A Journey into the Primeval Times

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1954

Production year

1953—1954

Premiere

5 August 1955

Runtime

85 min

Director

Karel Zeman

Category

film

Genre

children, adventure, fantastic

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Cesta do pravěku

Czech title

Cesta do pravěku

English title

A Journey into the Primeval Times

Working title

Výlet do pravěku / Pravěk / Cesta do minulosti naší Země / Cesta života

Summary

The first of what would become a series of legendary staged and animated films by director Karel Zeman, Cesta do pravěku (A Journey into the Primeval Times, 1955) is the story of four inquisitive boys who are transported back to various prehistoric ages. These pals wander by boat from the present back to the Ice Age, through the Tertiary and Mesozoic periods, and finally to the moment when the ocean first brought forth life. Along the way, these young heroes undergo a series of perilous adventures during which they closely observe the metamorphoses of the planet's flora and fauna that took place over millions of years – and of the Earth itself. The biggest attraction for viewers of this popular film are the prehistoric animal puppets, inspired by the illustrations of anthropological artist Zdeňka Burian in consultation with the palaeontologist Josef Augusta. A Journey into the Primeval Times won the Grand Prix at the Festival of Film for Youth in Venice and the Press Award at the Mannheim Week of Cultural and Documentary Films.

Synopsis

Little Jirka found a rock with a trilobite imprint on it in front of a cave, and wished to see this animal in reality. To do this, a group of four boys - chronicler Petr, photographer Toník, Jenda and the youngest Jirka - organized an expedition to the primeval time. They sailed through the cave in a little boat and soon had to dress more warmly, because they found themselves in the ice age. As the last ice floes disappeared, a mammoth appeared in the rich vegetation. The next day, the boys were intrigued by a beaten path by the waterside. They found unmistakable traces of life of primeval man in the cave: an abandoned fireplace and drawings of animals on the walls. Incredible adventures awaited them in the Mesozoic period. Giant saurian animals were fighting on the shore. The boys closely studied the body of the stegosaur, who died in the fight. Judging by the traces they discovered, their little boat was destroyed by a giant animal. They built a raft instead, on which they sailed to the Carboniferous period - time of the great horsetails, lycopodiums and insects. At the end of their journey, they found themselves on the coast of the Silurian Sea, where the entire life on Earth was created.

Film online

Commentary

Crew and creators

Director

Karel Zeman

Assistant Director

Vladimír Svitáček

Screenstory

Karel Zeman

Shooting Script

Karel Zeman

Director of Photography

Václav Pazderník (hraná část), Antonín Horák (trikové snímky)

Camera Operator

Jiří Tarantík, Arne Parduba

Art Director

Karel Zeman (výtvarná práce), Zdeněk Rozkopal (výtvarná práce), Ivo Mrázek (výtvarná práce), Zdeněk Ostrčil (výtvarná práce), Karel Černý (výtvarná práce), Marie Mazůrková (výtvarná práce)

Film Editor

Zdeněk Stehlík

Animation

Arnošt Kupčík, František Krčmář

Production Manager

Antonín Drvota, Karel Hutěčka

Unit Production Manager

Rudolf Wolf

Unit Production Manager

Vojtěch Kunčík

Cooperation

Zdeněk Tmej (fotograf), Antonín Buráň, Bohumila Zemanová, M. Müller, M. Sonnabend

Music

Music Composed by

E. F. Burian, Vlastimil Pinkas (instrumentace)

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Milivoj Uzelac)

Music Supervisor

Zdeněk Liška (zvuková režie)

Production info

Original Title

Cesta do pravěku

Czech Title

Cesta do pravěku

English Title

A Journey into the Primeval Times

Working Title

Výlet do pravěku / Pravěk / Cesta do minulosti naší Země / Cesta života

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

children, adventure, fantastic

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1954

Production Year

1953—1954

Production specifications

start of filming 01/1953
end of filming 12/1954
projection approval 07/1955

Premiere

premiere 5 August 1955 /suitable for youths/ (kina Lucerna /8 týdnů/, Arbes /1 týden/, Bystrica /1 týden od 12. 8./, Vzlet /1 týden od 19. 8./, Aero /1 týden od 26. 8./, Dukla /1 týden od 2. 9./, Revoluce /1 týden od 9. 9./, Mír /1 týden od 16. 9./ a Oko /1 týden od 23. 9./, Praha)
renewed premiere 14 November 1975 /suitable for youths/
renewed premiere 14 September 2017 /suitable for all ages without limit/
renewed premiere 25 April 2019 /suitable for all ages without limit/

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Distribution

Rozdělovna filmů Československého státního filmu (původní 1955), Ústřední půjčovna filmů (obnovená 1975), Asociace českých filmových klubů (obnovená 2017 /Projekt 100 – 2017/, pouze školní projekce; monopol do 30. 6. 2018), Bontonfilm (obnovená 2019)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

85 min

Original length in metres

2 542 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm, DCP 2-D, MP4, BRD

Animation technique

puppet, combined (technique)

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: Mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti a mládež Zlín 2001

2001
Zlín / Czech Republic

Vítěz

Festival: 30. dětský filmový a televizní festival Oty Hofmana Ostrov

1998
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czech Republic

Vítěz

Event: Múzy pražských diváků za rok 1969

1970
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Exhibition: 1. přehlídka československých a zahraničních filmů pro děti Ostrov nad Ohří

1969
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Festival: 6. světový festival mládeže a studentstva Moskva

1957
Moskva / Russia

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1957

1957
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Festival: 6. světový festival mládeže a studentstva Moskva

1957
Moskva / Russia

Vítěz

Event: Konference Pracovního společenství pro školní film Gelsenkirchen

1956
Gelsenkirchen / Federal Republic of Germany

Vítěz

Festival: 5. týden kulturních a dokumentárních filmů Mannheim

1956
Mannheim / Federal Republic of Germany
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Festival: 16. mezinárodní filmový festival Benátky

1955
Benátky / Italy

Vítěz

Festival: 9. mezinárodní filmový festival Edinburgh

1955
Edinburgh / Great Britain