These two short children’s tales – O medvědu Ondřejovi (The Bear and the Ghosts) and Jak se Franta naučil bát (How Franta Learned to Fear) – directed by Jaroslav Mach were jointly released in Czechoslovakia under the name Medvěd a strašidla (The Bear and the Ghosts, 1960). In the first story, Princess Blanka falls in love with huntsman and gamekeeper Ondřej. Rather than a common swain, her father, naturally, had someone of noble birth in mind for a son in-law. When his daughter rejects all the suitors with the right pedigree, the king locks her up in the castle tower promising her hand to the one who is able to find the secret entrance, while favouring suitor prince Hynek in every possible way. Ondřej, the princess’s lover, ultimately finds his way into the castle disguised as a dancing bear… The interpreters of the two lovers, Aglaia Morávková and Jiří Papež, never managed to leave a significant mark on Czech cinema. In its supporting parts, however, the film relies on Czech stars of the likes of Jaroslav Marvan (the king), Miloš Nedbal (the chamberlain) and Jiřina Bohdalová (chambermaid Anežka).
Princess Blanka is secretly meeting her beloved, huntsman Ondřej. Only the chamber-maid Anežka is in favour of their love but Blanka's father, the King, mustn't find out anything about it. Blanka is refusing all the bridegrooms the King has invited to the castle. Even Prince Hynek has no luck. The King has enough of his daughter's moodiness and shuts her up in the tower. The suitors must search for her and she is to marry the one who finds her first. Blanka begs that Anežka goes with her to keep her company. She hopes that the chamber-maid will then manage to show Ondřej the secret entrance to the tower. But the King forbids Anežka to leave the tower. The castle is full of suitors who are looking for the entrance to the tower. Ondřej is waiting in vain for Anežka and her help. When he meets the bear-tamer in the village he gets an idea to dress himself as a bear and asks his father to accompany him to the castle. The King is delighted with the fake bear's tricks and allows the bear-tamer to show it to his daughter. So Ondřej gets through the secret entrance to the tower. He then changes into his own clothes and hurries to meet Blanka. In the meantime, the King is trying to hint to Prince Hynek where the secret door is. When Hynek finally finds out and the door opens, Blanka is already standing there together with Ondřej. The King finally realizes that Blanka is happy with the huntsman and gives them his royal blessing.
The Bear and the Ghosts – joint title for the two medium-footage fairytales that were shot in parallel but finally distributed separately under the titles How Franta Learnt to Fear and About Ondřej the Bear.
strážný s halapartnou
stráž u prince
Ladislav Vinklárek, Emil Sirotek
Bohumír Brunclík (zvukové efekty)
Václav Huňka, Miloš Šauer
Eliška Nejedlá, Věra Winkelhöferová
O medvědu Ondřejovi
The Bear and the Ghosts