|“||How much..... How much do we put in? Bloom, the two cardinal rules of being a Producer are 1. Never put your own money in the show.||„|
|~ Max Bialystock|
|~ Leo Bloom|
|“||NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW!!!!!!! Ya got that?||„|
|~ Max Bialystock during a conversation with Leo.|
|“||Oh lord, dear lord..... I WANT THAT MONEY!!!!!!||„|
|~ Max Bialystock after Leo leaves him.|
He was portrayed by Zero Mostel in the 1968 film and by Nathan Lane in the 2001 Broadway production and the 2005 film.
As described by the citizens who watched his play, he is a slimy, sleezy man. As descibed by Leo as being slimy, manipulative, underhanded, cunning and conniving, he is also moderately selfish and utterly greedy. He'll do anything for money, including flirting with old ladies and even to the point of having intercourse with them.
In the film
He is first seen when an accountant named Leopold Bloom arrives in his apartment to see him. Bloom dosen't see him anywhere and wanders around the room, to which Max jumps up from the couch and angrily asks Leo who he is and why he's sneaking around. Leo dosen't answer because of fright. Max apologises and asks calmly who the man is. Leo says he is an accountant that has come to check on Max's books. Before he can check however, there is a knock at his door. Max asks who it is, and an elderely voice replies "Hold me, touch me". Max quickly tells Leo to go to the bathroom, but Leo tells him he doesn't have to go, but instead Max tells him to think of Niagra Falls. Max goes to get a picture of Hold me, Touch me, getting his neck struck by a long hanging rope in the rush. He quickly finds a picture of her and puts it up on his shelf and then slicks his hair down with oil. Leo comes out of the bathroom saying that thinking of Niagra falls helped, but Max just pushes him back in and locks the bathroom door. He opens the apartment door to reveal an old lady standing there. Max welcomes her in and asks her for the "checkie" he needs to produce his next play. Hold me Touch me takes it out of her hand bag but before she gives it to him, she asks if they could play a quick "dirty, little game". Max accepts and as they "play", on the couch, Leo comes out of the bathroom to see them and exclaims "Oh my god!" and swiftly runs back in the bathroom. Max stops the "game" and asks for the "checkie" and she gives it to him. After she leaves the apartment, Max lets Leo back out of the bathroom. Max asks to take his coat and then strikes Leo down asking why he's looking up old ladies dresses, thinking Leo was a pervert. Leo says that he wasn't, but Max tells him "Shut up! I'm habing a rhetorical conversation!" He asks him who he used to be, and Leo replies saying that he was Max Bialystock the king of Broadway. He then tells Max that since he was little he had a secret desire to be a Broadway producer. Max tells him to keep it a secret. Leo goes to get his books and Max steps out onto the balcony, seeing a woman dressed in somewhat revealing clothes to which he shouts out to her "That's right, baby! When ya got it, Flaunt it! Flaunt it!" He goes back inside and Leo asks him if he could talk with him for a minute. Max times him and as Leo is trying to talk Max is counting down how many seconds he has left, making Leo confused. Leo takes out a blue blanket and Max swipes it from him to see what it is. Leo, however, gets up and starts going all ballistik and crazy, demanding Max to give him back his blue blanket. Max gives it back scared. Leo apologises and lies down on the floor.
Max stands over him and once again Leo goes crazy thinking that Max is going to jump on him. Max yells and jumps up and down, screaming that he's not gonna jump on him, but Leo tries to get away from him and Max corners him against a closet. Leo screams again telling him that he's hysterical and Max throws water on him to calm him down, but Leo instead goes even more crazy from being wet and hysterical. Finally Max slaps him, but Leo just does it again. Max tells him to stop because Leo's getting him hysterical as well. Leo tells him to move away from him, but Leo says he still looks angry, so Max puts on a great big smile to cheer him up. It works thankfully, and Leo goes back to checking his books. Leo says that he raised a lot of money in his last play Funny Boy, but Max dosen't care, as the show was a flop. Max weepingly asks Leo to help him raise more money and Leo reluctantly agrees. Max goes to take a nap while Leo figures it out. After reading and counting, Leo says that a producer could make more money with a flop than he could with a hit. Max swiftly jumps at this idea. After explaining it, Max says that in order for their scheme to work they need to put on a sure fire flop. Leo says that he never had a scheme and it was just a theorie, but Max doubts it and tells Leo the steps they need to follow in order to pull it off. Step:1 They find the worst play ever written. Step 2: They find the worst Directors in town. Step 3: They raise 2 million dollars, one for him and one for Leo. Step 4: They open the Broadway show and Step 5: They close the show, take the 2 million and go to Rio.
