The Assassination

drama, historical

Typology

feature

Czech title

Atentát

Runtime

100

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1964

Production year

1964

Premiere

20.08.1965

Language version

Czech

Director

Jiří Sequens

Screenplay

Miloslav Fábera, Kamil Pixa, Jiří Sequens

Screenstory

Miloslav Fábera, Kamil Pixa, Jiří Sequens

Summary

Dramatic events tied to the assassination of Nazi Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich inspired a remarkable film in 1964, brought to life by director Jiří Sequens. The most celebrated title in his extensive filmography, it depicts Operation Anthropoid, the biggest and most important mission carried out by the anti-fascist resistance under the Czechoslovak government in-exile of President Edvard Beneš. Unlike other films of its era exploring Second World War themes, Atentát (The Assassination) did not note the role the communist resistance played in the fight against Nazism. For that reason, the screenplay could not be approved in the late 1950s and was not realised until after the easing of political censorship. But to show that in the Protectorate there were other effective forms of resistance was of course in 1964 too daring. The film reconstructs the preparation for the operation, its implementation in May 1942, the harsh repression that followed Heydrich’s death and the frantic search for the perpetrators – the paratroopers who successfully carried out the assassination – and the disclosure of their hideout and the taking of their own lives. Sequens shot the film in black and white and a widescreen format, and reconstructed the events with the precision of a documentarist. During the production use was made of a series of frames based on photographs from the Gestapo’s archives (the positions of cars on the street also played an important role for him), the testimony of witnesses and many other sources. Shooting from the actual spot where the events took place also helped the director obtain a realistic result. The film in this way preserved images of the places where the assassination and related events unfolded (despite the topography having changed due to later construction). The names of the paratroopers, however, were altered for the film (instead of Kubiš, Gabčík and Valčík, the protagonists are called Král, Strnad and Vyskočil). The dedication of the true fallen heroes was captured by actors Radoslav Brzobohatý, Rudolf Jelínek and Ladislav Mrkvička, respectively.

Synopsis

It is autumn 1941. Acting Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich has taken up his position in the occupied Czech lands and Moravia. His old rival from the Nazi supremoes, Admiral Canaris, objects to Heydrich's cruelty, which raises great hatred everywhere he goes. Meanwhile, selected Czechoslovak soldiers undergo paratrooper training in Great Britain; the soldiers are then to be dropped into Czech territory to support the local resistance. Several groups of well-trained men will soon see their homeland. They succeed in contacting members of the resistance and find a hiding place in Prague. They manage to contact the command in Britain via transmitter. The required air-raid on the Škoda factory in Plzeň fails. Heydrich and Canaris visit the St Vitus' Cathedral and the Reichsprotector capriciously puts the crown of the Bohemian kings on his head - an act which, as the legend goes, will bring him death. Two of the soldiers - Strnad and Vyskočil - assassinate Heydrich. They step in front of his car, severely wound the Protector and run away. Heydrich dies and the revenge of the occupying forces is horrendous. Hundreds of citizens are executed. The village of Lidice is burnt to the ground and all its inhabitants are massacred. Due to the betrayal of one of the paratroopers, Karel Vrbas, the Nazis find the church where the others are hiding. All those who had hitherto provided them a shelter are arrested and executed. The paratroopers, however, do not give up and those who survive the fire fight kill themselves rather than surrender.

Note

According to Mr Sequens, the director, the participants in the assassination of the Acting Reichsprotektor Heydrich act in the movie under the cover names which were assigned to them in Great Britain. Their personal documents, necessary for survival in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during the Second World War, were issued under these names.

