Life Is at Stake

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1956

Production year

1956

Premiere

23 November 1956

Runtime

97 min

Director

Jiří Weiss

Category

film

Genre

drama

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Hra o život

Czech title

Hra o život

English title

Life Is at Stake

Working title

Jediné východisko

Synopsis

It is 1941. Engineer Otakar Racek is a very careful man. However, he gets into a dangerous situation on the tram, when he is almost arrested for disrespecting the German flag. He is saved by his colleague from work, Josef Frouz. Racek doesn't find the same kind of courage when, soon after that, he has a chance to warn Frouz about the Gestapo. Racek accepts the position of manager of the new department and out of cowardice refuses to help Frouz's family. Racek's wife, Vlasta, mother of his two sons, is shocked by her husband's behaviour and tries to help. The family separates into two groups. Their thirteen year old son Bedřich is supporting Vlasta, while Otakar is defended by his rich mother, who can't stand her daughter-in-law because of her working-class background. Vlasta lets the illegal worker Rýdl stay in their small villa and she introduces him as her distant relative and helps him in his activities. The mother-in-law provokes Racek's jealousy and persuades him to rent a private detective. The detective is also a Gestapo agent and recognizes Rýdl as a member of the resistance wanted by the Gestapo. Rýdl manages to escape. In front of the Gestapo, who come to the villa, Racek renounces his wife and she is arrested. Bedřich runs away from their broken home.

Note

The scenario, and later on also Beneš´s book, were based on a real event, first recorded by Jiří Weiss (according to the personal testimony of Jiří Weiss - September 2000). The introduction part of this film included a news-reel made up by director Weiss of period shots. That material is added to the combined duplicate negative.

Cast

Karel Höger

ing. Otakar Racek

Vlasta Chramostová

Vlasta, Rackova žena

Jaroslav Someš

Bedřich, starší syn Rackových

Jaroslav Drahan

Mirek, mladší syn Rackových

Zdeněk Dítě

odbojář Ondřej Rýdl

Soňa Neumannová

Racková, Otakarova matka

Otomar Krejča

náměstek Rudolf Kadera

Stanislav Neumann

vrátný Dobeš

Josef Bek

dílovedoucí Josef Frouz

Vlasta Vlasáková

Tonička, Frouzova žena

Gustav Heverle

ing. Kubišta

Josef Mráz

krejčí Jaroslav Pour

Jana Dítětová

dělnice Zdenka, Pourova žena

Jaroslav Mareš

detektiv Brotánek

Felix le Breux

majitel detektivní kanceláře Alois Barvík

Emil Kavan

kominík

Miloš Vavruška

odbojář Berka

Marie Kratochvílová

nacistka

Marcela Sedláčková

sekretářka Müllerová

Václav Postránecký

Jarda, syn Frouzových

Marta Májová

žena na ulici

Gustav Hrdlička

úředník u počítačky

Miroslav Moravec

německý voják

Martin Skyba

německý voják

Crew and creators

Director

Jiří Weiss

Second Unit Director

Milada Řeháková

Assistant Director

Hugo Huška, Alena Nová

Based on

K. J. Beneš (Rodný hlas – román)

Director of Photography

Vladimír Novotný

Camera Operator

Jiří Šafář

Production Designer

Bohuslav Kulič

Set Designer

Stanislav Pavlík

Costume Designer

Karel Postřehovský

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Production Manager

Josef Ouzký

Unit Production Manager

Vratislav Innemann

Consultant

kpt. Jaromír Malý, František Selinger

Cooperation

Juraj Červík

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří Srnka

Selected Music

Ferenc Liszt (Les Préludes)

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín),

Songs

Čtyři páry bílých koní

Songwriter Karel Vacek

Production info

Original Title

Hra o život

Czech Title

Hra o život

English Title

Life Is at Stake

Working Title

Jediné východisko

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1956

Production Year

1956

Production specifications

projection approval 4 August 1956

Premiere

premiere 23 November 1956

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Studio

Barrandov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Feix – Daniel, František Daniel (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Karel Feix (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

97 min

Original length in metres

2 776 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,85, 1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech, German

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech