Friday, 14 December 2012

The Twelve Chairs (1970)

The Twelve Chairs,1970,USA
Director: Mel Brooks
Stars: Ron Moody, Frank Langella & Dom Deluise
Ippolit Vorobyaninov: Maybe the holy father is a member of the communist party.
Father Fyodor: Maybe.
Ippolit Vorobyaninov: But the party is for atheists. How can a priest join the party?
Father Fyodor: The church must keep up with the times.

Film #58 of The December Project

I have recently been going back through Mel Brooks' filmography, to watch his directed projects that I have yet to see such as 'Dracula: Dead & Loving It', 'History of the World: Part I' and now 'The Twelve Chairs'. I honestly wasn't expecting a whole lot from this film, but was actually pleasantly surprised, It actually feels very different to much of Brooks' other works.

Three different men band together in order to find hidden jewels which is in one of twelve chairs.

I am used to Mel Brooks' films being a joke a minute laugh riots, but with 'Twelve Chairs' that really is not the case, its more of a slow burn as the comedy builds through stages and quite progressively. Sure, there is plenty to keep you amused along the way but its all part of the grand scheme of things. Its an adventure comedy, which was an aspect I really liked about it. The adventure aspect is surprisingly well orchestrated and the dynamic between the two lead characters makes it even more entertaining, not to mention the lingering inclusion of Dom Deluise's character which makes the film almost feel like a Jewish 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly'.

The comedic elements of the film are quite good, there is a number of scenes that utilize slapstick comedy, which are very funny.  The scene where Deluise interrogates the family in Moscow, in an attempt to retrieve the chairs is the best scene in the film. I wasn't quite sure about the Benny Hill type chase sequences, but I guess they worked well in the context of the film.

The films cast is a lot of fun. I knew Frank Langella was in the film before I watched it, but it actually took me like twenty minutes to figure out he was Ostap, and then my mind was blown. He  was quite good in the film. Langella's dynamic with Ron Moody, as Ippolit Vorobyaninov, was brilliant and they made the film even better. Dom Deluise was as funny as per usual, and Mel himself was good in a small role.

I enjoyed 'Twelve Chairs' much more than I expected too, its a fun adventure comedy that builds progressively and incorporates many laughs from its good performances.


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