The Phantom of Morrisville

music, parody

Typology

feature

Czech title

Fantom Morrisvillu

Runtime

87

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production year

1966

Premiere

15.07.1966

Language version

Czech

Director

Bořivoj Zeman

Screenplay

František Vlček

Screenstory

František Vlček

Summary

In 1966, Bořivoj Zeman joined the popular trend of making Czech parodies of “capitalist entertainment.” Like the films Limonádový Joe aneb Koňská opera (Lemonade Joe, 1964), Adéla ještě nevečeřela (Adela Has Not Had Her Supper Yet, 1977), and Tajemství hradu v Karpatech (The Mystery of the Carpathian Castle, 1981), Fantom Morrisvillu (The Phantom of Morrisville) provides a contrast by adding a Czech element to an old-world fictional template. The screenwriter was František Vlček, who had already penned the unrivalled parody Pytlákova schovanka aneb Šlechetný milionář (The Poacher's Foster Daughter, 1949). The Phantom of Morrisville also relies on a defunct subgenre – trashy reading material in the style of the English detective novelist Edgar Wallace. The story is framed by a character who is a member of an opera orchestra whose drums are desperately underutilised in Bizet’s Carmen. The musician passes the time by reading a tattered edition of a detective novel – The Phantom of Morrisville by James Harrison. With its hero, Sir Hanibal Morris, he embarks on an exciting adventure set in the eponymous aristocratic mansion, which is full of secret passageways… Before his marriage to the beautiful Clarence, Morris is haunted by his unresolved past in the form of the villainous adventurer Diaz. He has escaped from jail just before he was due to be executed and he sets out for Morrisville with his three henchmen to seek revenge… The musician tries to finish the novel whilst routinely performing his work at the same time. Consequently, the action is interrupted and scenes are stolen by interludes of “real” life. Besides situational gags, dry English humour also plays in important role in the story. The musical numbers are a less fortunate idea. They sound jarring alongside Bizet and they disrupt the stylistic unity of the detective story. Putting Waldemar Matuška in the role of Diaz is an interesting piece of casting (although the popular star at that time was used more organically in Lemonade Joe). Actors who stand out in the apposite cast include Oldřich Nový as Sir Morris/the musician, Vít Olmer as the investigator Allan Pinkerton, Jan Skopeček in the role of the punctilious manservant John, and Květa Fialová as Clarence.

Synopsis

At the Smetana Theatre in Prague, the performance of G. Bizet's opera Carmen begins. Elderly percussionist Emil, playing drums, has plenty of time in the intervals of his routine to read The Phantom of Morrisville and experience great adventures as Sir Hannibal. - Inspector Brumpby and the young crime reporter Allan Pinkerton attend Hannibal's wedding with beautiful Clarence. After the ceremony, Clarence's ex-husband, criminal Manuel Diaz, who was believed dead, shows up in her room. He wants to get his hands on Clarence and, most importantly, on the money she would inherit in the eventuality of her new husband's death. Diaz makes attempts on Hannibal's life. He knows his way about an underground labyrinth in the chateau and the traps he sets up for Hannibal seem to work, since Hannibal is apparently found dead after an explosion in the labyrinth, after which his body vanishes. The inspector tries to solve the countless mysteries. In this, he is joined by Allan, always ahead of the man of the law in his estimation and judgement of the situation. However, the two men face some death-defying situations. Luckily, Allan always manages to cope with everything. A man wearing the mask of the Phantom, the disguised Sir Hannibal himself, also helps them a great deal. Finally, it all ends well. Allan even confesses his love to beautiful secretary Mabel and then a mysterious lady reveals that Allan is the son of Lord Hannibal. - The performance of Carmen is over, the conductor borrows the novel from Emil. The musician's wife waits for her husband and takes him home.

Note

The book that the musician is reading in the film is entitled The Phantom of Morrisswille (its title is different fromt that of the film).

