Mel Brooks's 1970 comedy (his second work as a film director) is based on an old Russian folktale, and was first filmed in Yugoslavia in 1927. The story concerns an old woman who reveals on her deathbed that she has hidden jewels inside one of 12 chairs that were formerly in her home but are now scattered. Ron Moody plays the poor Russian nobleman seeking them, and Dom DeLuise is his rival. After Brooks's wild and even controversial first film, The Producers
, The Twelve Chairs
seems relatively tame; but it is still a funny and slightly exotic work owing to its director's longtime interest in classic cinema. --Tom Keogh
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.