The Magic House

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1939

Production year

1939

Premiere

21 November 1939

Runtime

109 min

Category

film

Genre

drama, psychological

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Kouzelný dům

Czech title

Kouzelný dům

English title

The Magic House

Summary

Otakar Vávra directed this compelling psychological drama, using his own screenplay based on the eponymous novel by K. J. Beneš. The protagonist is a young woman suffering from memory loss after a plane crash, who finds shelter in the household of the Balvín family. The stranger’s presence stirs turmoil into the settled existence of her hosts and triggers amorous feelings in both the unstable Vilém and his perceptive brother Martin... Vávra cast Adina Mandlová as the woman searching for both her past and a new future. Under his stewardship she renders what amounts to the most weighty and complex character of her acting career. The trio of female hosts are played by the distinguished stage actresses Růžena Nasková, Leopolda Dostalová and Terezie Brzková, while Eduard Kohout and Vávra’s favourite actor, Zdeněk Štěpánek, appear in the male roles.

Synopsis

The pampered daughter of a prominent industrialist, Marie, is the sole survivor of a plane crash. On the roadway amid the Moravian forests Vilém Balvín finds her and transports her to his home, in which reside three generations of his family. The girl awakens from her unconsciousness with an utter loss of memory. She remains in the enchanted home to which, however, she has brought disquiet and agitation. Vilém, afflicted by a head injury incurred in the war, hangs himself out of unhappiness and his carefully concealed love for Marie. Yet between Marie and the younger brother of Vilem's, the teacher Martin, there soon arises a tender amorous affection. Together they search for Marie's identity. Seven weeks later a fairground magician returns to Marie her memory under hypnosis. At this moment, however, from a congenial and amiable girl she becomes an aloof dame who wants nothing to do with Martin and insists that her father will come and take her away. At the last moment she in the end recalls the happiness she knew in the enchanted home, and she returns to Martin.

Cast

Adina Mandlová

Marie Ungrová

Růžena Nasková

Vilemína Balvínová

Leopolda Dostalová

teta Hedvika Balvínová

Terezie Brzková

teta Anna Balvínová

Zdeněk Štěpánek

Martin Balvín, syn Vilemíny

Eduard Kohout

Vilém Balvín, syn Vilemíny

František Kreuzmann

kouzelník Caligari

Karel Dostal

Rudolf Unger, generální ředitel železáren, otec Marie

Vladimír Řepa

JUDr. Alfred Urban, Ungerův právník

Otto Rubík

Lariš, snoubenec Marie

Marie Ježková

hospodyně Barbora

Jaroslav Tryzna

pouliční fotograf

Jindřich Fiala

asistent kouzelníka

Crew and creators

Assistant Director

Václav Štrup

Based on

K. J. Beneš (Kouzelný dům – román)

Screenplay

Otakar Vávra

Director of Photography

Jan Roth

Production Designer

Jan Zázvorka

Set Designer

Rudolf Žák

Film Editor

Antonín Zelenka

Sound Designer

František Pilát

Production Manager

Vladimír Kabelík, Alois Fiala

Cooperation

Willy Ströminger (fotograf)

Music

Music Composed by

František Škvor

Selected Music

Antonín Dvořák (Milostná píseň)

Music Performed by

Orchestr F.O.K. (Music Conducted by František Škvor)

Production info

Original Title

Kouzelný dům

Czech Title

Kouzelný dům

English Title

The Magic House

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1939

Production Year

1939

Production specifications

start of filming 09/1939
end of filming 10/1939
date of censorship 11/1939
end of filming 5 November 1939 (ateliéry)
date of censorship 18 June 1943 (predikáty „uznáníhodný film“ a „film pro Den hrdinů“)
withdrawal from distribution 11/1944
projection approval 02/1969
withdrawal from distribution 30 June 1990

Premiere

premiere 21 November 1939 /unsuitable for youths/ (kina Na Příkopě /1½ týdne/ a Světozor /2½ týdne/, Praha)
renewed premiere 20 March 1969 /unsuitable for youths/

Production

Elekta

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Laboratories

Bapoz Zlín, AB Praha

Distribution

Elekta (původní 1939), Ústřední půjčovna filmů (obnovená 1969)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

109 min

Original length in metres

3 100 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: Anketa deníku Večer – O nejlepší český film roku 1939 a o nejoblíbenější českou filmovou herečku a herce

1940
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Anketa deníku Večer – O nejlepší český film roku 1939 a o nejoblíbenější českou filmovou herečku a herce

1940
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Růžena Nasková

Vítěz

Event: Anketa deníku Večer – O nejlepší český film roku 1939 a o nejoblíbenější českou filmovou herečku a herce

1940
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Adina Mandlová

Vítěz

Event: Anketa deníku Večer – O nejlepší český film roku 1939 a o nejoblíbenější českou filmovou herečku a herce

1940
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Terezie Brzková