Film online

Cast

Oldřich Nový

sir Hanibal Morris/hudebník Emil

Květa Fialová

Clarence Hamiltonová, Hanibalova snoubenka

Jana Nováková

Hanibalova sekretářka Mabel

Vít Olmer

reportér Allan Pinkerton

Waldemar Matuška

dobrodruh Manuel Diaz

Jaroslav Marvan

inspektor Brumpby ze Scotland Yardu

Jan Skopeček

sluha John

Jaroslav Rozsíval

Dixi zvaný Čahoun

Jaroslav Heyduk

Drummond zvaný Růženka

Otto Šimánek

Miki zvaný Kuřátko

Vlasta Fabianová

dáma v šedém

Lubomír Kostelka

Ind Abú, strážce tygrů

Rudolf Deyl ml.

corroner

Nataša Gollová

lady Whiteová, majitelka útulku pro nenapravitelné zločince

Bohuš Záhorský

vydavatel novin M. C. Pelham

Josef Kozák

oddávající pastor

Karel Pavlík

ceremoniář

Miroslav Abrahám

mladší muž

Olga Augustová

dáma s třešněmi

Josef Baloun

varhaník

František Brychta

vedoucí chovanců

Marie Rosůlková

harfenistka Helena, Emilova žena

Miroslav Homola

mahárádža

Milan Kindl

zahradník Hans van Kakrlak

Libuše Knapová

ošetřovatelka

Jan Křička

svatebčan

Karel Hovorka

svatebčan

Dana Reimová

svatebčanka

Ela Šilarová

svatebčanka

Marie Popelková

svatebčanka

Václav Wasserman

svatebčan

Jirousková

svatebčanka

Tumpach

svatebčan

Rudolf Kvasnica

dirigent

Josef Příhoda

starý lord

Marie Grossová

stará lady

Zdeněk Skalický

holohlavý pán

Vladimír Linka

vyzáblý pán

Arnošt Truc

důstojník

František Svačina

trpaslík-topič

Magda Maděrová

žena v lóži

Vladimír Navrátil

řidič v livreji

Zuzana Burianová

sekretářka u Pellhama

Dubbing

Eva Klepáčová

hlas Hanibalovy sekretářky

Eva Klepáčová

hlas sekretářky u Pelhama

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Mojmír Ticháček

Assistant Director

Jaroslav Toms, Irena Klausová

Second Unit Photography

Jan Kváča

Camera Operator

Bohumil Paris

Production Designer

Bohumil Pokorný

Set Designer

Dvořák Josef (výprava), Vojtěch Palek, Karel Průcha

Costume Designer

Jan Skalický

Sound Designer

Roman Hloch

Production Manager

Jiří Bečka

Unit Production Manager

Olga Mimrová, Josef Hudlička

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslava Pražská

Cooperation

Marcela Jakubcová, Růžena Hejsková, Bohumil Dudař

Music

Music Composed by

Julius Kalaš

Selected Music

Georges Bizet (opera Carmen), Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (Svatební pochod)

Music Performed by

FISYO, Orchestr Václava Hybše

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Vteřino stůj, Hou, hou, Prázdná náruč, Náměsíčník, Pojďte, kočky, Aleluja

Songwriter

Julius Kalaš (Vteřino stůj), Julius Kalaš (Hou, hou), Julius Kalaš (Prázdná náruč), Julius Kalaš (Náměsíčník), Julius Kalaš (Pojďte, kočky), Julius Kalaš (Aleluja)

Writer of Lyrics

Ivo Fischer (Vteřino stůj), Ivo Fischer (Hou, hou), Ivo Fischer (Prázdná náruč), Karel Hrnčíř (Náměsíčník), Ivo Fischer (Pojďte, kočky), Ivo Fischer (Aleluja)

Singer

Waldemar Matuška (Vteřino stůj), Waldemar Matuška (Hou, hou), Waldemar Matuška (Prázdná náruč), Oldřich Nový (Náměsíčník), Waldemar Matuška (Pojďte, kočky), Waldemar Matuška (Aleluja), sbor (Aleluja)

Production info

Original Title

Fantom Morrisvillu

English Title

The Phantom of Morrisville

Working Title

Fantom Morrisvillu aneb Píseň děsu

Copyright

1966

Production Year

1966

Premiere

15.07.1966

Creative Group

Šebor – Bor, Vladimír Bor, Jiří Šebor

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech