Who Wants to Kill Jessie?

comedy, parody

Typology

feature

Czech title

Kdo chce zabít Jessii?

Runtime

79

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production year

1966

Premiere

26.08.1966

Language version

Czech

Director

Václav Vorlíček

Screenplay

Miloš Macourek, Václav Vorlíček

Screenstory

Miloš Macourek, Václav Vorlíček

Summary

There was no place in socialist Czechoslovakia for “low” capitalist entertainment. Nevertheless, films were made that referred to it, not only in parody but with a humorous, creative distance. Examples included the Western Limonádový Joe aneb Koňská opera (Lemonade Joe) (1964), the Bond-style Konec agenta W4C prostřednictvím psa pana Foustky (The End of Agent W4C) (1967), the crime caper „Čtyři vraždy stačí, drahoušku!“ (Four Murders Are Enough, Darling) (1970), the hard-boiled Adéla ještě nevečeřela (Adela Has Not Had Her Supper Yet) (1977), the Vernesque Tajemství hradu v Karpatech (The Mystery of the Carpathian Castle) (1981) – and the comedy Kdo chce zabít Jessii? (Who Wants to Kill Jessie?) (1966). The latter was the feature screenwriting debut of Miloš Macourek and the first of a series of zany comedies on which he worked with director Václav Vorlíček. Alongside the experiments with “Western” models that Jiří Brdečka and Oldřich Lipský went in for, the story centring on the materialisation of dreams enjoys a special status. It amuses viewers by playing with elements that they could not have been familiar at the time, but supplements them with elements that were intelligent and politically satirical. The emancipated associate professor of somnology Beránková (Dana Medřická) invents a machine capable of monitoring and influencing dreams and, spurred by jealousy, uses it on her diffident, unsuccessful husband Jindřich (Jiří Sovák). Three comic-book characters escape from Jindřich’s dreams into reality – the beautiful Jessie (Olga Schoberová) and two baddies: a gunslinger and Superman… The narrative offers a criticism of everything that mankind attempts to manage, perfect and control (including dreams). Its makers develop the witty idea at the formal level: the comic characters don’t speak but express themselves via speech bubbles. The comic book aesthetic spreads to the live action in a broad variety of inventive ways. Cinematographer Jan Němeček and artist Karel Saudek had a significant impact on the film’s visual form. The movie was shot in cinemascope but had to be released in black and white due to the demands of executing the special effects.

Synopsis

In front of a group of foreign scientists, senior lecturer in somnalogy Růženka Beránková demonstrates her invention: a machine capable of seeing and influencing dreams. Meanwhile, her docile and less ambitious husband senior lecturer Jindřich Beránek is not overly successful in constructing a crane with colossal lifting capacity. The foreign scientists at the international symposium watch a laboratory cow as a single injection of the serum frees it from the bothersome horseflies in its dreams. They do not even notice that the insect has materialized in the experimental laboratory. Beránek is absorbed in a comic strip in a scientific magazine, where a seductive girl called Jessie invents special gloves that give great power to anyone who wears them. Her adversary, Superman, tries to steal her invention with the help of the Gunman. Later, in the night, Beránek dreams of single-handedly saving the beautiful girl Jessie. Růženka uses her invention on her fitfully sleeping husband and injects him with the serum out of jealousy. The three comic book figures enter the human world, with a single difference - their "conversation" proceeds in speaking bubbles. The battle continues and Superman demolishes the flat of the Beránek couple's neighbours. The chase continues through the streets. They all get arrested but only Beránek is finally sentenced with three days in prison. The resolute Růženka immediately invents an antiserum. While Jindřich constructs the gloves, his wife turns Superman into her lover. Running away from her, the comic book hero injects himself with the antiserum and is back in the dream. The lovesick scientist follows him. Free at last, Beránek lives with Jessie.

