Posted by: rbbadger | October 1, 2011

Springtime for Hitler

The actor, writer, and director Mel Brooks is well known for his comedies.  The film which launched his career was The Producers.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot of this film, it concerns a producer who is down on his luck by the name of Max Bialystock.  He has an accountant, played by Gene Wilder in the original film, named Leo Bloom.  Bloom muses that its possible for a producer to make more money with a flop than with a hit by signing up more investors than he actually needs.  Bialystock convinces Bloom to join him in this scheme and they begin reading through all these horrible plays until they find one by a German playwright, Franz Liebkind.  The play is Springtime for Hitler, which Bialystock calls a virtual “love letter to Hitler”.  In order to make sure it will flop, they find the worst director in New York, Roger DeBris and the worst actors in New York.  Their scheme falls through when the show ends up as a hit.

In the 1968 film, the actor playing Hitler is a beatnik.  In the 2005 film, the writer Franz Liebkind is supposed to play Hitler, but he breaks his leg, literally.  At the last minute, the director who is also flamboyantly gay, takes Liebkind’s place as Hitler and the show becomes a hit.  The idea of a fey, effeminate Hitler is hugely entertaining to the audience.  Leo runs off to Brazil and marries their Swedish secretary.  Max is arrested and thrown in jail.  Leo shows up at Max’s court hearing and both of them are imprisoned where they continue making musicals. 

The organist and organ builder Jonathan Ortloff plays the song “Springtime for Hitler” here.  This is a very good demonstration of the range of colours available on theatre organs.  He also uses the various toy stops of the theatre organ to great effect. 

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Responses

  1. That was a fun one! Pretty amazing ending, wow.


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