The Producers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, Producers offered a terrific transfer.
Virtually no issues with sharpness emerged. Maybe a smidgen of softness interfered with a few wide shots, but that was the extent of it. The vast majority of the flick displayed a tight, accurate image. No issues, with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I also noticed no edge enhancement. Print flaws were absent throughout the movie.
Colors offered a real strength. The film went with a dynamic palette that always looked great. The hues seemed lively and vibrant at all times. Blacks appeared deep and firm, while shadows were clear and concise. This was an impressive transfer.
Although not quite so memorable, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Producers satisfied. As one might expect, the soundfield mainly bolstered the score and songs. The various production numbers pumped from all five channels, though the front speakers dominated with good stereo imaging. Effects stayed with general ambience most of the time. If any prominent use of the side or rear speakers occurred, I didn’t notice, as vague environmental material was the track’s emphasis.
Across the board, audio quality was solid. Speech sounded natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Effects seemed clear and accurate. Since nothing demanding occurred, they didn’t tax the speakers, but they remained more than acceptable. Music was bright and bold. Dynamic range appeared solid and showed good definition. This was a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack.
As we shift to the extras, we open with an audio commentary with director Susan Stroman. She presents a running, screen-specific discussion, albeit an oddly stilted one. I don’t know if Stroman speaks from text or she just talks in a deliberate manner, but the commentary presents a strangely pre-fab tone.
At least Stroman manages to offer some good information – for a while, that is. She talks about the project’s roots and adaptation concerns. She also discusses the cast and their performances, working with the actors and her collaboration with Mel Brooks, references and allusions to other efforts, the music and various technical concerns, sets, locations, cut scenes, and general production trivia.
When Stroman speaks, she provides pretty solid notes. However, more than a little dead air occurs, and that trend intensifies as the movie proceeds. Gaps become longer and longer, though they never quite dominate. Despite that issue, Stroman presents a reasonably nice examination of the film, and her chat proves sporadically illuminating.
Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of 19 minutes and 39 seconds. Most of these offer unused musical numbers or bits cut from existing songs: “King of Broadway” (5:25), “I Wanna Be a Producer” (0:51), “In Old Bavaria” (1:18), “Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop (Reprise)” (0:38), “Along Came Bialy” (With Vignettes) (6:39), and “That Face (Reprise)” (2:04). Given the movie’s already excessive running time, it was probably a good idea to make cuts. However, the omission of “King” surprises me because it’s such a major sequence.
The other two elements offer more comedy. We get “Hide and Seek” (0:58) in which Max plays with “Hold Me, Touch Me”. “Astor Bar” (1:44) shows Max and Leo as they await the anticipated failure of their show. Both are inconsequential, though I believe “Bar” echoes a scene from the original movie.
15 minutes and 14 seconds of Outtakes appear. Inevitably we get some of the standard mess-ups and giggles. However, with hams like Nathan Lane and Will Ferrell on hand, we also find plenty of nutty fun from the set. Since we also find more of the delightful Andrea Martin – who barely cameos in the final film – these “Outtakes” are fun.
A featurette entitled Analysis of a Scene: “I Wanna Be A Producer” runs 16 minutes and six seconds. This look behind the scenes includes comments from Stroman, producer, co-screenwriter, composer and lyricist Mel Brooks, production designer Mark Friedberg, costume designer William Ivey Long, makeup designer Naomi Donne, theatrical lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, producer Jonathan Sanger, and actor Matthew Broderick.
As indicated by the title, “Producer” looks at the elements that comprised the movie’s big production number. We learn about “moving storyboards”, choreography, the sets, rehearsals, costumes and makeup, lighting and camerawork, and the filmmakers’ goals for the sequence. While Stroman covered a little of this information in her commentary, “Analysis” manages to nicely expand on her notes. The addition of the production footage makes things deeper and lets us see all the different aspects of the scene. This becomes a nice little program.
A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Munich, Focus Films, various NBC TV shows, Over the Hedge, and the soundtrack of The Producers. No trailer for Producers pops up on this disc.
Whatever magic The Producers created on the Broadway stage fails to materialize in this forgettable screen version. It simply compares unfavorably with the superior 1968 film and never turns into anything particularly entertaining. The DVD presents very strong picture as well as good audio and a pretty decent set of extras. This adds up to a solid release for an unexceptional film.