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The Twelve Chairs (1970)

GP | | Comedy | 28 October 1970 (USA)
In 1920s Soviet Russia, a fallen aristocrat, a priest and a con artist search for a treasure of jewels hidden inside one of twelve dining chairs, lost during the revolution.

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(novel) (as Ilf), (novel) (as Petrov) | 3 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Nikolai Sestrin (as Andreas Voutsinas)
Diana Coupland ...
David Lander ...
Vlada Petric ...
Sevitsky
Elaine Garreau ...
Robert Bernal ...
Curator
Will Stampe ...
Night Watchman
Bridget Brice ...
Young Woman
...
Actor in Play
Rada Djuricin ...
Actress in Play
Branka Veselinovic ...
Natasha
Mladen 'Mladja' Veselinovic ...
Peasant (as Mladja Veselinovic)
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Storyline

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. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The man who made 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Young Frankenstein' brings you his funniest comedy ever... See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 12 Chairs  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The melody of the theme song "Hope for the best, expect the worst" is based on the 4th Hungarian Dance by Johannes Brahms. See more »

Goofs

On the car of the Columbus Theater for the announced Play "Hamlet and the October Revolution" next to Shakespeare the name Ivan Poppov is mentioned, obviously a reference to Ivan Ivanovich Popov, a Russian revolutionizer, journalist and freedom fighter. However he is written with one P, not two. See more »

Quotes

Father Fyodor: Oh, God! You're so strict!
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Crazy Credits

In the opening credits the title of the movie is showed in Russian first (even with a typographic error 'Dvenadzat' stchlyev'), then it changes into the english title. The same happened at the end of the credits with the words "The end" (Konez), first cames the Russian word, than the english translation. See more »

Connections

Version of Mein Opa und die 13 Stühle (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

L'Internationale
(uncredited)
(the soviet national anthem)
Written by Eugène Pottier & Pierre Degeyter
played at the bureau of housing and at the opening of the railroad worker house by an orchester
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User Reviews

 
A slapstick farce with a human side
29 July 1998 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Fans of Mel Brooks' 'The Producers' will find particular delight in 'The Twelve Chairs'; the two are of a distinctly different style than the more biting parodies that make up his later works.

'The Twelve Chairs' is not a new story, even by 1970 standards. The chase for treasure is an often-used hook to hang a madcap plot. Slapstick and physical humor are employed liberally, most effectively by Dom Deloise as Father Fyodor, the Russian priest who has turned on the church to join in the run for the jewels. His adventures as he is sidetracked to Siberia by the self-described 'handsome young desperado' Ostap Bender (Frank Langella) are funny and completely in character.

What makes 'The Twelve Chairs' different is its human side. The former Russian nobleman I.M. Vorobyaninov is portrayed by Ron Moody perfectly: now reduced to a file clerk, he still lives in his pre-Revolutionary past, flatly refusing to beg when he and Bender are down to their last few rubles and still in pursuit of the chairs. The audience roots for the flashy, smart Bender but also for the pitiable Vorobyaninov as his character grows through the experience.

Characters we meet along the way define other human conditions (the traveling show producer's haughtiness, his assistant's greed, the railworkers' pride). These elements make 'The Twelve Chairs' more like 'The Producers' than 'High Anxiety,' and a film worthy of a listing with Brooks' best.


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