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I'm not sure if this was brought up already, but I am curious about The Producers and other Mel Brooks films that include music, such as Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Where does this fit into the musical spectrum? The Producers is really a film spoof about the making of a musical that is partially shown and embedded in the film. Is this considered a musical itself or a sub-genre? And what other films have gone from screen to stage, like the Producers has?

Thank you to the professors and everyone. I have had a wonderful time taking this course! 

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Well, now your treading on hallowed ground in my book. "The Producers" was, is and will always be my personal Holy Grail of comedic film. To classify it as anything but a comedy would, I believe, be an insult to the comic genius of Mel Brooks. I never, ever tire of watching it. (Of course, I've got the DVD.) But will watch it anytime it's on UNINTERRUPTED & UNEDITED t.v.

 

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1 hour ago, Zea said:

"The Producers" was, is and will always be my personal Holy Grail of comedic film. To classify it as anything but a comedy would, I believe, be an insult to the comic genius of Mel Brooks.

Personally, I don't think that music plays a prominent enough role for The Producers to qualify as a musical. However, I don't see how labeling the film a musical constitutes an insult. Movies can fit into more than one genre. 

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Funny you should bring up this film. Last night, on the Decades cable channel, they showed an episode of the Dick Cavett show from 1972 with Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Capra, Robert Altman, and Mel Brooks. This was 5 years after the release of The Producers, in 1967. They showed a clip of it, and Cavett acted sort of embarrassed about showing a comedy about Nazis. Brooks was hilarious. And his masterpiece, Young Frankenstein, was yet to come.

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I don’t know that I’d call The Producers a musical, but I’d be willing to bet Mel Brooks wouldn’t be offended if you choose to do so. I wonder what your feelings are on The History of the World, Part I, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, and so forth. There are a couple Brooks films I haven’t seen, but I’ve seen most of them, and I’m pretty sure they all included some sort of musical number(s). He began by working as a musician, pianist and drummer I believe, and he’s a nice singer, so it seems appropriate for him to include a tune or two. Brooks celebrated his 92nd birthday just two days ago. He’s a genius. 

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20 hours ago, Chuck V. said:

Personally, I don't think that music plays a prominent enough role for The Producers to qualify as a musical. However, I don't see how labeling the film a musical constitutes an insult. Movies can fit into more than one genre. 

It was a figure of speech and frankly I really don't know if Mr. Brooks would be insulted or not. Most likely not in reality. Just seems to me that when a creator creates something in a specific genre, and may include some one thing or another that is tangentially a totally different genre (for the sake of the story line), it behooves the audience to appreciate the creators original intent.

If I wrote a fictional novel, for instance, but in order to flesh out some characters I included some factual, non-fictional references or incidents, that doesn't make the novel a work of non-fiction.

Maybe I'm being too a*al about this, but I just don't see a movie being classified as a musical if it includes a song or a dance that enhances the story line for whatever reason the screenwriter/author/director intended. 

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2 hours ago, Zea said:

Maybe I'm being too a*al about this, but I just don't see a movie being classified as a musical if it includes a song or a dance that enhances the story line for whatever reason the screenwriter/author/director intended.

On the other hand, Lili is often classified as a musical, but yet only features one song and two short dance numbers. Genre classification is not as of yet an exact science.

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One of my treasured albums, yes a licorice pizza, is the High Anxiety - Original Soundtrack / Mel Brooks' Greatest Hits Featuring The Fabulous Film Scores Of John Morris.  Side one (or A side) is dedicated to High Anxiety, featuring Mel's devilish parody of Frank Sinatra, and other songs and music cues.  The second side has songs and cues from The Producers, (the Zero and Gene version, not Nathan and Matthew) The Twelve Chairs (Hope for the Best Expect the Worst..."You could be Tolstoy or Fannie Hurst"), Blazing Saddles (memorable for the cracking whip launching the Rawhide-esque title song sung by Frankie Laine), Young Frankenstein (with the charming and chilling: "Puttin' on the Riiiiitz") and Silent Movie (the Silent Movie March is such a happy, lighthearted tune).

I wouldn't exactly classify them as musical because I suppose the films can stand alone without the musical numbers but in going back to Thursday's lecture notes:

One can be a purist about trying to define a musical. Is it an integrated story where the songs progress the action or story only because they exist within the narrative?
Is a musical any film that includes music as part of the story world?
Is a musical a film that uses music to help tell the story?

I guess I'll take the easy way out and say, all of the above! LOL...

Image result for high anxiety soundtrack

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Brooks remake of his play & film The Producers has to be classified as a musical or at least as a musical/comedy. How can anyone ignore all the musical numbers in this film? This version is far better than the original film and it’s primarily due to the outstanding music, the songs and great choreography in the big dance numbers. Original film seems almost subdued compared to the remake. I applaud Brooks for realizing he needed to redo the ‘play’ for Broadway and for the subsequent film he made. Has to be among the funniest musicals of all time!

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10 hours ago, Lanin said:

Isn't The Producers a groundbreaking film? The first movie musical based on a stage musical based on a movie?

I think there have been some others that followed that route.  These are a few I can think of:
Ninotchka --> Silk Stockings (Broadway) --> Silk Stockings (movie)
Nights of Cabiria --> Sweet Charity (Broadway) --> Sweet Charity (movie)
Smiles of a Summer Night --> A Little Night Music (Broadway) --> A Little Night Music (movie)
Little Shop of Horrors (1960) --> Little Shop of Horrors (Off-Broadway) --> Little Shop of Horrors (movie)
Hairspray (John Waters) --> Hairspray (Broadway) --> Hairspray (movie)

One could argue that The King and I was based on the screenplay for Anna and the King, and My Fair Lady was based on Shaw's screenplay for Pygmalion.  Look at My Fair Lady, then Look at Pygmalion and you will see that the script for Pygmalion is pretty much the same as My Fair Lady without the songs.  But these two don't credit the movie as the basis of the Broadway show.
 

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