The Stolen Airship

fantastic

Typology

feature

Czech title

Ukradená vzducholoď

Runtime

88

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production year

1966

Premiere

28.04.1967

Language version

Czech

Director

Karel Zeman

Screenplay

Karel Zeman, Radovan Krátký

Summary

Director Karel Zeman rediscovered the adventurous, imaginative world of French author Jules Verne for Czechoslovak audiences on a number of occasions: after Vynález zkázy (An Invention for Destruction, 1958) he undertook a loose adaptation of the novel Dva roky prázdnin (Two Years’ Vacation, 1888). Despite initially planning to have it fall within a five-part series Tajuplný svět Julia Verna (The Mysterious World of Jules Verne), the legendary director would only go on to make one further picture, namely Na kometě (On the Comet, 1970), the highly melancholic tone of which differentiates it from the character of the series, framed for young audiences. However, his previous effort, Ukradená vzducholoď (The Stolen Airship, 1966), is very much in the earlier spirit. Its main protagonists – similarly to Zeman’s live-action feature film debut Cesta do pravěku (A Journey into the Primeval Times, 1955) – are a group of inquisitive young boys. Five friends set out for Prague’s Výstaviště exhibition hall to attend the 1891 Jubilee Exhibition. By chance, they find themselves aboard the airship of entrepreneur Findejs (Čestmír Řanda) – now a far-off trip awaits the boys. The voyage commences but results in the airship crashing on an exotic island in the middle of the ocean. The Robinson Crusoe-esque adventure features skirmishes with pirates and a meeting with the mysterious Captain Nemo. Fortunately, the lads meet a happy end when they are found and returned home by a rescue ship. The script, co-written by Zeman and Radovan Krátký, brings forth a playful atmosphere for young audiences, and also reflects the powerful imagination of its director. As with Vynález zkázy (An Invention for Destruction), Ukradená vzducholoď (The Stolen Airship) once again inventively combines live-action and animated sequences, with a production design based around the original illustrations of Verne’s novels. The film is also brought to life with a crucial ironic and kind-hearted tone, which enables Verne’s technological wizardry to be retroactively transformed into a nostalgic technological spectacle. Zeman’s world is full of bizarre inventions, but its playful tones also have an ironic undercurrent critical of bourgeois hypocrisy, while it also underscores the director’s beloved anti-war and anti-militarisation stance (attuned to the ideological trends of the time). Adult actors František Filipovský, Josef Větrovec and Eduard Kohout appear alongside the film’s young stars.

Synopsis

It is the year 1891. Five boys leave by mistake from the Prague Jubilee Exhibition in the airship of entrepreneur Findeys. After their departure, Findeys claims that the boys stole the airship along with the patent for producing a non-flammable gas of immense significance especially for the army. The boys are therefore accused of high treason and felony in absentio. They, however, do not have any idea about this and have to make a compulsory landing on an island, finding shelter in the cave of Captain Nemo. One of the boys, Jakoubek, writes a letter about their rescue and throws it in a bottle to the sea. His message gets to the hands of military functionaries who consider it a coded report. The place of the boys' landing is discovered by Marek, a smart journalist, who immediately organizes a rescue expedition. In the meantime, the boys manage to repair the airship and Jakoubek takes off for an experimental flight. A ship lands on the island shores, bearing the wealthy gentleman Tenfield and his niece Katka on board. The boys help them to defeat the pirates who are among the members of the ship's crew. Jakoubek brings over the rescue expedition and the group of five curious and brave boys victoriously returns home.

Note

Two errors of the script occured in the course of filming: the son of the public prosecutor Dufek is addressed as Tomáš by his friends, but his mother mentions him as Jaroušek. The name of the editor of the Světozor magazine is Marek in some scenes and Ardan in another. The opening animated part of the film captures several historical periods in abbreviated form; what all the events have in common is that adults are angry with little boys.

