Once Upon a Time, There Was a King

fairytale

Typology

feature

Czech title

Byl jednou jeden král...

Runtime

103

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1954

Production year

1954

Premiere

11.02.1955

Language version

Czech

Director

Bořivoj Zeman

Screenplay

Jiří Brdečka, Jan Werich, Bořivoj Zeman

Screenstory

Jiří Brdečka, Oldřich Kautský, Jan Werich, Bořivoj Zeman

Summary

Having to his credit the fairytales Pyšná princezna (The Proud Princess, 1952), Byl jednou jeden král... (Once Upon a Time, There Was a King, 1954) and Šíleně smutná princezna (The Incredibly Sad Princess, 1968), as well as a pair of comedies featuring a grumpy public transport ticket conductor from Prague (Dovolená s Andělem [Holiday with Angel, 1952], Anděl na horách [Angel in the Mountains, 1955]), Bořivoj Zeman goes down as one of the most popular filmmakers of Czechoslovak film history to date. This playful fairytale comedy, inspired by the classical story Sůl nad zlato (Salt Above Gold) written by Božena Němcová, explores the troubles of a preposterous ruler going by the name “Myself, First” as he plunges his kingdom into a state of gastronomic tragedy. To spite his loving youngest daughter Maruška, who claims to love her father like salt, the king has all the salt in his realm destroyed… Yet even despite all the royal endeavours at altering the course of the culinary art, the seemingly valueless mineral proves indispensable to life in the kingdom… Regardless of the ideological bias resulting from the period of its origin, the film continues to deliver timeless entertainment. Admired Jan Werich, who is cast in the role of the king, is paired on screen with another highly popular comedian, Vlasta Burian (king’s counsellor Atakdále, aka “Et cetera”).

Synopsis

Once upon a time there was a King and his name was Me I. He had three daughters: Drahomíra, who loved gold and jewels, Zpěvanka, who loved to sing, and Maruška, who looked after the Royal Household. The King wanted to hand over his Kingdom to the daughter who loved him most. Drahomíra loved him as dearly as gold, Zpěvanka as much as a golden voice, and the youngest Maruška as much as salt. The King got very angry with Maruška for giving him such an answer, and expelled her from the castle. He ordered all the salt in his Kingdom to be destroyed as well. Only the smart widow Kubátová defied his orders. After a while, the King realized that it wasn't possible to live without salt, and he also missed Maruška. When he admitted his mistake, he found Maruška at the old herbwoman's place. They reconciled and Maruška brought him the salt shaker in which the salt never ran low. In the meanwhile, the Princes who came to court the King's daughters, left the castle. They realized that the Princesses didn't want them, because they had just found their real husbands - a gardener, a piper and a fisherman. The common weddings were magnificent. The King also realized that he would be happier with a wife and married widow Kubátová.

Film online

Cast

Jan Werich

král Já I.

Vlasta Burian

rádce Atakdále

Irena Kačírková

princezna Drahomíra

Stella Májová

princezna Zpěvanka

Milena Dvorská

princezna Maruška

Lubomír Lipský

princ chrabrý, syn Děloslava VIII.

Miloš Kopecký

princ chytrý

Miroslav Horníček

princ krásný, syn Alabastra XVI.

Terezie Brzková

stařenka kořenářka

Zdeněk Dítě

zahradník

Josef Pehr

dudák

Marie Glázrová

vdova Kubátová, podruhyně

Fanda Mrázek

celník Martínek

František Hanus

pláteník

Gustav Hrdlička

sklenkář

Eman Fiala

krejčí

Bohuš Hradil

dvořan

Marcela Sedláčková

dvorní dáma

Eva Klepáčová

žena v podhradí

Josef Bartůněk

muž v podhradí

Ladislav Gzela

hrnčíř v podhradí

Slávka Rosenbergová

žena v podhradí

Jiří Novotný

kuchtík

Karel Hovorka

dvořan

Karla Svobodová

holčička

Irena Bernátová

dvorní dáma

Jiří Valenta

dvořan u dalekohledu

Zdeněk Kříž

Eva Hepnerová

Commentary

Crew and creators

Assistant Director

Jiří Jungwirth, Pavel Kopta, Květa Ondráková

Based on

Božena Němcová (Sůl nad zlato – pohádka)

Camera

Jan Roth

Camera Operator

Josef Pechar, Jiří Štaud

Production Designer

Jan Zázvorka

Art Director

Jiří Trnka

Set Designer

Vladimír Mácha

Costume Designer

Bohumil Sochor

Make-Up Artist

Gustav Hrdlička

Sound Designer

Milan R. Novotný

Special Effects

Vladimír Novotný

Production Manager

Jaroslav Jílovec

Unit Production Manager

Vlastimil Maršálek

Consultant

PhDr. Jan Port

Music

Music Composed by

Václav Trojan

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Milivoj Uzelac (FISYO)

Songs

Jménem pana krále, Rybářova píseň, Nech přeludů, jež v oblacích tě mámí

Songwriter

Václav Trojan (Jménem pana krále), Václav Trojan (Rybářova píseň)

Writer of Lyrics

Jaroslav Seifert (Rybářova píseň)

Singer

Vlasta Burian (Jménem pana krále), Vladimír Ráž (Rybářova píseň), František Černý (Nech přeludů, jež v oblacích tě mámí)

Choreographer

Marie Anna Tymichová

Production info

Original Title

Byl jednou jeden král...

English Title

Once Upon a Time, There Was a King

Copyright

1954

Production Year

1954

Premiere

11.02.1955

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Technical info

Versions

Czech