Death Is Called Engelchen

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1963

Production year

1962—1963

Premiere

3 May 1963

Runtime

129 min

Category

film

Genre

drama, war

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Smrt si říká Engelchen

Czech title

Smrt si říká Engelchen

English title

Death Is Called Engelchen

Summary

This psychological drama was adapted for the screen in 1963 by co-writer-directors Elmar Klos and Ján Kadár. It is based on a 1959 autobiographical novel by Slovak author Ladislav Mňačko. The project overshadowed a previous 1960 Slovak television adaptation directed by Ivan Balaďa, and starring Ivan Mistrík. Set at the end of World War II, young partisan Pavel (Jan Kačer) is seriously injured. While lying in hospital, he thinks back over the preceding months of drama and turmoil. Kačer offers a convincing performance, adding dimensions of self-doubt and guilt to the ostensibly heroic fighter. Much of Pavel’s guilt stems from the fact that a SS unit headed by Nazi officer Engelchen has liquidated the inhabitants of two mountain villages for helping partisan forces. The film explores a number of complex moral questions, not just through the eyes of Pavel, but also through his love interest Marta (Eva Poláková).

Synopsis

At the end of the Second World War the Red Army liberates Zlín, and partisan brigades are coming down from the surrounding mountains and arriving with it. The young partisan Pavel wants to track down the commander of a punitive SS commando, Engelchen, to avenge his fallen comrades and the cruelly slaughtered inhabitants of two small mountain villages. There is an exchange of fire and Pavel is seriously wounded in the back. He finds himself in a hospital in the care of the timid nun Alžběta and a rough but capable doctor. The doctor does not conceal from Pavel the fact that his operation may have lasting complications. For the moment the young man is paralyzed and in fevered dreams and conversations with Alžběta he remembers his wartime experiences. The partisan brigade had been in action in the mountains, hiding first in Leskovec and then in Paseky. They managed to take a young German lieutenant prisoner. Although his soldiers had surrendered, he knew where the partisans were and therefore had to be executed. In Paseky Pavel had meetings with the beautiful Marta, who was living a double life. She worked as a secretary at the German command, but in reality was passing on information to the partisans. The love affair between Marta and Pavel has been distorted by war. The woman comes to bid farewell to Pavel in the hospital. She cannot bear the thought of living out her life as the target of the hatred of people who know nothing about her. Pavel manages to train himself to walk again and leaves the hospital to hunt down the hated Engelchen.

Film online

Cast

Jan Kačer

partyzán Pavel Kubec

Eva Poláková

sekretářka Marta

Blažena Holišová

řádová sestra Alžběta, ošetřovatelka

Pavel Bártl

sovětský partyzán Dimitrij Astapov

Ezard Hausmann

německý poručík

Otto Lackovič

partyzán Ondra

Vlado Müller

partyzánský velitel Nikolaj

Oľga Adamčíková

vesničanka Rožková zvaná máma

Čestmír Řanda

sedlák Alois Kroupa

Ota Sklenčka

četník Bárta

Wanda Spinka

venkovské děvče Jožina

Oto Ševčík

dezertér Willy

Michal Kožuch

udavač Cyril Konečný

Antonín Molčík

partyzán Toník

Valtr Taub

německý generál

Ervín Zolar

dezertér Martin

Norbert Chotaš

sturmbannführer SS Engelchen

Alex Jandouš

poddůstojník

Helena Kotoučová

matka Jožiny

Emil Rohan

předseda očistné komise Vaněk

Josef Stehlík

Rožek

Jaroslav Moučka

řidič Vytiska

Jozef Príhoda

Alexej

Karel Vavřík

hostinský

Václav Podhorský

partyzán

Karel Hovorka

partyzán

Karel Bezděk

partyzán

Jiří Hurych

partyzán

Karla Svobodová

děvčátko z Pasek

Edmund Orián

partyzán v německé uniformě

Jiří Hurych

partyzán oznamující vypálení Pasek

Ladislav Bacílek

německý voják na pancéřovém voze

Dubbing

Věra Tichánková

hlas venkovské ženy

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Stanislav Černý

Assistant Director

Karel Čáslavský

Script Supervisor

Věra Vláčilová

Based on

Ladislav Mňačko (Smrt si říká Engelchen – román)

Shooting Script

Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos

Director of Photography

Rudolf Milič

Second Unit Photography

Josef Pechar

Camera Operator

Jiří Širc

Production Designer

Boris Moravec

Assistent Production Designer

Zbyněk Hloch

Costume Designer

Lída Novotná

Sound Designer

František Černý, Bohumír Brunclík (zvukové efekty)

Production Manager

Josef Ouzký

Unit Production Manager

Růžena Hulínská, Jiří Mařas

Unit Production Manager

Ctibor Jeřábek

Consultant

plk. Alois Bíca, Jan Ondrovčák, prof. Vladimír Beneš

Cooperation

Jana Cunderlová (klapka), Dagmar Rašilovová, Diana Heringová, Eva Lichtensteinová

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Liška

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Songs

Sbor poutníků z 1. dějství opery Tannhäuser

Songwriter Richard Wagner
Writer of Lyrics Richard Wagner
Singer Oto Ševčík

Wir werden weiter marschieren

Songwriter Hans Baumann
Writer of Lyrics Hans Baumann
Singer sbor

Okolo Hradce

Songwriter lidová píseň
Writer of Lyrics lidová píseň
Singer sbor

Vsaď se holka, vsaď se se mnou

Singer Pavel Bártlsbor

Production info

Original Title

Smrt si říká Engelchen

Czech Title

Smrt si říká Engelchen

English Title

Death Is Called Engelchen

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, war

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1963

Production Year

1962—1963

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 15 March 1961
technical Screenplay approved 28 March 1962
start of filming 3 April 1962
end of filming 6 January 1963
projection approval 23 February 1963

Premiere

premiere 3 May 1963 /unsuitable for youths/ (celostátní)
preview 3 May 1963 (kino Sevastopol /1 týden/, Praha)
premiere 10 May 1963 /unsuitable for youths/ (kina Lucerna /3 týdny/, Radost /½ týdne/, Bystrica /½ týdne od 17. 5./ a Revoluce /1 týden od 24. 5./, Praha)
renewed premiere 1 December 1989 /unsuitable for youths/

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Studio

Hostivař

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1963 a obnovená 1989)

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

129 min

Original length in metres

3 679 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech, German, Slovak, Russian

Subtitles languages

Czech

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Elmar Klos

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Ján Kadár

Vítěz

Event: 1. soutěž o hudební dílo vytvořené pro film v roce 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Zdeněk Liška

Vítěz

Event: Čestná uznání Československého filmu a Svazu československých divadelních a filmových umělců z produkce roku 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Státní ceny za rok 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Ladislav Mňačko

Vítěz

Festival: 1. mezinárodní festival mírových filmů Los Alamos

1963
Los Alamos / United States of America

Vítěz

Festival: 3. mezinárodní filmový festival Moskva

1963
Moskva / Russia

Vítěz

Festival: 1. mezinárodní festival mírových filmů Los Alamos

1963
Los Alamos / United States of America
Eva Poláková