Review: ‘The Twelve Chairs’

The Twelve Chairs is a nutty farce, frequently slapstick and often tongue-in-cheek. Mel Brooks, who directed, scripted, plays a leading role and authored a song, has turned a search for jewels into a cornpop - circa 1927, Russia, when all men were comrades - and the result is a delightful adventure-comedy.

The Twelve Chairs is a nutty farce, frequently slapstick and often tongue-in-cheek. Mel Brooks, who directed, scripted, plays a leading role and authored a song, has turned a search for jewels into a cornpop – circa 1927, Russia, when all men were comrades – and the result is a delightful adventure-comedy.

Based on the novel by Ilf & Petrov, exteriors were lensed in Yugoslavia, which provides some novel and picturesque backdrops. The steps in Dubrovnik, vistas of the Dalmatian coast and mountains in the interior lend fascinating atmosphere.

Simple story thread is of three men trying to locate 12 dining-room chairs, once owned by a wealthy woman who confesses separately to her son-in-law and village priest on her deathbed that years before she had secreted all her jewels in the upholstery of one of them. Voila, the plot.

The Twelve Chairs

Production

UMC/Crossbow. Director Mel Brooks; Producer Michael Hertzberg; Screenplay Mel Brooks; Camera Djordje Nikolic; Editor Alan Heim; Music John Morris; Art Director Mile Nikolic

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Ron Moody Frank Langella Dom DeLouise Mel Brooks Andreas Voutsinas David Lander

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