The Star Called Wormwood

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production year

1964

Premiere

26 February 1965

Runtime

84 min

Director

Martin Frič

Category

film

Genre

drama, historical, war

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Hvězda zvaná Pelyněk

Czech title

Hvězda zvaná Pelyněk

English title

The Star Called Wormwood

Summary

An actual event – the bloodily suppressed rebellion at Rumburk military barracks in 1918 – provided the basis for this stylish historical drama made by veteran of the director’s chair Martin Frič. The film, released in 1964, follows the fates of several characters who become entangled in the ill-fated insubordination. Soldiers returning from captivity in Russia hope the barracks is merely a stopover on their way home. Once in Rumburk, they taste the free life of “civvy street” again and believe the war is over for them. But senseless military drills and the news that they are to return to the frontline ignite a revolt inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia… Despite some ideological bias in the film, Frič created an impressive piece of art with an indisputably high-quality cast dominated by Jiřina Bohdalová's performance as bar singer Tonka. It is one of her rare but masterfully delivered serious roles.

Synopsis

At the end of May 1918, released prisoners return to the Rumburk garrison from Russian captivity, hoping that the war is over for them. The only thing they want is to get their withheld soldier's pay and then go home. In the meantime, they take pleasure in having fun in the local wine cellar The Northern Rose [U Růže severu] and listen and watch the temperamental Tonka sing and dance. In an odd way, she gets close to the soldier Noha. The civilian inhabitants suffer from hunger and shortages. In the barracks and on the training grounds, however, the Austrian drill continues. Its brutal and absurd character is more and more often becoming the cause of the soldiers' discontent. Upon hearing the spreading news that they should return to the front, a rebellion breaks out. The returnees from Russia, influenced by the The October Revolution, already know what to do - and immediately occupy the gendarme's post and the post office. Guarding the railway station is the responsibility of the undisciplined private Červenka. But before he gets there, he cannot resist stopping in the favourite wine cellar and the Sergeant Klozberg reports to Litoměřice about rebellion. Červenka also causes a disharmony among the soldiers. While the minority, on Noha's advice, leave by train to join the workers, the majority, headed by Corporal Vodička, a humanistic idealist, and private Červenka, sets off home on foot. On the way, they are ambushed by the 18th battalion that was sent from Litoměřice and find themselves in the midst of a fight. All the soldiers who had thrown away their weapons earlier at Vodička's call are captured, as well as the returnees with Noha. Three of them - Vodička, Koval and Noha - are sentenced to death. The rest of the Rumburk garrison is indeed sent to the front in a few days.

Film online

Cast

Jiřina Bohdalová

zpěvačka Tonka

Vlasta Matulová

majitelka vinárny paní Hilda

Rudolf Deyl ml.

střelec František Noha, bývalý artista

Jiří Sovák

vojín Emil Červenka

Radoslav Brzobohatý

kaprál Stanislav Vodička /desátník

Jan Tříska

střelec Lojzík Hlas

Martin Růžek

závodčí Vojtěch Kovář

Josef Větrovec

vojín Josef Pelnář

Jaroslav Mareš

voják Karel Werner

Gustav Heverle

vojín Kolařík

Jaroslav Raušer

hauptman Dicker /hejtman, kapitán/

Čestmír Řanda

feldvébl Klozberg /rotmistr/

Bohumil Švarc

oberleutnant Čekal /nadporučík/

Bedřich Prokoš

hauptman Flibor, velitel 18. regimentu

Štěpán Bulejko

feldkurát /polní kurát/

Jan Pohan

generálův pobočník

Blažena Slavíčková

poštovní úřednice

Mirko Čech

skladník

Karel Kocourek

telegrafista

Josef Šulc

svobodník

Libuše Mincová

hudebnice ve vinárně

Jana Řídká

hudebnice ve vinárně

Ela Šilarová

hudebnice ve vinárně

Věra Ublová

hudebnice ve vinárně

L. H. Struna

voják s knírem

Zdeněk Braunschläger

maďarský voják

Mirko Musil

voják s triedrem

Richard Záhorský

voják pivař

Vladimír Hlavatý

pucflek Wenzel

K. Kvasnička

povstalec

Eduard Hauptman

důstojník

Vladimír Pospíšil

voják vtipálek

Crew and creators

Director

Martin Frič

Second Unit Director

Václav Berdych

Assistant Director

Jiří Stránský, Zdena Štekrová

Shooting Script

Martin Frič

Director of Photography

Jaroslav Tuzar

Second Unit Photography

Milan Duda

Camera Operator

Emil Hora

Production Designer

Jan Zázvorka

Set Designer

Rudolf Beneš, Svatopluk Čech, Vladimír Mácha, Petr Škorpil

Film Editor

Jan Kohout

Sound Designer

Emanuel Formánek

Production Manager

Rudolf Fencl

Unit Production Manager

Marie Poledníková, Jiří Kamarýt

Unit Production Manager

Zbyněk Bartoš

Consultant

plk. Alois Bíca

Music

Music Composed by

Dalibor C. Vačkář

Selected Music

Johann Strauss ml. (Na krásném modrém Dunaji)

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín), Ústřední hudba Československé lidové armády

Songs

Když jsme byli v Itálii

Songwriter Karel Hašler
Writer of Lyrics Karel Hašler
Singer Jiřina Bohdalová

Šup sem, šup tam

Singer sbor

Anduličko

Songwriter Karel Hašler

Páni, dámy, jen do toho

Singer Jiřina Bohdalová

Točte se, pardálové

Singer Jiřina Bohdalová

Dvacetikoruna není tak veliká /Všecky myši za sebou/

Songwriter John Gollwell
Singer sbor

Nemelem, nemelem

Singer sbor

Bílý kvíteček

Songwriter Karel Hašler

Pětatřicátníci

Songwriter Karel Hašler

Okolo Hradce

Songwriter lidová píseň
Writer of Lyrics lidová píseň
Singer sbor

Andulko šafářova

Songwriter František Kmoch

Hej, Slované

Songwriter lidová slovenská píseň
Writer of Lyrics Samo Tomášik
Singer sbor

Šly panenky silnicí

Na tom pražském mostě

Songwriter lidová píseň

Production info

Original Title

Hvězda zvaná Pelyněk

Czech Title

Hvězda zvaná Pelyněk

English Title

The Star Called Wormwood

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, historical, war

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production Year

1964

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 27 June 1962
technical Screenplay approved 5 November 1963
start of filming 29 May 1964
end of filming 13 September 1964
projection approval 3 December 1964

Premiere

premiere 26 February 1965

Studio

Barrandov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Šebor – Bor, Vladimír Bor (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Jiří Šebor (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

84 min

Original length in metres

2 393 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech, German

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Martin Frič

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Procházka

Vítěz

Event: Ceny Trilobit 1964

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiřina Bohdalová