How to Get Rid of Helen

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1967

Production year

1967

Premiere

12 January 1968

Runtime

74 min

Category

film

Genre

tragicomedy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Jak se zbavit Helenky

Czech title

Jak se zbavit Helenky

English title

How to Get Rid of Helen

Summary

Ilona Borská’s story Vdovec po snu provided screenwriter Zdeněk Mahler with the basis for a tragicomedy about relationships in which an innocent joke degenerates into black-humoured drama. The narrative’s protagonist is Petříček, a radio announcer with a velvety voice. Colleagues fabricate the character of Helena, who is presented as a sensitive admirer. Petříček’s spirited, emancipated colleague Viki is behind supposed phone calls and letters from Helena. The joke, taken to the extreme, naturally affects Viki too – and almost destroys the ageing, lonely broadcaster... Despite the dramatically overdone ending, director Vaclav Gajer’s motion picture primarily delivers internally harmonised, precise acting. The main roles are taken by Václav Voska and Jiřina Jirásková. She is particularly excellent when it comes to the sophisticated dialogues in the fake calls made to Petříček.

Synopsis

Radio announcer Petříček reads the evening news in a studio. Viki, the female editor of a woman's programme, is annoyed by the stereotypical information he provides as well as by the speaker's melodious voice and his heart-felt performance. Then she gets an idea for a joke. She calls the speaker from the neighbouring room on the phone and pretends to be an unhappily married woman who draws all her strength to live from Petříček's voice. The fifty-year old bachelor is intrigued by the conversation. At work, the divorced thirty-five-year old Viki appears to be a witty and independent woman sarcastically commenting on everything around her. The sports editor who courts her encourages her to continue with her joke. Viki begins to write letters to Petříček in which she confesses to him about her loneliness. The speaker responds to the unknown woman named Helenka with tape recordings which he sends to a poste restante address. Viki, however, is indeed lonesome and unhappy, and invites Petříček for a date to the Central Railway Station. The man spots her there but has no idea that this is the Helenka and hides from her. The disappointed Viki writes him a letter saying farewell to him before committing suicide. Petříček, desperate, gets drunk and attacks a policeman. The doctor at the detention centre where Petříček ends up informs him of the address of the only woman named Helen who died that night. At the funeral of the unknown woman, Petříček starts a scandal with her husband. Viki eventually confesses to Petříček about all the circumstances and they are both sentenced to two weeks' imprisonment for infringement of the public order. In the prison lounge, the two lonesome people finally have a decent conversation - about Helenka.

Cast

Václav Voska

hlasatel Petříček

Jiřina Jirásková

Viki, redaktorka ženského vysílání

Eduard Cupák

sportovní redaktor

Consuela Morávková

rozhlasová technička

Hana Brejchová

hlasatelka Marcelka, Petříčkova kolegyně

Josef Kemr

profesor Slavík

Viola Zinková

kantýnská Helenka

Jan Libíček

rozhlasový technik

Ferdinand Krůta

zemědělský redaktor

Vladimír Stach

zřízenec pohřební služby

Nina Popelíková

žena v seznamovací kanceláři

Stanislav Litera

příslušník VB

Eva Foustková

zřízenkyně s poštou

Jan Diviš

redaktor

Elena Hálková

dáma se psem

Vladimír Navrátil

směnař v rozhlase

Antonín Jedlička

on sám, strýček Jedlička

Josef Svátek

režisér

Václav Halama

opilec v hospodě

Emil Iserle

hlídač v parku

Alois Vachek

úředník u poste restante

Jan Teplý

příslušník VB v kanceláři

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Václav Matějka

Assistant Director

Jaroslav Toms

Script Supervisor

Irena Klausová

Based on

Ilona Borská (Vdovec po snu – povídka)

Screenplay

Zdeněk Mahler

Shooting Script

Václav Gajer

Script Editor

František Kožík

Director of Photography

Jaroslav Tuzar

Second Unit Photography

Alexandr Rašilov

Camera Operator

Antonín Vojáček

Production Designer

Vladimír Labský

Assistent Production Designer

Marta Kaplerová

Set Designer

Václav Šebek, Ludmila Sovová, František Zajíček

Film Editor

Zdeněk Stehlík

Sound Designer

Jiří Kejř

Production Manager

Jiří Bečka

Unit Production Manager

Josef Hudlička, Olga Mimrová

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslava Pražská

Cooperation

Kateřina Reimanová (klapka)

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Selected Music

Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Štěpán Koníček)

Production info

Original Title

Jak se zbavit Helenky

Czech Title

Jak se zbavit Helenky

English Title

How to Get Rid of Helen

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

tragicomedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1967

Production Year

1967

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 10 February 1967
technical Screenplay approved 28 March 1967
start of filming 24 April 1967
end of filming 17 July 1967
projection approval 13 October 1967

Premiere

premiere 5 January 1968 /suitable for youths/ (kina Sevastopol /2 týdny/, Mír /1 týden od 21. 1./ a Letka /1 týden od 2. 2./, Praha)
premiere 12 January 1968 /suitable for youths/ (celostátní)

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

74 min

Original length in metres

2 097 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