The Coward

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1961

Production year

1961

Premiere

13 April 1962

Runtime

95 min

Director

Jiří Weiss

Category

film

Genre

drama, psychological

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Zbabělec

Czech title

Zbabělec

English title

The Coward

Working title

Mrtví a živí / Hrdinové nemají umírat

Synopsis

It is autumn of 1944 and the Slovak National Uprising has been suppressed. In a small village beneath the Lower Tatra Mountains, the inhabitants liquidate all traces of the partisans, who have withdrawn to the mountains. Teacher Ondrej Bodnár burns the municipal lists from which the Germans - whose arrival is expected - would immediately learn who had left for the mountains. At night, Bodnár and his young wife Františka discover a wounded Soviet partisan named Oleg in the schoolyard and hides him in the attic. Františka can hardly bear the exaggerated cautiousness of her husband who feels responsible for the whole village and refuses to take any risks. That very night, Bodnár sets off to the gamekeeper's lodge to secure a hideout for the partisan, but, along with the gamekeeper's wife, is arrested by German soldiers who have just occupied the village. German commander Schmolka is a former teacher from Liberec and, upon Františka's entreaty, the two captives are released. He, moreover, invites Bodnár for dinner. Františka begins to despise her husband. Instead, she helps Oleg, who is a hero in her eyes, to lay down a mine near a village barn where the Germans keep their roughly trained dogs, and, in no time, runs away with him to the mountains. The subsequent explosion results in reprisals - if the culprit is not found, twenty hostages will be shot. In the critical situation, Bodnár confesses to the act. Although he is the only one to have an alibi, he insists on his guilt. Františka returns to the village but Schmolka rejects her confession. Františka is left to bitterly mourn over the shot Ondrej.

Cast

Ladislav Chudík

učitel Ondrej Bodnár

Dana Smutná

Františka, Bodnárová žena, výpomocná učitelka

Dušan Blaškovič

rychtář a hostinský

Oleg Striženov

sovětský partyzán Oleg

Wilhelm Koch-Hooge

německý nadporučík Albert Schmolka

Jindřich Narenta

německý poručík Niemayer

Věra Tichánková

hajná Anna Marčoková

Josef Vorel

německý četař

Peter Rúfus (2)

stařec

Vojtech Kovařík

horal

Ján Hečko

vesničan

Josef Kotapiš

německý důstojník Huber

N. Tomanová

Milka, rychtářova dcera

Josef Beyvl

starší německý strážný

Štefan Halás

mladší německý strážný

G. Šiška

Peter Adamík

Libuša Gýmerská

matka

Anton Gýmerský

Vendelín Adamík, Petrův otec

Adam Matejka

vesničan

M. Hronec

Vargův synek

P. Schwartz

Vargův synek

Crew and creators

Director

Jiří Weiss

Second Unit Director

Jiří Mikeťuk

Assistant Director

Jiří Minařík, Marie Kaplanová

Screenstory

Ivan Bukovčan

Director of Photography

Josef Střecha

Second Unit Photography

Bedřich Baťka

Camera Operator

Miroslav Mašek

Production Designer

Bohuslav Kulič

Art Director

Vladimír Dvořák

Set Designer

Zeno Dostál, Jan Turek

Costume Designer

Karel Postřehovský

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Jiří Lenoch

Production Manager

Josef Beran

Unit Production Manager

Hubert Novotný, Olga Himmerová

Unit Production Manager

Libuše Pavlíková, Pokorný František (výroba), Vendelín Jurkovič

Consultant

pplk. Cyril Kuchta

Cooperation

Jana Koubová, Věra Pajmová, Anna Křemenová

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří Srnka

Selected Music

Johann Sebastian Bach (Preludim Es dur)

Music Performed by

Jiří Reinberger /varhany/, FISYO

Songs

V hlbokej doline srnka vodu pije

Singer G. Šiška

Tancuj, tancuj, vykrúcaj

Singer dětský sbor

Production info

Original Title

Zbabělec

Czech Title

Zbabělec

English Title

The Coward

Working Title

Mrtví a živí / Hrdinové nemají umírat

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1961

Production Year

1961

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 25 January 1961
technical Screenplay approved 4 July 1961
start of filming 7 July 1961
end of filming 30 November 1961
projection approval 29 December 1961

Premiere

premiere 13 April 1962

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Studio

Barrandov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Feix – Brož, Miloš Brož (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Karel Feix (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

95 min

Original length in metres

2 703 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

German, Slovak, Russian

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 7. mezinárodní filmový festival Cork

1962
Cork / Ireland
Cena za režii
Jiří Weiss