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Twelve Chairs (1970)

Ron Moody , Frank Langella , Mel Brooks  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ron Moody, Frank Langella, Dom DeLuise, Andréas Voutsinas, Diana Coupland
  • Directors: Mel Brooks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G6BLT2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,343 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Twelve Chairs" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Set in 1920's Russia, this much-loved, hilarious Mel Brooks comedy classic is the tale of a former aristocrat (Ron Moody) who is now a Russian clerk under the new Soviet regime. When he learns that his dying mother-in-law sewed a fortune of family jewels into one of the twelve dining room chairs, he sets off across Russia to find it, with an opportunist (Frank Langella), priest (Dom DeLuise) and his former servant (Mel Brooks) all in equal pursuit.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great overlooked comedy December 12, 2001
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I first saw this film when I was a Russian major in college in the 70s. It's based on the 1920s novel "Dvenadtsat' stul'ev" by the Russian-Jewish writing team of Ilya Ilf & Yevgeny Petrov, beloved for their hilarious, biting satires of the Bolshevik regime. (The Amazon reviewer said that 12 Chairs is from a Russian folk tale, but that's not the case.) While many of Ilf & Petrov's jabs at the inanities and bureacratic lunacies of Soviet life would be lost on an a non-Russian audience, Brooks does a marvelous job of turning this material into a parody of human foibles that can be appreciated by anyone regardless of time or place. What a masterstoke it was on the part of Mel Brooks to bring this uproarious classic to the screen!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change of Pace May 3, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
If you think Mel Brooks is only good for broad, obvious humor (Robin Hood- Men in Tights, or History of the World) or sharp parody, (Young Frankenstein) then you owe yourself a look at this movie. Made after The Producers, this is Brooks's first attempt at combining serious and comic elements. The film is NOT a laugh fest, nor is it meant to be. Brooks deals with character over comedy in the two main characters, creating an interesting (and often touching) relationship between the two, leading to a final shot in the film that is emotionally pure and effective. Dom Deluise provides wonderful comic relief as the priest who is also after the chairs, and Brooks himself makes a short cameo as the former servant to Ron Moody. Carl Reiner has said that to him, the funniest man on the planet is Mel Brooks. That's pretty high praise, but after seeing this movie, my bet is you'll come away with a deeper appreciation for Brooks's talent, and you might just wonder why he didn't make a few more films like this one.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh Lord....you're so strict! March 30, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
You have to see this overlooked Mel Brooks comedy for one reason: Dom DeLuise's performance as the priest gone totally crazed with avarice. He is simply hysterical. I think the scene where he has gone to Siberia and finally hounded the chairs from the couple, only to come up empty, and begins his inept suicidal impulses is priceless.

There are other great moments in the film, a cameo by Brooks as the drunken Tikon, and nice performances from Ron Moody & Frank Langella.

The film is a dark comedy, not as light and fun as Blazing Saddles et al, and there is more exposition than usual, which tends to make the film's pace slower.

However, the real problem with the film, which prevents it from being a classic, is that there is a cruel streak in the relationship between Langella & Moody that can be uncomfortable at times.

Nonetheless, there are some great bits in this that make it well worth a look. I would rate it 3-1/2 stars if it were possible, but 4 will have to do. Dom makes it all worthwhile.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Gem March 30, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This obscure Mel Brooks work is my favorite movie of all times. It is the least known of his films, but rates as high as "The Producers" and "To Be Or Not To Be". Like those two other movies, "Twelve Chairs" has a more complex storyline and a slower pace than his better known films.
The beauty of this film is in the details. The names of streets and government offices are an example. The locations are fantastic.
Don't look for the fast pace of "Silent Movie" or the crazy, cheap jokes of "History of The World". In fact, don't think of this as a "Mel Brooks movie" at all. But do make a point to watch it. And keep and eye on the little details!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Mel Brooks Classic October 12, 2001
Format:DVD
I have been a fan of Mel Brooks for a while, all this time considering Young Frankenstein as his all time best...now I have to rethink that! I discovered this movie a couple months ago, and now in my book it rates up there with Young Frankenstein as the best Mel Brooks movie out there. Why doesn't it get the publicity of his other films? It is a classic! The performances in the movie are great, I couldn't stop laughing! I wish that Mel Brooks would also make a movie of The Golden Calf, the sequel to this story.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Surprise in Many Ways! May 14, 2006
Format:DVD
I've been a Mel Brooks fan for many years, and count "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" as two of the funniest movies I've ever seen, but I was unaware of "The Twelve Chairs" until the recent release of Brooks' box-set. My local library happened to have the video, so I picked it up out of curiosity, only to discover a real gem! As a precursor to the all-out wackiness of a few years later, and following the genius of "The Producers" before it, "The Twelve Chairs" is laugh-out-loud funny without the bodily functions humor and broad slapstick that would soon follow. How fun to see a (comparatively) thin Dom DeLuise as Father Fyodor; his scenes are some of the funniest in the movie ("Oh, Lord....you're so STRICT!!"), and Mel Brooks himself makes a really hilarious cameo appearance early on. But the real surprise of the movie, indeed nothing short of a revelation, is Frank Langella. Though he had been making a name for himself as a stage actor for most of the 1960s, this was his very first movie ("Diary of a Mad Housewife" was also released in 1970, but he filmed "The Twelve Chairs" first), and at 30 years old, he is impossibly, achingly, stunningly, devastatingly gorgeous. As he would soon do in "Diary of a Mad Housewife", and nine years later in "Dracula", every moment he is onscreen, you cannot take your eyes from him and he wipes every other character off the map. Back in those days, he exuded complete and utter sensuality in a way that few actors have ever come close to achieving, and in this movie it is in full and luscious flower. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All time classic that really launched the all time entertainer. A must see.
Published 4 days ago by D. R. Tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Little known classic!
Not a well known Mel Brooks movie, but funny as H###. Dom Delouise had me holding my sides. If you are a Mel Brooks fan this is a must!
Doc
Published 2 months ago by D. Pedersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Like finding an old friend.
I saw this movie long before my first gray hair. Love Mel Brooks, and can't believe I was able to find it! Color was excellent and we're so happy that we were able to find it.
Published 2 months ago by Sandra
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny!
Mel Brooks first movie is extremely funny and he gets great performances out of the actors!Lots of laughs!Love it!!! WOW
Published 4 months ago by Lawrence C. Hill, jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Ron Moody is wonderful.
A classic-- it's a must for any film library. Ron Moody is wonderful.
Published 4 months ago by Roni Batzion
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE!
Everyone in the movie seemed perfectly cast. The story moved along well, with more than a few twists. Read more
Published 4 months ago by DONALD FREDERICK CURIE
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best
I first saw this film in 1974 and have never missed an opportunity to see it. Now I have it in my home and can relate back to the perfomances of enduring personalities and the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 Chairs
It was a gift for a friend and she loved it. Mel Brooks movies age well and this one especially.
Published 10 months ago by Elizabeth A. Diaz
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Mel Brooks
This is one of Mel Brooks early films. Good idea for a plot and the slow motion chase to find the chairs is very funny.
Published 12 months ago by jay r. leininger
5.0 out of 5 stars Mel Books at his best
I saw this movie when it first came out and have never gotten some of the funny lines from it out of my mind. It is a gem of a movie with every scene and line worth the cost.
Published 12 months ago by D. Scott
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