The Twelve Chairs (1970)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Reissue)
Genres: Comedy, Crime Comedy, Farce
A treasure hunt. An aging ex-nobleman of the Czarist regime has finally adjusted to life under the commisars in Russia. Both he and the local priest find that the family jewels were hidden in a chair, one of a set of twelve. They return separately to Moscow to find the hidden fortune. --IMDb
Mel Brooks Mel Brooks
Ron Moody Ron Moody
Frank Langella Frank Langella
Dom DeLuise Dom DeLuise
Andréas Voutsinas Andréas Voutsinas
Diana Coupland Diana Coupland

6.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Lucid Dreams
Added: May 29, 2011
I have always been a fan of Mel Brooks. It would be hard for anyone to not have seen one of his movies over a decade ago. The younger generation may not know much of his work, but if you are over twenty-five I'm sure you have. He has made quite a few classics; Space Balls, The Producers (original) and Blazing Saddles just to name a few. Now, I could have done anyone of his many movies as they all deserve such praise, but The Twelve Chairs caught my attention because Mel Brooks rarely does this type of style. I'll explain this more as I write, but I want to first start with what the movie is about.

It all begins in the Soviet Union around 1927 where snobby aristocrat, Ippolit (Ron Moody), is told that his mother in law is on her deathbed and that he should come to say his goodbyes. Well, before his she kicks the bucket she tells the village priest, Father Fyodor (Dom DeLuis), a neat story where a family fortune in jewels is hidden in one of the twelve chairs back where they used to live before the Russian Revolution. Father Fyodor decides that being a priest wasn't that much fun anymore and would rather go find this treasure for himself. Ippolit is told later about this and needs to beat the priest before he gets the jewels. Along the way Ippolit runs into the dashing con-artist, Ostap Bender (Frank Langella), who wants to help Ippolit find his treasure, for a price.

Brooks directed and wrote the screenplay back in 1970, but the idea came from a novel that was written back in the 1920's called Dvenadtsat stulyev written by the Russian novelists Llya Llf and Yevgeni Petrov. Brooks is known for doing farces and parodies in his films, but this is no parody, this is certainly not a parody, this is very ordinary to his standards. The treasure-hunting theme has been done numerous times but it was the excellent cast of characters that sets this film apart. Moody and Langella did a fine job as the treasure hunting duo that annoyed one another. However, DeLuis stole each scene he was in with his slapstick humor. You will also see Brooks (shocker) making a small but memorable cameo.

The only problem was the pacing in the film. There were times where the movie was dragging, making it dull in certain moments. Instead of stretching certain scenes I'm sure a few could have been cut out with no problems to the complete movie. The quality in sound could be something that will annoy some viewers, but I looked passed that.

Overall: I'm glad I spent my time viewing this. There were a few movies I had never heard of and this was one of them. If you are a fan of Mel Brooks, this is a must-have for your collection. This was a fun movie and I feel you will see a different side of his work with a lot of heart that many would appreciate. 8/10.
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