A Jester's Tale

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production year

1963—1964

Premiere

18 December 1964

Runtime

82 min

Director

Karel Zeman

Category

film

Genre

historical, comedy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Bláznova kronika

Czech title

Bláznova kronika

English title

A Jester's Tale

Working title

Dva mušketýři

Summary

The exceptional qualities of Karel Zeman’s motion pictures were not only achieved thanks to the support of artistic and technical concepts provided by the director’s film crew, the contributing screenwriters were also essential to his output. It was Pavel Juráček who, along with Zeman, penned the screenplay for the anti-war tragicomedy Bláznova kronika (A Jester’s Tale) made in 1964. Juráček left an indelible mark on Czechoslovak filmmaking of the 1960s. In the making of A Jester’s Tale, a film that marries a historical theme with timeless absurdity, Juráček firmly linked Zeman’s work with the Czechoslovak New Wave. The trio of main protagonists – young villager Petr (Petr Kostka), recruiting officer Matěj (Miloslav Holub) and their female friend Lenka (Emília Vášáryová) – try hard to keep their lives, freedoms and cheerfulness amid the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War. This highly acclaimed film is another demonstration of the ability of Karel Zeman and his team to both charmingly and ingeniously combine live action with animation.

Synopsis

It is the year 1625, the time of the Thirty Years War. Bohemia is divided into two camps. On the one side stands the Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand II, on the other, the Danish King Christian IV. The press-gang of armies of both rulers search for men for their troops. Among those captured is the young villager Petr; the soldiers hustle him into uniform and Matěj, the King's officer of the press-gang, ties him to his horse. In an unguarded moment Petr runs away but falls into hands of the other army, the one of the emperor. Along with him, Matěj is also captured. For Matěj, however, military service always means the same. He just turns his coat inside out, and, all of a sudden, turns himself into a soldier in the emperor's service. One day, the two musketeers lose their way and find an abandoned wagon with a trunk containing precious objects and suits. Petr is not interested in gold and sets off to go his way alone. He meets a destitute girl named Lenka. Soon, Matěj catches up with them, pursued by a squad of soldiers. Petr promptly puts on a beautiful suit, Matěj again turns his coat inside out and Lenka becomes a clown. But this time, Matěj selected the wrong side, and the trio falls into hands of the imperial army. On the manor of the emperor's supporters, they are handled variously, depending on which side is winning at the moment. Petr has a special position, for they want to marry him to the young Countess Veronika. Lenka who loves Petr, however, does not give up her boyfriend. Eventually, all three manage to escape and experience many adventures before they reach happiness.

Cast

Miloslav Holub

verbíř Matyáš z Babic zvaný Matěj

Valentina Thielová

komtesa Veronika

Karel Effa

hejtman Varga z Koňousova

Eva Šenková

hraběnka, matka Veroniky

Eduard Kohout

hrabě, otec Veroniky

Vladimír Menšík

dvorní malíř

Čestmír Řanda

vachtmajstr

Jiří Holý

španělský důstojník

Josef Haukvic

císařský mušketýr

Ota Žebrák

ansfeldovský důstojník

Václav Švec

hradní stráž

Martin Raus

císařský důstojník

Ladislav Gzela

hradní stráž

Alois Dvorský

strážný na hlásce

Stanislav Ebens

mušketýr

Otakar Moučka

mušketýr

Marie Hübschová

dvorní dáma

Zdeňka Balounová

dvorní dáma

Olga Světelská

dvorní dáma

Miriam Kantorková

dvorní dáma

O. Nosková

dvorní dáma

Jiří Lanský

rváč

Evelyna Stryhalová

kurtizána

Alois Müller

velitel stráže

Jan Libíček

vozka-verbíř

Jiří Lukeš

princátko

Božena Köhlerová

děvečka

O. Kulčycká

děvečka

Oldřich Stodola

posel poražených

Otto Ohnesorg

generál

Václav Podhorský

císařský mušketýr

Jindřich Poledňa

halapartník

Jiří Šindelář (4)

zbrojnoš

Pavel Robin

Vargův mušketýr

Zdeněk Skalický

císařský mušketýr

Antonín Soukup

hradní stráž

Zdeněk Týle

sluha hraběte

Miloslav Průša

šermíř

I. Černohorský

šermíř

J. Černohorský

šermíř

K. Palivec

šermíř

V. Nádvorník

šermíř

Zdeněk Vašek

mušketýr

Jiří Zach

generál

Ervín Zolar

opilý strážce

Commentary

Crew and creators

Director

Karel Zeman

Second Unit Director

Bohumil Brejcha, Miroslav Kubišta

Assistant Director

Eliška Doubková, Jana Rozbrojová

Screenstory

Karel Zeman

Commentary by

Radovan Krátký

Script Editor

Václav Nývlt

Director of Photography

Václav Huňka

Second Unit Photography

Zdeněk Prchlík

Camera Operator

Bohumil Paris

Production Designer

Zdeněk Rozkopal

Set Designer

Dvořák Josef (výprava), David Jan (2), Vojtěch Palek

Costume Designer

Jiří Jaška

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Roman Hloch

Special Effects

Arnošt Kupčík, František Krčmář, Bohuslav Pikhart, Zdeněk Ostrčil, Josef Zeman

Production Manager

Josef Ouzký

Unit Production Manager

Růžena Hulínská, Václav Dobeš

Unit Production Manager

Jiří Mařas

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Novák (skladatel)

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín),

Choreographer

Luboš Ogoun

Songs

Tomášku, člověče, tvé mládí uteče

Songwriter Jan Novák
Writer of Lyrics Ludvík Kundera
Singer Olga Schoberová [dab]

Víno je nejvěrnější z kumpánů (Pijácká)

Songwriter Jan Novák
Writer of Lyrics Ludvík Kundera
Singer Miloslav Holub [dab]Rudolf Pellar

Production info

Original Title

Bláznova kronika

Czech Title

Bláznova kronika

English Title

A Jester's Tale

Working Title

Dva mušketýři

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

historical, comedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production Year

1963—1964

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 1 November 1962
technical Screenplay approved 31 January 1963
start of filming 26 June 1963
end of filming 22 June 1964
projection approval 25 August 1964

Premiere

premiere 18 December 1964

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv

Studio

Barrandov, Kudlov Gottwaldov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Šmída – Fikar, Ladislav Fikar (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Bohumil Šmída (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

82 min

Original length in metres

2 333 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,66

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

Exhibition: 2. mezinárodní týden fantastických filmů a hororů Sitges

1969
Sitges / Spain

Vítěz

Festival: 6. mezinárodní filmový festival Montréal

1965
Montréal / Canada

Vítěz

Event: 5. mezinárodní setkání filmů pro mládež Cannes

1965
Cannes / France

Vítěz

Event: 5. mezinárodní setkání filmů pro mládež Cannes

1965
Cannes / France

Vítěz

Festival: 5. festival veselí Viennale

1965
Vídeň / Austria

Vítěz

Event: 5. mezinárodní setkání filmů pro mládež Cannes

1965
Cannes / France

Vítěz

Festival: 2. mezinárodní filmový festival Addis Abeba

1964
Addis Abeba / Ethiopia

Vítěz

Festival: 8. mezinárodní filmový festival San Francisco

1964
San Francisco / United States of America
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Festival: 8. mezinárodní filmový festival San Francisco

1964
San Francisco / United States of America

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