The Lovers of an Old Criminal





Production year



7 October 1927


125 min






featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Milenky starého kriminálníka

Czech title

Milenky starého kriminálníka

English title

The Lovers of an Old Criminal


Svatopluk Innemann (1896-1945), one of the most successful and prolific Czech comedy writers of the 1920s and early 1930s, made his silent comedy The Lovers of an Old Criminal (1927) based on a theme and script by Josef Skružný, with whom he often collaborated. Both skillfully used tried and tested schemes and clichés to create an easy–going piece, based on situational comedy and sometimes even gags or chases like from an American slapstick. The seemingly complex plot benefits from popular confusions and the doppelganger motive. – Pardon, a factory worker, in love with an unknown girl, bribes his uncle Pondělíček to impersonate him and to discourage his bride Fifi, because he is in love with the charming Olga. However, things get properly complicated as Pondělíček has a double, the dreaded robber Kanibal. – The plots build up one after another, and there are many of them. The film is of course dominated by Vlasta Burian in a double role, and by the star Anna Ondráková as the emancipated, mischievous, and foolish Fifi. The film is introduced by witty opening credits with caricatures of the filmmakers, some intertitles rhyme. Noteworthy sequences include among others the well-filmed car rides, and the sequence in which Pondělíček imagines how he, as Kanibal, got rid of his mistresses (by the eminent cinematographer Otto Heller). The filmmakers do not avoid the semi-sophisticated fantasy elements (connected with tricks) that are supposed to enliven the narrative. Elmar Klos was also involved in inventing some of the situations and gags. Josef Skružný was an admirer of his great-aunt, Klos referred to him as "uncle" and helped him with writing the scripts. – The National Film Archive carried out a technically and time-consuming reconstruction of the film, including the colour toning according to the original prints, which was carried out in a unique method worldwide, without the need to cut and re-join the film strip. When the film was restored in 2015, it was screened in various formats and with live accompaniment by the Neuvěřitelno trio, which composed the music. Attached to the film is a five-minute long promotial film, The Robber.


Factory owner Pardon, meets Olga, daughter of clairvoyant Stefanie Lesczynska at a ball. Their brief acquaintance is interrupted when Olga and her mother have to leave. Fifi Hrazánková has her sights set on the elligible Pardon. Pardon asks his Uncle Cyril Ponděliček if the girl could take over his position at work so that she may be dissuaded of her amorous intentions. Fifi seduces Pondělíček. In the meantime, Pardon meets Olga and Stefanie again by chance and offers them a place to stay at Ponděliček's while Pondělíček passes himself off as Pardon. Ponděliček recognises Stefanie as his former lover, Olga is their daughter. Stefanie also recognises him, but Pondělíček declares that he is the thief named Kanibal whom the newspapers are all writing about. He locks Pardon, Stefanie and Olga in the cellar and, together with Fifi, he escapes. In the inn they happen to come across the real Kanibal who is being pursued by the police. The police mistakenly arrest Pondělíček. Pardon explains to the Police who Pondělíček really is. The real Kanibal is then apprehended. Pondělíček then marries Stefanie and they wish their daughter luck with the factory owner, Pardon. Fifi is thus finally cured of her romantic notions.


In 2008 the film was reconstructed by the National Film Archive.


Jan W. Speerger

továrník Pardon

Vlasta Burian

továrníkův strýc Cyril Pondělíček/kriminálník Alois Kanibal

Anny Ondráková

Fifi Hrazánkova, dcera továrníka

Emilie Nitschová

Fifina matka, manželka továrníka Hrazánka

Jiří Hron

Fifin ctitel

Betty Kysilková

jasnovidka Štefanie Lesczynská

Věra Hlavatá

dcera Lesczynské Olga

Jindřich Plachta

komorník Kristián

Rudolf Sůva

strážce zámeckého parku Alois Pivoňka

Jarka Pižla

zahradníkův pomocník

František Juhan

Fifin šofér

Ferry Seidl

vrátný v hotelu

Rudolf Stahl


František Jerhot

velký strážník

František Malý

menší strážník

Alois Dvorský


Anči Pírková

třetí oběť kriminálníka

František Sauer

harmonikář Venca

Karel Schleichert

host na plese

Crew and creators

Assistant Director

František Jerhot


Josef Skružný

Director of Photography

Otto Heller

Production Designer

Alois Mecera

Production info

Original Title

Milenky starého kriminálníka

Czech Title

Milenky starého kriminálníka

English Title

The Lovers of an Old Criminal




featuretheatrical distribution



Origin country




Production Year


Production specifications

date of censorship 18 August 1927
date of censorship 30 August 1932


preview 3 September 1927 (kino Radio, Praha /Filmová burza/)
premiere 7 October 1927 /unsuitable for youths/ (kino Koruna /1 týden/, Louvre /2 týdny/ a Světozor /2 týdny/, Praha)
renewed premiere 12 February 2015 /suitable for all ages without limit/



Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv


Poja Film


Oceanfilm (původní 1927), Národní filmový archiv (obnovená 2015)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

125 min

Original length in metres

3 559 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm, DCP 2-D, DVD, BRD

Aspect ratio



tinting, black & white





Dialogue languages

without dialogue

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Intertitles languages


Opening/End credits languages