Film online

Cast

Dana Medřická

docentka somniologie Růženka Beránková

Jiří Sovák

docent Jindřich Beránek

Juraj Višný

Superman

Karel Effa

Pistolník, Supermanův pomocník

Jan Libíček

vězeňský dozorce

Valtr Taub

profesor

Bedřich Prokoš

rektor vysoké školy

Ilja Racek

kolega docentky Beránkové

Otto Šimánek

zástupce docentky Beránkové

Čestmír Řanda

prokurátor

Jaromír Spal

předseda soudu

Jan Pohan

velitel policie

Jiří Lír

vyšetřující policista

Richard Lederer

soused Láďa Kokeš

Alena Bradáčová

Kokešova žena

Jiří Steimar

delegát profesor Alfonso

František Holar

ředitel továrny

Jaroslav Kepka

mladičký strážník

Ivo Gübel

diskutující vědec

Vladimír Menšík

zřízenec Kolbaba

Jan Cmíral

topič v krematoriu

Zuzana Martínková

Alena, Beránkova asistentka

Jitka Zelenohorská

Ivana, Beránkova asistentka

Magdalena Rychlíková

Helena, Beránková asistentka

Oldřich Velen

majitel octávie

Helena Růžičková

manželka majitele octávie

Jan Skopeček

řečník v krematoriu

Jan Schmitt

zapisovatel u soudu

Karel Houska

brýlatý kolega Beránkové

Arnošt Bělohlávek

delegát

Vladimír Fürst

delegát

Miloslav Homola

delegát

František Šeba

delegát

Václav Fišer

pomocný dělník

Karel Hovorka

velitel hasičů

Zdeněk Hamouz

hudebník, člen kvarteta

Ivo Husák

hudebník, člen kvarteta

Vilém Linke

hudebník, člen kvarteta

Pavel Novák (2)

hudebník, člen kvarteta

Vladimír Navrátil

novinář v soudní síni

Bedřich Čapek

novinář v soudní síni

Alexandr Horváth

novinář v soudní síni

František Fontén

dozorce

Jiří Hrachovec

dozorce

Milan Kindl

dozorce

Jan Krafka

policista na střeše

Eduard Krützner

hasič

Marie Landová

tlumočnice

Luďa Marešová

asistentka Beránkové

Pavel Robin

policista

Lubomír Kostelka

mistr v továrně

Josef Příhoda

soused v domě

Miroslav Rataj

posluchač

Marta Richterová

žena s fotoaparátem

Jindřich Heidelberg

soudce z lidu

Věra Váchová

soudkyně z lidu

Zora Polanová

sousedka

Jiřina Bílá

sousedka

Alois Dvorský

noční hlídač

Otakar Šindelář

dozorce/delegát

Eva Vosková

kreslička

Miroslava Babůrková

žena v krematoriu

Dubbing

Zdeněk Dítě

hlas souseda Ládi Kokeše

Eva Svobodová

hlas sousedky v okně

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Jaroslav Pour

Assistant Director

Milan Muchna, Eva Mičulková

Shooting Script

Václav Vorlíček

Script Editor

Alexandr Kliment

Second Unit Photography

Karel Hejsek

Camera Operator

Pavel Nečesal

Production Designer

Bohumil Pokorný

Art Director

Karel Saudek

Set Designer

Jaroslav Chytrý, Karel Kočí, Richard Staněk

Costume Designer

Karel Postřehovský

Sound Designer

Adolf Nacházel

Titles Designed by

Karel Saudek

Production Manager

Miloslav Procházka

Unit Production Manager

Richard Němec, Vlastimil Maršálek

Unit Production Manager

E. Kneiblová

Consultant

pplk. Josef Menoušek, MVDr. Yvonne Lambertová, RNDr. Antonín Bürger, RNDr. Jan Minář, MUDr. Miroslav Plzák

Music

Music Composed by

Svatopluk Havelka

Selected Music

Petr Iljič Čajkovskij (Klavírní koncert b moll)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Kdo chce zabít Jessii?

English Title

Who Wants to Kill Jessie?

Working Title

Tajemství žluté komety

Copyright

1966

Production Year

1966

Premiere

26.08.1966

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1966 a obnovená 1982)

Creative Group

Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala, Ladislav Novotný

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 4. mezinárodní festival vědecko-fantastických filmů Terst

1966
Terst / Italy

Vítěz

Festival: 19. mezinárodní filmový festival Locarno

1966
Locarno / Switzerland

Revue

Czechoslovak science-fiction films

Only a handful of films which could be described as of the science fiction variety were made in Czechoslovakia prior to ...