The Defendant

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production year

1963

Runtime

90 min

Category

film

Genre

drama, psychological

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Obžalovaný

Czech title

Obžalovaný

English title

The Defendant

Summary

In the first half of the 1960s, Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos made their socially most significant cinematic works. These included the WWII dramas Smrt si říká Engelchen (Death Is Called Engelchen) and Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street) as well as Obžalovaný, a psychological drama set in the period the film was made. The two directors recast the socialism-building dimension of the original novel by Lenka Hašková into a disturbing testimony on the reality of socialism – which in 1969 was irrevocably doomed to end under the censor’s lock and key. The protagonist of this story set in a courtroom is Kudrna, a hard-working honourable director of a hydroelectric power station. Under pressure from his superiors, he has made the greatest possible effort to put the new hydro plant into operation as soon as possible. His subordinates, however, have taken this as an opportunity to steal assets, resulting in one employee hanging himself. The innocent Kudrna’s trial reveals the abuse of law and how the ruling party and the justice system are interwoven... Shining in the title role of this excellently conceived film is the then not very well known Slovak actor Vlado Müller. Kudrna’s lawyer is performed by the emerging Jiří Menzel and the public prosecutor is played by an excelling Miroslav Macháček.

Synopsis

Three defendants are brought to the regional court: Director Josef Kudrna and his subordinates - engineer Potůček and clerk Zelenka. They are being tried for the unlawful appropriation of national property, which was discovered during an audit at the construction site of a power plant in Blahovice. The financial loss caused by the unjustified disbursements of bonuses amounts to approximately five million crowns. Zelenka and Potůček indeed grew rich personally, assigning bonuses to themselves and giving shares from the unjustly paid money to other employees. They confess to their crime. The situation with Kudrna is different. This honest and immensely industrious man, who worked his way up from being a worker to his recent position, first does not admit any guilt to himself. Shattered, he learns only in court that his deputy Ludl, who was responsible for the finances and made the unlawful appropriation possible, has hanged himself. Kudrna was pushed by the ministry to meet the final term of the power plant's construction at any cost and gave orders for bonus payments for workers to encourage them to work harder. He, however, signed some documents submitted to him by his subordinates without reading them. The construction was finished in time, without even spending the whole budget. The inspection, called for by the chairman of the Factory Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, nevertheless found the aforementioned irregularities in the bookkeeping. Zelenka and Potůček are sentenced to jail for many years. However, Kudrna, whose sentence is very low and corresponds to the period of his detention, rejects his verdict, feeling equally responsible for the whole matter.

Film online

Cast

Vlado Müller

ředitel Josef Kudrna

Zora Jiráková

Kudrnova manželka

Martin Štěpánek

Kudrnův syn

JUDr.Jaroslav Blažek

předseda senátu

Pavel Bártl

soudce z lidu Kábrt

Milan Jedlička

soudce z lidu František Duchoň

Miroslav Macháček

okresní prokurátor

Jiří Menzel

obhájce František Horáček

Kamil Bešťák

obhájce Hruška

Jiří Schulz

obhájce Miroslav Procházka

Pavel Spálený

inženýr Richard Potůček, obžalovaný

Richard Lederer

úředník Karel Zelenka, obžalovaný

Jiří Michný

svědek Rezek

Stanislav Fišer

svědek Kolek, odborový funkcionář

Štefan Petrák

svědek Vondruška

Vladimír Ptáček

svědek Vaňátko, předseda ZV KSČ

Ota Sklenčka

inženýr Jan Kalista, bývalý ředitel

Jaroslav Dufek

svědek Karel Křivánek, montér z Kladna

Jindřich Narenta

odborný znalec z ministerstva

Josef Somr

vězeň-lékař Schwarcz

Blanka Bohdanová

redaktorka Ekonomických rozhledů Dobešová

Jiří Bruder

redaktor Práce Bureš

Vlastimil Fišar

redaktor Rudého práva Šmíd

Ota Žebrák

spoluvězeň Meduna

Elmar Klos

staršina

Stanislav Zindulka

vězeňský lékař-kapitán

Gustav Vondráček

holič ve vězení

Ivana Skaláková

zapisovatelka

Sylva Byšická

Duchoňová

Jiří Chalupa (2)

zdravotník

Luděk Marold

Dubbing Čestmír Řanda
náměstek na ministerstvu

Otto Ohnesorg

zřízenec

Ladislav Zápotocký

dědeček Kudrna

Maria Secová

uklízečka

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Juraj Herz

Assistant Director

René Mattes, Zdena Pavlátová

Based on

Lenka Hašková (Obžalovaný – novela)

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

Set Designer

Václav Kozel, František Straka, Václav Zavřel

Sound Designer

Miloš Alster

Production Manager

Ladislav Hanuš

Unit Production Manager

Jaromír Lukáš, Luděk Marold

Unit Production Manager

Jordan Balurov

Cooperation

Jana Těžká (klapka), Diana Heringová

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Liška

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Songs

Jede Kudrna okolo Brna

Songwriter lidová píseň
Writer of Lyrics lidová píseň
Singer Jiří Michný

Production info

Original Title

Obžalovaný

Czech Title

Obžalovaný

English Title

The Defendant

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, psychological

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production Year

1963

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 13 June 1963
technical Screenplay approved 15 July 1963
start of filming 18 August 1963
end of filming 23 November 1963
projection approval 18 February 1964

Premiere

gala premiere 25 February 1964 (kino Blaník, Praha)
preview 28 August 1964 (kino Sevastopol /1 týden/, Praha)
premiere 4 September 1964 /unsuitable for youths/ (kino Lucerna /4 týdny/, Praha)
premiere 2 October 1964 /unsuitable for youths/ (celostátní)
renewed premiere 1 October 1988 /suitable for youths/

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Studio

Barrandov

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1964 a obnovená 1988)

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

90 min

Original length in metres

2 549 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: Hlasování o Cenu nejlepšímu zahraničnímu filmu uvedenému v polské distribuci v roce 1965 – Syrena 1965

1966
Varšava / Poland

Vítěz

Event: Anketa československých filmových distributorů za rok 1964

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1964

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Vlado Müller

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Elmar Klos

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Ján Kadár

Vítěz

Festival: 15. filmový festival pracujících

1964
31 měst / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Ján Kadár

Vítěz

Festival: 15. filmový festival pracujících

1964
31 měst / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Vladimír Valenta

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary

1964
Karlovy Vary / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1963

1964
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Elmar Klos