The Angel of Blissful Death

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1965

Production year

1965

Premiere

4 March 1966

Runtime

83 min

Category

film

Genre

drama, spy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Anděl blažené smrti

Czech title

Anděl blažené smrti

English title

The Angel of Blissful Death

Working title

Anděl šťastné smrti

Summary

A period spy drama from 1965, this film tells the high-suspense story of the search for an archive hidden by the Nazis in the Czechoslovak Highlands of Vysočina before the end of the war. Members of the Czechoslovak counter-espionage service open a case previously shelved for two decades in order to solve the recent murder of a foreign intelligence resident and to capture his minions. In terms of craftsmanship, Anděl blažené smrti (The Angel of Blissful Death) was somewhat of a rarity of its time thanks in no small measure to esteemed screenwriter Jan Procházka, who also collaborated with director Karel Kachyňa when making the 1965 war drama Ať žije republika (Long Live the Republic). Director Štěpán Skalský attempted to increase the veracity of the film by employing an unusual documentary style and by casting lesser-known actors. Skalský later reaffirmed his interest in genre cinema by directing the A. C. Doyle-inspired parody Touha Sherlocka Holmese (Sherlock Holmes’ Desire, 1971) and spy drama Tichý Američan v Praze (Quiet American in Prague, 1977).

Synopsis

Czechoslovak counter-espionage intercepts a coded message from the West German secret service ordering death for an unknown person on Czech territory. Among the unusual deaths that follow in the course of the next few hours, a car mechanic and his girlfriend die in a car whose brakes were apparently damaged. The car belonged to a foreign citizen named Mertens and the car mechanic borrowed it without permission. Mertens is subsequently found dead in his room in a Brno hotel. He was electrocuted by his electric razor, which had been tampered with. The investigators believe a woman agent was involved and reveal that Mertens was in contact with a prostitute nicknamed Show Rose [Šaurůža]; she, however, has nothing to do with the case. The painstaking investigation leads the counter-espionage agents to Věra Weimannová and engineer Radek. The current piece of espionage turns out to be connected to a twenty-year-old unsolved case. Mertens was a spy. His stand-in is arrested on the border and a member of Czechoslovak counter-espionage is substituted. The investigators thus manage to discover the identity of Merten's murderer - the taxi driver Burda. Both he and Radek were personally interested in preventing Mertens from finding what he was searching for - a secret Nazi archive buried in a Moravian cemetery. When the particular cemetery is identified from an old photograph, it comes out that it had been flooded when a new dam was built. Burda, Radek and Weimannová are arrested.

Cast

Zora Božinová

vedoucí květinářství Věra Weimanno

Vlasta Kabelíková

prostitutka Růžena Šnajdrová zvaná Šaurůža

Josef Větrovec

inženýr Vratislav Radek

Josef Husník

muž 1.

Václav Všelicha

fotograf František Knoor

Vladimír Bičík

příslušník StB

Oldřich Celerýn

příslušník StB

Jaroslav Navrátil

příslušník StB

Zdeněk Ornest

příslušník StB

Bohumil Smutný

příslušník StB

Pavel Pípal

příslušník VB

Jana Hlaváčková

sekretářka

Aleš Helcelet

kunsthistorik

Karel Karas

profesor Johann Mertens

Ladislav Ladýř

náčelník

Bohumil Slezáček

odborník VB

JUDr. Jan Šopf

soudce

Jaroslav Kuneš

informátor

Helena Trýbová

telefonistka

Ladislav Lakomý

číšník Jindřich Sklenář

Miroslav Knoz

recepční

Stanislav Wandas

taxikář Alfred Burda

Karel Adam

garážmistr

Lubor Hochmann

technik odposlechu

Vladimír Linka

muž z garáže

Vilém Pruner

náčelník

Milan Pacák

bezpečnostní technik

Št. Petráš

muž s polaroidem

Miroslav Samek

demograf

Bedřich Synek

muž s klotovými rukávy

Klementina Zunová

žena v Ivančicích

J. Franek

mrtvý z fiatu

Nora Tvrzská

mrtvá z fiatu

Commentary

Dubbing

Ilja Prachař

hlas patologa

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Lada Vacková

Assistant Director

Jaroslav Toms

Script Supervisor

Jana Novotná

Screenstory

Jan Procházka

Shooting Script

Štěpán Skalský

Script Editor

Alexandr Kliment

Director of Photography

Stanislav Milota

Second Unit Photography

Eduard Kadeřábek

Camera Operator

Bohumil Rath

Production Designer

Bohumil Pokorný

Assistent Production Designer

Bohumil Dudař

Art Director

Miroslav Kolář (2)

Set Designer

Jiří Čermák, Emanuel Dvořáček, Eva Slívová

Costume Designer

Dagmar Berková

Assistant Film Editor

Růžena Hejsková

Sound Designer

Ladislav Hausdorf

Production Manager

Zdeněk Oves

Unit Production Manager

Josef Císař

Unit Production Manager

Ctibor Jeřábek, Jaroslav Vágner

Consultant

Jiří Batelka, mjr. Vladimír Chylík

Cooperation

Emanuela Peterová (klapka)

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Liška

Production info

Original Title

Anděl blažené smrti

Czech Title

Anděl blažené smrti

English Title

The Angel of Blissful Death

Working Title

Anděl šťastné smrti

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama, spy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1965

Production Year

1965

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 28 December 1964
start of filming 12 May 1965
technical Screenplay approved 30 May 1965
end of filming 5 October 1965
projection approval 9 December 1965

Premiere

premiere 4 March 1966 /unsuitable for youths/ (kina Sevastopol /3 týdny/, Revoluce /1 týden/, Flora /1 týden od 11. 3./, Svornost /1 týden od 18. 3./ a Veletrhy /1 týden od 25. 3./, Praha)
premiere 4 March 1966 /unsuitable for youths/ (celostátní)

Studio

Barrandov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Ladislav Novotný (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

83 min

Original length in metres

2 354 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: Čestný diplom ministerstva vnitra Československé socialistické republiky

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Štěpán Skalský

Vítěz

Event: Čestný diplom ministerstva vnitra Československé socialistické republiky

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Jan Procházka

Vítěz

Event: Čestný diplom ministerstva vnitra Československé socialistické republiky

1966
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Stanislav Milota