Like the Maysles brothers Grey Gardens (1976), The Producers: A Documentary is a poignant and excruciatingly honest film portrait of two old friends. Graeme and John, the original odd couple. We follow them around Sydney for a year, sharing their history of failed marriages, lost family fortunes and unique business ventures.
The pair plan to turn things around for themselves by becoming hot shot movie producers. Graeme's itching to get going, but can't seem to get John to the typewriter to start the script. "It's all up here," says John, tapping his head. Practicalities like funding, scheduling and even some idea of what the film will be about completely elude the pair.
Health, housing and financial problems send their plans off course and, in time, the film project is forgotten. New schemes are hatched, this time to make their fortune in a dodgy camel racing venture. Like a nutty Australian version of Ratso Rizzo and Joe Buck, John and Graeme play out a comical Midnight Cowboy scenario as their plans become wilder and more impractical. Loaded with bathos, The Producers incorporates an intimate visual approach with a deep compassion for its subjects.
Within their unique friendship, the two pursue their dreams with a conviction that is constantly surprising and touching. Life has not turned out as they had imagined ... but there's always next weeks lottery draw.