Movie Review

The Twelve Chairs

Reviewed by: Judith Lebel
CONTRIBUTOR

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
All Ages
Genre:
Comedy
G

This is a funny Mel Brooks movie without all the morally offensive material which is usually found in his other films.

“The Twelve Chairs” is set in Russia in 1927. The story is centered around a former aristocrat (Ron Moody) who learns from his dying mother-in-law that she sewed a fortune in family jewels into one of her twelve dining room chairs. Unfortunately, the chairs have been scattered throughout Russia, and the son-in-law leaves everything to go off in search of them. Little does he know, his mother-in-law also told the local priest (Dom DeLuise) about the fortune and he, too, has decided to find the chair for himself.

I enjoyed this film because it showed how greed can turn the best of us into crazy, self-centered maniacs. By the end of the movie, those in search of that one chair have definitely “hit bottom” and their lives are a wreck.

There are only two cautions I would give to parents from a Christian perspective. The priest is portrayed as a greedy, good-for-nothing individual—however, Dom DeLuise is terrific in the part and actually is responsible for some of the most funny scenes in the movie. It was nice to be able to sit and watch a Mel Brooks film without having to worry about “adult” situations and language. There was one scene where the priest was angry and may have taken God’s name in vain, though you might be able to explain it away as the priest praying in his own special way…

All in all, this is a movie that I would feel comfortable watching with my family.

Year of Release—1970

Viewer Comments

Positive—Any Mel Brooks movie is remarkable in the way that it challenges conventional moviemaking. This is the kind of movie that is pretty easily forgettable to all but the most observant of moviegoers. I can’t say it’s one of my favorites, but it’s impossible not to laugh at its outrageousness and appreciate how the most timeless fables against greed have been transformed by a master into something as good as this. Nothing offensive, but some kids may be bored by its shortage of humor understandable to them. My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Eric Schmidt