Leo says that it'll never work, but once again Max doubts it. In a musical number he says that they can do it and all the wonders that'll come with the sucess including having ladies all around them. Leo refuses and runs out of the apartment with Max persuing him. They run out onto the street and max tries once again convincing Leo to do it, but once again Leo refuses, stating that he could never do it as he was a coward, a chicken and a loser. Leo then gets into a cab and tells the driver to take him to central park, but Max gets into the car with him and continues to convince him. Once they get to central park, Leo closes the door on Max and runs down the park steps, but Max continues the chase. Once he catches him in front of a fountain, he tells Leo that he is exactly like the fountain. Max tells him that there's a lot more than there is to him and then silently mouthes "What the fu--" Leo refuses for the last time and walks away from Max as he tries to call out to him. But sadly, Max just slouches down onto the ground and begins praying to the lord, saying "I WANT THAT MONEY!!!!!"
Later on that night, Leo returns to Max after quitting his accounting job and Max says to God, "Boy, you are good". Leo asks him who he is talking to and Max replies that it was just an old friend. Leo says that he wants to be a famous and successful producer and then him and Max dance around in and out of the fountain happily.
The next morning, Max and Leo are reading a bunch of sent in play scripts that they had started reading the last night. Le tells him that he can't read anymore but Max persuades him to continue. Leo gives up thinking that they'll never find a bad play, but Max begins laughing his head off. He holds a script up to Leo's face and tells him to smell it, touch it, and kiss it. He says that this play is much more than a flop, but a gigantic disaster, certain to offend people of all races, cultures and religions. He hands it to Leo and he reads it. Max laughs and says that the play is practically a love letter to Hitler. The two find out that the play was written by a man named Franz Liebkind and they go there.
Once there, they see the Neo-Nazi feeding his birds. Max calls out to him but Franz just slams his back against the burd cage and exclaims that he had no part in WWII. Max tells him not to worry as they're not from the government and that they're producers who want to put Franz's play on Broadway. Franz jumps at this chance and Max asks him to sign a contract but Franz refuses and says that before he signs they have to dance with him to Hitler's favourite tune Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop. They do so, and then Franz adds that they must take the seigfried oath before he signs, which is eternal allegiance to Hitler. Leo is not so sure but Max pushes him into it. They reluctantly take the oath and once done, Franz signs the contract. As Max and Leo are about to leave the building, Franz stops them and says that the penalty for breaking the seigfried oath is death. Upon hearing this, Max gets a little nervous but tries not to show it. The both leave the building.
Max and Leo arrive at the house of renowned theatrical director, Roger DeBris, to see what he thought about the play, Springtime for Hitler. After meeting his creepy assistant/partner, Carmen Ghia, the two finally meet Roger, who is shown to be wearing a dress. Max and Leo both find Roger and Carmen utterly weird and creepy, but still, they ask Roger if he got time to read the play. Roger says that he loved the play, but it was too dark and gritty. He and Carmen say in a song that a show should be more happy and "Gay". After being introduced to Roger's crew, Max tells Leo to say something nice to Roger that'll convince him to direct. After this fails, Max manages to get Roger involved after telling him that he is certain to win a Tony for directing. This manages to work, but Roger tells Max that the second act of the play has to be rewritten. Once Roger signs the contract, everyone begins dancing to the conga to celebrate the new alignment.
Max and Leo later return to their office, only to find a Swedish woman at their door. She asks them if they've begin casting and Max, attracted by her looks, immediately says that they have started casting and asks her for her name. She has such a long name that Max decides to call her Ulla. Ulla shows the two her singing and Max immediately lets her into the show. Leo says that they don't know if there's even a part for her but Max instead insists that, until the actual casting does start, she can work for them as a secretary/receptionist. Ulla gets excited at her new job and happily leaves the apartment.
Max then shows Leo an empty safe. He says that their current job (Step 3) is now to fill the safe with 2 million dollars. Leo asks how they're meant to do that and Max says that he'll get the money from his investors, a bunch of elderly woman. Max tells Leo to get out of the apartment while he gets himself ready. In a musical number, Max manages to get, what looks like, more than 100 old ladies to get him the money. Max successfully does so and shows Leo the two million. Now that they had the money they could begin casting and put on their flop.
