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The Twelve Chairs (1970)

GP  |   |  Comedy  |  28 October 1970 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,783 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 26 critic

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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Andréas Voutsinas ...
Nikolai Sestrin (as Andreas Voutsinas)
Diana Coupland ...
Madam Bruns
David Lander ...
Vlada Petric ...
Sevitsky
Elaine Garreau ...
Claudia Ivanovna
Robert Bernal ...
Curator
Will Stampe ...
Night Watchman
Bridget Brice ...
Young Woman
Nicholas Smith ...
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:

A wild and hilarious chase for a fortune in jewels. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

28 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 12 Chairs  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The night watchman tells Bender and Vorobyaninov that it was "Kaminsky who found the jewels while putting up a curtain". This is a self-reference by director Mel Brooks, who was born Melvin Kaminsky. See more »

Goofs

During the chase through the train yard, a modern era bus can be seen passing in the background. See more »

Quotes

[Ostap Bender is kissing a young woman]
Young Woman: Do you love me?
Ostap Bender: Let's just say that I am very much in lust with you.
See more »

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 Keep Your Seats, Please! (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks
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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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