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The Producers

Another one of Ebert's Great Movies. This is the movie with which Mel Brooks introduced himself to the world as a great writer and director of grand, sordid comedies. It also gave us one of Zero Mostel's defining performances and the big debut of Gene Wilder. And what is more, the film immortalized a number of supporting cast members: Kenneth Mars, Dick Shawn, etc. And here's how it all starts out.

The very first thing we see is two people silhouetted on translucent glass door. They giggle as they kiss. There's an air of mischief.

What has gone on behind the door is mischievous enough that the man, Max Bialystock, must look out into the hall to make sure the coast is clear.

Out comes the woman he was kissing. And whuddaya know, it's a little old lady! Well well....

Pan right. And they say their goodbyes. The lady calls Max a "dirty young man." Max reminds her that she must give him a check to help him produce his next play. "Can't make plays without checkies."

Max waves the lady goodbye as she departs.

Once she's gone, he looks at his watch. In less than a minute, he has another date. He's a busy man.

Mel Brooks breaks taboo by sexualizing old ladies, and he does it with such fiendish glee. In the ensuing film, he gives the same treatment to Nazis, homosexuals, and lush foreign blondes.