Springtime for Hitler
Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp With Eva and Adolf at Berchtesgaden is a fictional musical in Mel Brooks's 1968 film The Producers, as well as the stage musical adaptation of the movie, and the 2005 movie adaptation of the musical. It is a musical about Adolf Hitler, written by Franz Liebkind, an unbalanced ex-Nazi played by Kenneth Mars (then by Brad Oscar and Will Ferrell in the stage musical and the 2005 film respectively).
In the film, the play is chosen by the producer Max Bialystock and his accountant Leo Bloom in their fraudulent scheme to raise substantial funding by selling 25,000% of a play, then causing it to fail, and finally keeping all of the remaining money for themselves. To ensure that the play is a total failure, Max selects an incredibly tasteless script (which he describes as "practically a love letter to Adolf Hitler"), hires the worst director he can find (Roger DeBris, a stereotypical homosexual and transvestite caricature), and casts an out-of-control hippie named Lorenzo St. Dubois, also known by his initials "L.S.D.", in the role of Hitler (after he had wandered into the wrong theatre by mistake during the casting call -- "That's our Hitler!").
The play starts with the musical number, "Springtime for Hitler." Accompanied by dancing stormtroopers, who at one point form a Busby Berkeley-style swastika, the play immediately horrifies everyone in the audience except the author, and one lone viewer who breaks into applause—only to be pummeled by other disgusted theatergoers. As the audience begins to storm out of the theater, the first scene starts, with L.S.D. dressed up in full Nazi uniform and talking like a beatnik. The remaining audience starts to laugh, thinking that it is a satire, and those that had left return to the theater.
Franz, disgusted, goes behind the stage, unties the cable holding up the curtain and rushes out on stage, confronting the audience and ranting about the treatment of his beloved play. During his diatribe, there is a clank as someone strikes through the curtain, apparently with a pipe or hammer, hitting the steel Wehrmacht helmet that he's wearing. A moment later, in mid-rant, he exclaims "OW!" and falls over. The play continues, and the audience assumes that his performance was part of the act.
The play gets rave reviews, ensuring its success (and the conviction of the producers when the fraudulent financing is discovered).
Differences compared to later versions
In the musical stage version of The Producers and the 2005 musical film based on it, the part of LSD is not included and Hitler is played by the flamboyant director DeBris, who sings a solo, "Heil Myself", reminiscent of Judy Garland. Author Liebkind is originally chosen by Max to play Hitler, but due to an unfortunate accident, he breaks his leg (ironic since the term 'break a leg' is used to mean 'good luck' in the theater world) and Max then asks DeBris to play Hitler. The swastika choreography at the end is displayed to the audience via a large mirror that is raised, à la A Chorus Line.
In the musical version, Franz does not interrupt the play, but waits until after the performance to confront the producers, and then attempts to kill them under the accusation of making a fool out of Hitler, who "didn't need their help." He breaks his other leg while trying to run away from the police.
- Wise, Damon (15 August 2008). "The making of The Producers". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Friedman, Roger (20 April 2001). "Springtime for Hitler and Boom Time for Broadway as Mel Brooks Musical Opens". Fox News. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Kashner, Sam (January 2004). "The Making of The Producers". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Crossland, David (9 April 2009). "'The Producers' Debuts in Germany: It's Springtime for Hitler in Berlin". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Hamburg: Der Spiegel. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
Heil to me I'm the Kraut who's out to change our history