Pictures Corp.
Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times