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The Producers (1968): Deluxe Edition

The catchphrases "creative accounting" and "when you got it, flaunt it" began in the original 1968 The Producers, the Aristotelian story of Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel, bigger than life with a comb-over to match), a once-was theatrical producer on the skids. A chance remark by mild-mannered accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder, in his first major screen role) gives Bialystock a bald-faced criminal scheme — secure a million bucks by seducing wealthy old ladies, produce a play so awful it's guaranteed to close by page four, and then head to Rio before the investors come to collect their 25,000 percent of the profits sold. It's a foolproof plan until the outrageous Busby Berkeley-styled musical "Springtime for Hitler" — with its goose-stepping Rockettes forming a choreographed swastika to a Broadway score orchestrated with gunfire and dropping bombs — proves to be the biggest hit on the Great White Way. This one's a gold standard for in-your-face comedies that pile on more "tasteless" scenes than you could shake a shtick at.

MGM's two-disc 2005 Deluxe Edition of The Producers shows off a splendid anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) that's stunningly clean, with rich color and crisp detail. (A full-screen version is also here.)
—Mark Bourne

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