Smugglers of Death

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1959

Production year

1959

Premiere

25 December 1959

Runtime

89 min

Category

film

Genre

adventure, drama

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Král Šumavy

Czech title

Král Šumavy

English title

Smugglers of Death

Summary

In the 1950s, Karel Kachyňa built his career on “manly” themes revolving around border guards or soldiers. Apart from his undeniable professional skill as a director, he also had a good sense of the psychology of his characters. All of this applies to this drama set in the hilly Šumava (Bohemian Forest) border region in 1948. Despite its sharply tendentious propagandistic tone, Král Šumavy (Smugglers of Death) takes on a balladic nature derived from the dark beauty of the local scenery. The main character – a mysterious smuggler who takes illegal refugees across the border to Germany through dangerous marshes – is endowed with almost mythical qualities. Appearing in the main roles among the heroic defenders of the socialist fatherland are Radovan Lukavský and Jiří Vala. The part of the unhappy Marie is given to Jiřina Švorcová, who particularly in the 1950s tended to play ardent, one-dimensional, politically engaged characters.

Synopsis

It is 1948. Life as a border guard on the Czechoslovak state border in the Šumava Mountains is not easy. Despite the presence of dangerous swampland near the border, secret border crossings continue, even after the death of the smuggler Kilián, known as the King of the Šumava Mountains. He alone was reported to have crossed the swamps. The new arrival, guards chief Karel Zeman, has fallen in love with Marie Rysová, a shop assistant. Marie lives alone, her husband having fled across the border to escape punishment. Karel and Marie become lovers. One day Marie's husband, Rys, steals into the village. He kills the staff sergeant Cigánek and forces Marie to leave with him. An unknown man leads them across the swamp. Marie tries to escape but falls into the mire. Karel, who is following the group, can only look on helplessly as Marie disappears below the surface. The unknown man shoots Rys and flees. Karel needs to take revenge for Marie's death and doggedly seeks a guilty party. He discovers the madman Galapetr to be a saboteur who, after his arrest, betrays the identity of the new King of the Šumava Mountains – the forester Paleček who is planning another crossing of the swamp and border. The border guards reach him in time and capture the saboteur.

Film online

Cast

Radovan Lukavský

vrchní strážmistr SNB Václav Kot

Jiří Vala

strážmistr SNB Karel Zeman

Jiřina Švorcová

prodavačka Marie Rysová

Jaroslav Marvan

respicient finanční stráže Josef Beran

Stanislav Remunda

řidič Pavel Rys, Mariin manžel

Miloslav Holub

polesný Paleček

Jiří Holý

muzikant Petr Kala zvaný Galapetr

Ilja Prachař

poručík SNB Burda, okresní velitel

Rudolf Jelínek

rotný SNB Ladislav Cigánek zvaný Mařenka

Milan Holubář

strážmistr SNB Žáček

Vladimír Menšík

strážmistr SNB František Buryška

Ferdinand Krůta

strážmistr SNB Lojzík Hromádka

Miroslav Kahoun

strážmistr SNB Vítek

Jindřich Narenta

strážmistr SNB

František Krahulík

strážmistr SNB František Říha, novomanžel

Eva Jiroušková

novomanželka Julča Říhová

Libuše Havelková

nová prodavačka

Leopold Novák

agent

Karel Vavřík

hostinský

Josef Henke

uprchlík

Václav Sloup

mladý kopečkář

Václav Bouška

mladý kopečkář

Monika Indingerová

mladá kopečkářka

pes Blesk

vlčák Blesk

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Stanislav Černý

Assistant Director

Věra Plívová, Jaroslava Koudelová, Magda Číhalová

Shooting Script

Karel Kachyňa

Director of Photography

Josef Illík

Camera Operator

Vojtěch Kuthan, Jaroslav Kupšík

Production Designer

Karel Černý

Assistent Production Designer

Bohumil Pokorný

Set Designer

Josef Calta

Costume Designer

Karel Postřehovský

Film Editor

Jan Chaloupek

Assistant Film Editor

Marie Tillerová

Production Manager

Josef Beran

Unit Production Manager

Vratislav Innemann, Olga Himmerová

Unit Production Manager

Jan Bočánek

Cooperation

Karel Hrdlička (vrchní osvětlovač), Jaroslav Chlasták (fotograf)

Music

Music Composed by

Miloš Vacek

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Štěpán Koníček)

Songs

Do lesíčka na čekanou

Song Composer lidová píseňMiloš Vacek /úprava/
Writer of Lyrics Rudolf Kalčík /úprava/
Singer sbor

Bílé konvalinky

Song Composer František Soukup
Writer of Lyrics František Soukup
Singer mužský sbor

Škoda lásky

Song Composer Jaromír Vejvoda

Už mou milou do kostela vedou

Production info

Original Title

Král Šumavy

Czech Title

Král Šumavy

English Title

Smugglers of Death

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

adventure, drama

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1959

Production Year

1959

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 2 September 1958
technical Screenplay approved 31 January 1959
start of filming 10 April 1959
end of filming 11 July 1959
the first film copy approved 16 August 1959
projection approval 28 September 1959

Premiere

gala premiere 10 December 1959 (kino Lidový dům, Sušice)
preview 11 December 1959 (kino Sevastopol /1 týden/, Praha)
premiere 25 December 1959 /suitable for youths/ (kina Pasáž /4 týdny/, Hvězda /2 týdny/, Flora /1 týden/, Arbes /1 týden od 1. 1. 1960/, Kyjev /½ týdne od 1. 1. 1960/, Orlík /½ týdne od 6. 1. 1960/, Kotva /2 týdny od 8. 1. 1960/, Mír /1 týden od 8. 1. 1960/ a Varšava /1 týden od 15. 1. 1960/, Praha)

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Studio

Barrandov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Ladislav Novotný (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

89 min

Original length in metres

2 544 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Výroční Cena Víta Nejedlého pro rok 1968

1968
Praha / Czechoslovakia
František A. Dvořák

Vítěz

Event: Filmová anketa čtenářů týdeníku Mladý svět o nejlepší československé filmy natočené v roce 1959

1960
Praha / Czech Republic

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 15. výročí zrodu lidově-demokratické Československé republiky

1960
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Cena československé filmové kritiky za rok 1959

1960
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Umělecké odměny Ministerstva školství a kultury a Československého filmu za nejlepší filmy v roce 1959

1960
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Josef Illík

Vítěz

Festival: 2. festival českých a slovenských filmů Plzeň

1960
Plzeň / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Umělecké odměny Ministerstva školství a kultury a Československého filmu za nejlepší filmy v roce 1959

1960
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Kachyňa

Vítěz

Festival: 2. festival českých a slovenských filmů Plzeň

1960
Plzeň / Czechoslovakia