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Twelve Chairs, The

4.3 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A nobleman, beggar and priest search 1920s Russia for 12 chairs, one stuffed with jewels. Directed by Mel Brooks.

Special Features

None.

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: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G6BLT2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,604 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Twelve Chairs, The" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 12, 2001
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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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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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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By A Customer on March 30, 2004
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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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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