Max and Leo return to their apartment to find that Ulla has redecorated it to be entirely white. Max finds out that Ulla knows how he got the money, by "stooping" every old lady in New York. Max then leaves the room saying that he still has the dencher bites to prove it.
At the auditions for Hitler, Max, Leo, Ulla, Franz, Roger and Carmen have all arrived to watch. After a number of failed auditioners, a man named Jason Greene acts as Hitler mockingly. Franz gets angry at him and shows the producers the right way to do it. With Franz having done an amazing job, Max stands up and yells "That's our Hitler!".
Opening night finally arrives and as everybody is getting ready, Max finds Leo wearing a producers hat and tells him that he can't wear the hat until he has actually produced a show. Ulla arrives and greets the two. Leo and Ulla then passionately kiss and Ulla goes off to get herself ready. Max gets upset with Leo, thinking that Ulla and him are too busy "askewing" eachother instead of helping him produce. Right at that moment, Franz comes driving in on a motorbike and Roger and Carmen arrive from around a corner. They all greet Max and Leo and after Leo wishes them all good luck, they are equally shocked, except for Max. Roger, Franz and Carmen all explain to Leo in a song that it is in fact bad luck to say to good luck on opening night. While they are singing, Max finds different ways to give people bad luck, including making them walk under a ladder, breaking a mirror, and finally tossing a black cat into their path. Franz goes off to get himself ready and Max and the rest tell him to break a leg. Franz, however, literally falls over and breaks his leg. Max then immediately recasts Roger as Hitler. Roger then goes off to get himself ready. Max and Leo both hear the overture happening and rush off to watch.
The Nazism of the play begins driving people away and Max tells Leo that they should quickly leave before the audience kills them. However, Roger's acting as Hitler, makes the audience think that the play is instead insulting the Nazi's and becomes a hit!
Max and Leo return to the apartment depressed after discovering that the play has become a hit. Max becomes furious and begins wondering where they went right. Leo takes the accounting books and leaves to turn himself in to the police but Max stops him, saying that he's acting out of panic and then angrily yells "Gimme those friggin' books!" Max and Leo then get into a big brawl with eachother and fight over the books. Roger and Carmen arrive to congratulate Max and Leo, but Max stands up and blames Roger for ruining the play. Carmen stands up against Max but Max just grabs his "chains" and pulls him up off the floor. Right at that moment Franz bursts in weilding a pistol and prepares to kill them all for breaking the seigfried oath. Max, Leo, Roger and Carmen run off to hide from the Neo-Nazi. Max and Leo hide under a desk and Roger and Carmen hide in the closet. Franz finds Max and Leo under the desk and prepares to kill them. Max and Leo begin begging for mercy and Franz, disgusted at the complete cowardice, spares them their lives, but instead tries to kill himself but ultimately fails. Max then gets an idea on how to close the show and tells Franz to kill the actors instead, as they were the ones who were making fun of Hitler. Franz angrily agrees, but Leo stops him from doing it. The police arrive at the apartment and arrest Franz and Max after finding the accounting books.
As Max sulkingly awaits his fate in a prison cell, a cop comes by and gives him a letter from Brazil. Max reads it and discovers that it was Leo who sent him the letter. Angrily, Max accepts that he has been betrayed by his only partner. He starts going crazy in his cell and falls over onto the floor, and experiences his life flashing before his eyes. He sees himself at a little old farmhouse and him running along the fields with his collie, Rex. He then hears his mama calling out his name. However, Max hears his mama calling him Alvin. Max then realises that it is someone elses life flashing before his eyes! He then works on the assumption that Leo has taken everything from him, including his past! He then begins wondering how he wound up in jail and recaps the entire film from the start to where he is now. He then loses all hope and finally fully accepts that he has been BETRAYED!
In court, Max is dubbed guilty and is charged with tax fraud. As he is about to go to jail, Leo comes in and speaks on Max's behalf. Leo is kind enough to say that Max is his friend, much to Max's surprise. The judge, heartwarmed by this, says that he won't break up their friendship, but they still get five years together in prison.
Max and Leo then write a play called Prisoners of Love in which Max is judging the prisoners singing and Leo is accounting for some cops. A police officer comes in and tells Max, Leo and Franz that for writing such a great play, they are pardoned and Max and Leo go off to Prisoners of Love on Broadway!
With that becoming a hit, Max and Leo successfully become broadway producers and manage to put on more than 7 shows. They both then sing together happily, now that they have become successful producers!
There is a post-credits scene where Max and Leo and the rest of the cast are telling the viewers to get out now that the film has finished.