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If ‘Spring­time For Hitler’ were the only funny bit in The Pro­duc­ers, it would still be enough to make it one of the fun­ni­est films of all time. That it’s only one of sev­eral ab­so­lutely gut-bust­ing se­quences and one-lin­ers means that this glo­ri­ous, dar­ing farce has stood astride pretty much the en­tirety of com­edy for half a cen­tury. Some might pre­fer Blaz­ing Sad­dles as far as Mel Brooks’ oeu­vre goes, but The Pro­duc­ers not only has a bet­ter as­sort­ment of end­lessly hi­lar­i­ous char­ac­ters — from Ken­neth Mars’ de­mented play­wright Franz Liebkind to Dick Shawn’s whacked-out hip­pie Hitler Lorenzo St Dubois (“LSD”) — but a stronger heart run­ning through it, too. When he’s not be­ing fan­tas­ti­cally neu­rotic, Gene Wilder is at his most en­dear­ing, and Zero Mos­tel’s tow­er­ing per­for­mance makes the ego­tis­ti­cal mon­ster of Max Bi­a­ly­stock just vul­ner­a­ble enough that the pair’s un­likely friend­ship binds the film to­gether. SEB PA­TRICK

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