Death behind the Curtain

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production year

1966

Premiere

17 March 1967

Runtime

85 min

Category

film

Genre

crime

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Smrt za oponou

Czech title

Smrt za oponou

English title

Death behind the Curtain

Working title

Anděl hraje na violu

Summary

In 1966, director Antonín Kachlík expressed an interest in the popular detective genre. His adaptation of the novel Anděl hraje na violu (An Angel Plays the Viola) by Pavel Hejcman offered spectators the attractive setting of the theatre. A team of investigators look into the murder of prima ballerina Havlová (Květa Fialová). Captain Chrástek (in an unusual role for Miroslav Horníček) eventually finds himself on the trail of an international gang trafficking heroin from France to Italy via Czechoslovakia. The gang even has members among the theatre’s staff… Jaroslav Satoranský plays the part of Chrástek's colleague Mareček. The popular singer Valdemar Matuška – who took on numerous acting assignments during the 1960s – plays French trafficker Orbigny. Smrt za oponou (Death behind the Curtain, 1966)was also filmed in the former East Germany.

Synopsis

The members of an organization of heroin smugglers are sending a consignment of the drug from France into Italy by a new route through Sweden, East Germany and Czechoslovakia. - In the Fibich Theatre in Prague the atmosphere is nervous before a ballet premiere. The performance is interrupted at the very beginning. The prima ballerina Milada Havlová is found dead in her dressing room. The autopsy and analyzis of a syringe show that Havlová has taken a lethal dose of heroin. Captain Chrástek, who is entrusted with the investigation, is convinced that the case is one of murder. Questioning and other searches in the theatre reveal all kinds of interests and intrigues that might hold the key to Milada's death. During a search of Havlová's flat, heroin is found in her powder compact. Chrástek is also interested in the implications of a box of sweets that was send to Havlová but delivered to the theatre after her death. It leads Chrástek to the Čedok travel agency and Alena Volná, a guide on trips to Rügen. Alena at first conceals the fact, but after her partner in Germany tries to strangle her, she confesses that she brought Havlová packages from East Germany. Hearing her testimony it is clear to Chrástek that the whole case concerns an international gang of smugglers that have a collaborator in the theatre. He therefore sets a trap for the murderer, and catches the choreographer Laube and his partner from abroad.

Film online

Cast

Miroslav Horníček

kapitán Chrástek

Jaroslav Satoranský

poručík Mareček

Jiří Mikota

nadporučík Antoš

Květa Fialová

tanečnice Milada Havlová

Lenka Fišerová

tanečnice Jana Pilátová

Gabriela Vránová

průvodkyně zájezdů Alena Volná

Stanislav Šimek

tanečník Procházka

Lubomír Lipský

choreograf Laube

Ilja Prachař

ředitel divadla Macek

Josef Langmiler

dirigent Krejčí

Jiří Vršťala

pašerák Filip Lavedan

Waldemar Matuška

pašerák Orbigny

Hannjo Hasse

německý policista Hans Kreibe

Karel Pavlík

kriminalista Havlíček

Marie Rovenská

důchodkyně Otílie Jelínková

Květoslava Houdlová

Jitčina matka

Bohuš Pastorek

kriminalista Pirko

František Kubíček

vrátný Kotásek

Alena Kaslová

Dubbing Alena Kreuzmannová
tanečnice Krista Máchová

Josef Stehlík

děda Vlasák, domovní důvěrník

Alexej Kusák

Ital

Arthur Jopp

velitel námořní policie

Věra Chocová

tanečnice

Jana Heyduková

tanečnice

Milan Ječmínek

tanečník

Eva Kaprálová

tanečnice

Eva Hřebenářová

tanečnice

Jarmila Kostlivá

tanečnice

Miroslava Krčálová

tanečnice

Miroslav Kydlíček

tanečník

Petr Novák (2)

tanečník

Jiří Paclík

tanečník

Ludmila Rašpličková

tanečnice

Zdeněk Sudek

tanečník

Věra Sudková

tanečnice

Dana Špédlová

tanečnice

Pavel Vitinger

tanečník

Zdeňka Zvonařová

tanečnice

Jiří Žalud

tanečník

Marie Plášilová

tanečnice

P. Režná

tanečnice

Kaštánková

tanečnice

Marie Štichová

kostymérka

Jan Baloun

pianista

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Miroslav Kubišta

Assistant Director

Jaroslav Toms

Script Supervisor

Lilian Havlíčková

Based on

Pavel Hejcman (Anděl hraje na violu – kniha)

Shooting Script

Antonín Kachlík

Script Editor

Věra Kalábová

Director of Photography

Jan Němeček

Second Unit Photography

Karel Hejsek

Camera Operator

Pavel Nečesal

Production Designer

Milan Nejedlý

Assistent Production Designer

Jiří Hlupý

Set Designer

Oldřich Halaza, Ludmila Sovová, František Zajíček

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Assistant Film Editor

Eva Lichtensteinová

Sound Designer

Ladislav Hausdorf

Production Manager

Jiří Bečka

Unit Production Manager

Martin Günther Britting, Josef Hudlička, Olga Mimrová

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslava Pražská

Cooperation

Pavla Marková (klapka)

Music

Music Composed by

Vladimír Sommer

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Choreographer

Věra Untermüllerová

Danced by

Balet Divadla J. K. Tyla v Plzni

Songs

Divocí koně

Songwriter Karel Mareš
Writer of Lyrics Jan Schneider
Singer Waldemar Matuška

Production info

Original Title

Smrt za oponou

Czech Title

Smrt za oponou

English Title

Death behind the Curtain

Working Title

Anděl hraje na violu

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

crime

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production Year

1966

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 30 March 1966
technical Screenplay approved 24 June 1966
start of filming 23 July 1966
end of filming 19 October 1966
projection approval 28 December 1966

Premiere

premiere 17 March 1967 /suitable for youths/ (celostátní)
premiere 24 March 1967 /suitable for youths/ (kina Metro /4 týdny/ a Kotva /1 týden/, Praha)

Studio

Hostivař

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

85 min

Original length in metres

2 412 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, French

Subtitles languages

Czech

Opening/End credits languages

Czech