Many members have asked us when we’ll be doing a Gene Wilder tribute. We’ve been reluctant because of our full-packed September schedule, but as one wag told us, “He’ll still be dead in October!”
We’ve previously shown Young Frankenstein and his unforgettable debut in Bonnie & Clyde, so it was a toss up between Blazing Saddles and The Producers. In the end we’ve favoured singing Nazis over farting cowboys.
Mel Brooks’ feature film debut is an uproarious comedy about Broadway producers Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and Leo Bloom (Wilder) whose get-rich-quick scheme is to put on a sure-fire flop.
Stephen Marche is spot on in this tribute from Esquire:
“Wilder's performance in The Producers captures everything that was so magical about the man as a performer: the intense vulnerability, the self-puncturing selfishness, the sheer nonsense combined with laser-focused intelligence, the confident stupidity.”