A Philosophical Story

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1937

Production year

1937

Premiere

5 November 1937

Runtime

91 min

Category

film

Genre

drama

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Filosofská historie

Czech title

Filosofská historie

English title

A Philosophical Story

Summary

Adapted by director Otakar Vávra from a classic 1877 historical novel by Alois Jirásek, this film serves as a prelude to Vávra’s later classic “Hussite trilogy” (Jan Hus, Jan Žižka and Proti všem [Against Everybody]) made between 1954–56. A 1937 effort, Filosofská historie was also sensitively adapted for the screen by Vávra. Set in the revolutionary year of 1848, a rebellious mood is in the air in the student community in the old city of Litomyšl. Ignoring a ban issued by Austrian Chancellor Klemens von Metternich, the students organise a maypole festival, resulting in severe reprimands. But asides from being fired up by politics, the tenants at the home of spinster maid Elis – Frýbort (Jan Pivec), Vavřena (Ladislav Boháč), Špína (Vladimír Hlavatý) and Zelenka (Stanislav Neumann) – also deal with issues closer to the heart. While barricades in Prague are erected in protest against Austrian absolutism, the hopes of our heroes are gradually dashed. The film carries a patriotic tone that is evident in many of Vávra’s works.

Synopsis

Miss Elis has in her lodgings students from Litomyšl: the philosophers Frýbort, Vavřena, Špína, and Zelenka. The aggressive Frýbort and the quiet Špína are in love with Márinka, the daughter of landlady Krupková. Špína is unable to make clear his feelings for Márinka and he suffers from her lack of interest. Vavřena is in love with Lenka, the ward of Actuary Roubínek. But the Roubíneks would rather see him give his preference to their daughter Lotty. By order of Metternich, the philosopher's May Festival is cancelled as a purely Czech festival. But the students celebrate the festival anyway with the participation of the whole town. The tenants of Miss Elis are subjected to school detention as punishment. Špína, unsuccessful in his final exams and in his relationship with Márinka, leaves to the Prague monastery The Brothers of Mercy. The year 1848 brings through the establishment of a constitution new life even to tranquil Litomyšl. Frýbort and Vavřena become officers of the student's legion which sets off to assist Prague tevolting against Austrian absolutism. On the barricades opposing the Windischgrätz units is even Špína, as a priest. After the defeat of the revolution Frýbort and Vavřena flee for home. Špína, however, falls in the battle. After a time the students return to Litomyšl. Frýbort proposes to Márinka and Vavřena becomes engaged to Lenka.

Note

The première outside Prague was held already on the 22nd of September 1937 in Litomyšl. The film was presented at the 6th Venice Film Festival, 1938.

Cast

Jan Pivec

filozof Václav Frýbort

Ladislav Boháč

filozof Vavřena

Vladimír Hlavatý

filozof Špína

Stanislav Neumann

filozof Zelenka

Helena Friedlová

bytná studentů slečna Elis

Jindřich Plachta

aktuár Roubínek

Zdeňka Gräfová

Roubínkova manželka Tereza

Ela Poznerová

Lotty, dcera Roubínkových

Karla Oličová

Lenka, neteř Roubínkových

Zdeňka Baldová

paní domácí Krupková

Elena Hálková

Márinka, dcera Krupkové

Anna Steimarová

Rollerová, bývalá purkmistrová

Jára Kohout

policajt Koníček

M. Šebor

student

Alois Dvorský

školník Mouček

Eman Fiala

domácí učitel Brož

Alois Peterka

Frýbortův otec

Otto Rubík

hrabě Georg

Jan W. Speerger

rakouský důstojník

Jarmila Švabíková

bojovnice na barikádě

František Beranský

člen městské gardy

Milada Smolíková

zákaznice u řezníka

Milka Balek-Brodská

zákaznice u řezníka

K. Svoboda

E. Švalb

Crew and creators

Assistant Director

Rudolf Stahl

Based on

Alois Jirásek (Filosofská historie – novela)

Screenplay

Otakar Vávra

Director of Photography

Otto Heller (ateliéry), Ferdinand Pečenka (exteriéry)

Production Designer

Štěpán Kopecký

Set Designer

Arnold Reimann

Costume Designer

Josef Wenig

Film Editor

Jan Kohout

Sound Designer

Vilém Taraba

Production Manager

Vladimír Kabelík

Cooperation

Willy Ströminger (fotograf), F. X. Mlejnek

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Branberger (úprava)

Selected Music

Bedřich Smetana (Pochod studentských legií)

Music Performed by

Orchestr F.O.K. (Music Conducted by Václav Smetáček)

Choreographer

Joe Jenčík

Songs

Když jsem svou Márinku

Song Composer Jan Branberger
Writer of Lyrics Václav Hanka
Singer Jan Pivec

Píseň společná

Song Composer František Škroup
Writer of Lyrics Karel Havlíček Borovský
Singer Jan Pivecmužský sbor

Gaudeamus igitur

Singer sbor

Jarní

Song Composer Josef Vašák
Writer of Lyrics František Ladislav Čelakovský
Singer dětský sbor

Již zlaté sluníčko zašlo

Song Composer Václav Rosenkranc
Writer of Lyrics J. G. Marek
Singer Jan Pivecmužský sbor

Jak se ten měsíček za lesíkem bělá

Singer Elena Hálková

Studentská píseň

Song Composer Jan Branberger
Singer sbor

Production info

Original Title

Filosofská historie

Czech Title

Filosofská historie

English Title

A Philosophical Story

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1937

Production Year

1937

Production specifications

start of filming 5 May 1937
end of filming 30 July 1937
date of censorship 09/1937 (kulturně-výchovný)
projection approval 12 June 1945 (konec povolení k promítání 12. 6. 1946)
projection approval 23 May 1946 (konec povolení k promítání 23. 5. 1947)

Premiere

preview 22 September 1937 (Litomyšl)
premiere 5 November 1937 /suitable for youths/ (kina Fénix /1½ týdne/ a Metro /2 týdny/, Praha)
renewed premiere 25 January 1946 /suitable for youths/
renewed premiere 01/1949 /suitable for youths/

Production

Moldavia

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Distribution

Moldavia (původní 1937), Státní půjčovna filmů (obnovená 1946), Rozdělovna filmů Československého státního filmu (obnovená 1949)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

91 min

Original length in metres

2 600 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

Tobis – Klang

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Ceny ministra průmyslu, obchodu a živností

1937
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Otakar Vávra

Vítěz

Event: Státní záruky Československé vlády na výrobu filmů

1937
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Moldavia

Vítěz

Event: Odměny ministra průmyslu, obchodu a živností

1937
Praha / Czechoslovakia