Film online

Cast

Radoslav Brzobohatý

nadporučík Král

Rudolf Jelínek

rotmistr Strnad zvaný Ota

Ladislav Mrkvička

rotmistr Vyskočil zvaný Zdeněk

Luděk Munzar

nadporučík Sedlák

Josef Vinklář

rotný Karel Vrbas

Siegfried Loyda

zastupující říšský protektor Reinhard Heydrich

Harry Studt

admirál Canaris

Wolf Goette

esesák Jacobi, šéf SD v protektorátu

Gerhard Rachold

sturmbannführer Görke

Jiří Kodet

rotmistr Toušek zvaný Jožka

Vlastimil Čaněk

rotmistr Zelinka

Jaroslav Dufek

rotmistr Tolar zvaný Jirka

Václav Kutheil

Hrubý

Pavel Molčík

Sedláček

Jiří Holý

velitel odbojářů Ondra Pavelka

Jaroslav Moučka

odbojář Vašek

Petr Oliva

Víťa Otradovec, spojka

Jiří Vršťala

plukovník čs. armády ve Velké Británii

Vlasta Matulová

Otradovcová, Víťova matka

Vladimír Hlavatý

odbojář Otradovec, Víťův otec

Oldřich Velen

gestapák Sleicher

Gustav Heverle

kapitán čs. armády ve Velké Británii

Eduard Dubský

plukovník Horst

Alex Jandouš

důstojník SS

Ivo Foustka

gestapák Panwitz

Pavel Robin

gestapák

Richard Záhorský

státní sekretář Karl Hermann Frank

Ludmila Dyrová

radistka

Věra Kalenská

radistka

Milada Lukašovská

radistka

Josef Trousílek

Klein II.

mjr. Miroslav Barták

velitel SS

Jiří Cimický

důstojník SS

Karel Černoch

promítač

Jaroslav Ciboch

anglický major

Oto Ševčík

důstojník SD u mapy

Jan Neubert

anglický důstojník

Vladimír Navrátil

důstojník SS

Vladimír Machek

anglický instruktor

Jan Laibl

gestapák Löscher

Jaroslav Krupař

důstojník RAF

Pavel Kvasnička

sluha Heydricha

Ing. Křížek

Himmler

Jiří Hein

příslušník SS

Jindřich Chmela

šermíř

Josef Šolc

šermíř

Ladislav Gzela

trafikant

Harald Halgardt

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Otakar Fuka

Assistant Director

Jindřich Mastik, Jana Novotná

Shooting Script

Jiří Sequens

Second Unit Photography

Josef Pechar

Camera Operator

Jiří Širc, Josef Pávek

Production Designer

Karel Lier

Set Designer

Miloslav Dvořák, Jiří Čermák, Libor Speychal

Costume Designer

Libuše Hozová

Film Editor

Jan Chaloupek

Production Manager

Zdeněk Oves

Unit Production Manager

Jiří Beránek, Vilém Henzel

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslav Vágner

Consultant

pplk. Miroslav Pelc , mjr. Novák , mjr. Vladimír Machek , mjr. Miroslav Barták , kpt. Klusáček , pplk. Trylč

Cooperation

Marie Koubková, Jana Suková, Libuše Jahodová

Music

Music Composed by

Miloš Vacek

Selected Music

Ludwig van Beethoven (Symfonie č.5 c moll /Osudová/)

Songs

Škoda lásky, Mám já milou za vodou

Songwriter

Jaromír Vejvoda (Škoda lásky)

Writer of Lyrics

Otakar Fuka (Mám já milou za vodou)

Singer

mužský sbor (Mám já milou za vodou)

Production info

Original Title

Atentát

English Title

The Assassination

Copyright

1964

Production Year

1964

Premiere

20.08.1965

Creative Group

Šmída – Fikar, Ladislav Fikar, Bohumil Šmída

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Cena Národního výboru hlavního města Prahy 1965

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Sequens st.

Vítěz

Event: 7. mezinárodní kongres Mezinárodní unie filmových technických sdružení Praha

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Cena Národního výboru hlavního města Prahy 1965

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Miloslav Fábera

Vítěz

Event: Cena Národního výboru hlavního města Prahy 1965

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Kamil Pixa

Vítěz

Festival: 6. mezinárodní filmový festival Soluň

1965
Soluň / Greece

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Sequens st.

Vítěz

Festival: 4. mezinárodní filmový festival Moskva

1965
Moskva / Russia

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Sequens st.

Vítěz

Event: Výroční ceny Víta Nejedlého 1965

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Sequens st.

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Kamil Pixa

Vítěz

Festival: 16. filmový festival pracujících

1965
32 měst / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Event: Umělecká soutěž k 20. výročí osvobození Československa

1965
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Miloslav Fábera