Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mel Brooks, Part Two: The Twelve Chairs

It's time for the second of my Mel Brooks reviews!
The year is 1927. The place is the recently formed Soviet Union (although it's much easier to just call it Russia). When a man (Ron Moody) discovers his dying mother placed all of the family jewels into one chair in a set of twelve, he sets off along with a con man (Frank Langella) to track down the fortune. Unfortunately, his mother's greedy priest (Dom DeLuise) hears of The Twelve Chairs, he goes a-hunting for them as well. And the great race begins.

This is a movie which is normally glossed over, as it is in between The Producers and Blazing Saddles. It's also not as outrageous (except in DeLuise's priest). But it's a different style from the "traditional" Mel Brooks. It's got more somewhat sober moments than most of his other work, and Brooks is only in the movie for a couple of short scenes. For many parts it barely feels like a Mel Brooks movie.

That's not to say it isn't enjoyable. It has history-based jokes (don't worry, it's all pretty well-known stuff), pure silly one-liners, and a fantastic parody of classic "chase movie" cinema, complete with sped-up characters and high-pitched voices. It's easy to see how this one gets lost in the crowd, but it's definitely worth a look.
My rating: 7.5/10
Coming Soon: Blazing Saddles... the legend rides on.

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