Cast

Michal Pospíšil

Jakoubek Kurka

Hanuš Bor

Tomáš Dufek

Jan Čížek

Martin Král

Josef Stráník

Petr Málek

Jan Malát (2)

Pavel Málek

Jitka Zelenohorská

Katka Tenfieldová

Čestmír Řanda

majitel vzducholodi Findeys

Stanislav Šimek

redaktor Marek /Ardan/

Josef Větrovec

kapitán lodi

Jan Teplý

pirát Walstone

Rudolf Deyl ml.

Tenfield, Katčin strýc

Jana Sedlmajerová

sekretářka Renata

Václav Babka

kormidelník Evans

Věra Macků

zpěvačka Marie Králová, Martinova

Marie Brožová

Jakoubkova babička

Miloslav Holub

prokurátor Dufek, otec Tomáše

Eva Kubešová

Dufkova žena, matka Tomáše

Václav Švec

kapitán Nemo

Eduard Kohout

generál

Zdeněk Dítě

plukovník

Ladislav Navrátil

švec Kurka, Jakoubkův otec

Václav Trégl

šéfredaktor Světozoru

Jaroslav Štercl

policejní komisař

Karel Effa

Gustav, agent č. 13

Zdeněk Braunschläger

zamaskovaný agent č. 13

Miroslav Homola

velitel štábu

Antonín Soukup

starý námořník

Štěpánka Řeháková

komorná u Dufkových

Jan Kraus

kamelot

Jaroslav Mareš

komediant Málek, otec Petra a Pavla

Táňa Blažejová

tanečnice

A. Kvapilová

tanečnice

Jana Lipovská

tanečnice

Dagmar Veselá

tanečnice

Václav Podhorský

námořník

Vladimír Linka

policista

Štěpán Novotný

dubl

Jiří Svárovský

dubl

Dubbing

Jan Tříska

hlas redaktora Marka

Jaroslav Moučka

hlas kormidelníka Evanse

Zdeněk Štěpánek

hlas kapitána Nema

František Hanus

hlas velitele štábu

Oldřich Musil

hlas starého námořníka

Crew and creators

Director

Karel Zeman

Second Unit Director

Milan Vácha

Assistant Director

Karel Kovář, Zdenka Barochová

Based on

Jules Verne (Dva roky prázdnin /Deux ans de vacances/ – román)

Shooting Script

Karel Zeman

Second Unit Photography

Miroslav Sinkule

Production Designer

Jaroslav Krška, Zdeněk Ostrčil

Art Director

Karel Zeman

Set Designer

Václav Kozel, František Straka

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Special Effects

Arnošt Kupčík, František Krčmář, Josef Zeman

Production Manager

Petr Čapek, Zdeněk Stibor

Unit Production Manager

Dana Dudová, Jindřich Dvořák, Václav Dobeš

Unit Production Manager

Martin Baroch

Consultant

Jan Čep (2)

Cooperation

Jana Cunderlová, Josef Valušiak, Jana Šimůnková, Jindřich Goetz

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Novák

Selected Music

František Kmoch (Na motoru – kvapík), Johann Strauss ml. (Císařský valčík)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Já ďábla přemáhám, Má roztomilá Baruško

Singer

Jitka Zelenohorská (Já ďábla přemáhám), Rudolf Deyl ml. (Má roztomilá Baruško)

Production info

Original Title

Ukradená vzducholoď

English Title

The Stolen Airship

Working Title

Dva roky prázdnin / Ostrov kapitána Nemo

Copyright

1966

Production Year

1966

Premiere

28.04.1967

Creative Group

Švabík – Procházka, Jan Procházka, Erich Švabík

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: Filmový festival pro vzbuzení zájmu Aubervilliers

2002
Aubervillers / France

Vítěz

Exhibition: Přehlídka českých a slovenských filmů 69 Sorrento

1969
Sorrento / Italy
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Exhibition: 3. mezinárodní přehlídka filmů pro děti a mládež Rimini

1968
Rimini / Italy

Vítěz

Festival: 5. mezinárodní festival Addis Abeba

1968
Addis Abeba / Ethiopia

Vítěz

Event: Odměna vedení Československého filmu za nejúspěšnější film roku 1966

1967
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Zeman

Vítěz

Festival: 2. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti Teherán

1967
Teherán / Iran