Powder and Gas

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1931

Production year

1931

Premiere

15 January 1932

Runtime

92 min

Category

film

Genre

comedy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Pudr a benzin

Czech title

Pudr a benzin

English title

Powder and Gas

Summary

In 1931, the writing duo of Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich undertook their first joint screenwriting effort. The musical comedy Pudr a benzin (Powder and Gas) was filmed by Jindřich Honzl, who also directed all 20 plays staged by the popular playwrights and leaders of the Osvobozené divadlo (Liberated Theatre). Honzl also directed another V+W film project, the later 1932 comedy Peníze nebo život (Your Money or Your Life). But Pudr a benzin does not seek to hide its theatrical roots, and also offers priceless, authentic performance recordings from the Osvobozené divadlo. Voskovec and Werichem play a quirky pair in the film – a clumsy motor coach driver, and an equally clumsy traffic superintendent – who both fall in love with the charming actress Marta (Ela Šárková). The story, which rides a wave of poeticism and the affinity of the authors for various trashy genres, is unified by an “action” tale pertaining to some cocaine dealers. The film, which was made at the start of the talkie era, was partly filmed in Paris, which had better audio recording equipment at its studios.

Synopsis

At a crossing in Prague being supervised by an incompetent policeman, a sight-seeing bus driven by an equally incompetent driver, crashes into a taxi in which the actress Marta is arguing with her boyfriend, composer Jiří David. The policeman and the driver take a fancy to Marta so they invite her out on an excursion in the bus. The excursion is not too successful but, to make it up to Marta, the two men take the girl to an evening boxing match in the Eden club. Here the policeman and driver cause a great disturbance which ends in a fight between the policeman and the defeated French champion. Jiří has written a grand musical-hall number for Marta which requires two comics. The librettist remembers the two nutty men at the boxing match and recommends that they be included in the cast. Both new comics enjoy great success and, furthermore, contribute to the disposal of a gang of drug dealers whose leader had been blackmailing Marta's brother. It is only in love that they are unsuccessful, however, when they see that Marta prefers her Jiří.

Film online

Cast

Jan Werich

strážník

Ela Šárková

herečka Marta Malá

Bohuš Záhorský

Josef Malý, bratr Marty

Vojta Plachý-Tůma

skladatel Jiří David

Josef Skřivan

libretista Richard/domovník

Joe Jenčík

choreograf Joe Brock

Miloš Nedbal

ředitel Čedoku

Jan Sviták

vůdce bandy Max

Alexander Třebovský

ředitel divadla Marek

Josef Kotalík

policejní inspektor Vodička

Vladimír Majer

řidič Čedoku

Emil Dlesk

řidič Karel

"Battling" Mathar

černý boxer

Karel Steklý

inspicient

Václav Trégl

člen bandy

Jan Mikota

turista

Josef Kobík

portýr v aréně

Jiří Srnka

dirigent

Jenčíkovy girls

Crew and creators

Director of Photography

Václav Vích

Production Designer

Vilém Rittershain

Art Director

František Zelenka

Costume Designer

František Zelenka

Sound Designer

Marcel Wendling, Portier, Karel Smrž

Production Manager

Josef Háša

Cooperation

Karel Steklý (klapka)

Music

Music Composed by

Jaroslav Ježek

Songs

Bugatti step

Songwriter Jaroslav Ježek

Nikdy nic nikdo nemá

Songwriter Jaroslav Ježek
Writer of Lyrics Jiří VoskovecJan Werich
Singer Jiří VoskovecJan Werich

Ezop a brabenec

Songwriter Jaroslav Ježek
Writer of Lyrics Jiří VoskovecJan Werich
Singer Jiří VoskovecJan Werich

Production info

Original Title

Pudr a benzin

Czech Title

Pudr a benzin

English Title

Powder and Gas

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

comedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1931

Production Year

1931

Production specifications

date of censorship 11 January 1932

Premiere

premiere 15 January 1932 /unsuitable for youths/ (kina Gaumont /5 týdnů/ a Passage /2 týdny/, Praha)

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Distribution

Gaumont

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

92 min

Original length in metres

2 600 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,19

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

Radio-Cinéma Paris

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech