The Incredibly Sad Princess

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1968

Production year

1967

Premiere

7 June 1968

Runtime

83 min

Category

film

Genre

music, fairytale

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Šíleně smutná princezna

Czech title

Šíleně smutná princezna

English title

The Incredibly Sad Princess

Summary

Director Bořivoj Zeman gained a reputation as a timeless storyteller with films including Pyšná princezna (The Proud Princess, 1952) and Byl jednou jeden král… (Once Upon a Time, There Was a King..., 1954). This well-earned prestige was again consolidated in 1968, when Zeman co-wrote the screenplay for Šíleně smutná princezna (The Incredibly Sad Princess, 1968) with František Vlčka. The pair had already worked together on the comedy set in a trade union convalescence centre, Anděl na horách (Angel in the Mountains, 1955), and also on the exuberant parody Fantom Morrisvillu (The Phantom of Morrisville, 1966). Zeman’s timeless versatility also shines in this fairytale, which very much reflects the growing sense of freedom felt by Czechs during the Prague Spring (the film premiered in June 1968). The moods of the time are reflected in a similar manner to several of the author’s 1950s fairytales, which served as a quintessential example of the Stalinist-era cinematography of Czechoslovakia. In 1968, the then 56-year-old director utilised the popularity of two contemporary pop stars – Helena Vondráčková and Václav Neckář – who play an eternally squabbling but loving pair. Also of note is the fact that the two main characters share the same first names as the actors who portray them: Princess Helena and Prince Václav are the descendants of neighbouring royal families. Their fathers, Kings Dobromysl (Bohuš Záhorský) and Jindřich (Jaroslav Marvan), merged the royal houses through marriage some years ago. The discordant youngsters, who barely know each other, have no intention of sticking to this pre-arranged marriage. But in the end, they fall in love when they mutually conceal their identities from each other (similarly to Krasomila and Miroslav in 1952’s The Proud Princess). The stubborn Helena decides to force the issue of the marriage, deciding to play out the role of the sad princess in front of her father Dobromysl. The plan is that this loving father will give away his daughter to the “noble saviour” without knowing that he is the son of King Jindřich. But the advisors to both kings, Ypsilon and Iks respectively, cause trouble. Opposed to a marriage between the royal houses, they instead set the two families against each other in open conflict. But everything turns out fine in the end thanks to common sense and the help of a kind nanny. Graphic designer and illustrator Jiří Winter Neprakta provides the film with a modern aesthetic, as does music and song composer Jan Hammer Jr., then aged just twenty.

Synopsis

King Henry the Just and King Dobromysl the Merry have promised each other years before that their children Václav and Helena would marry when they grew up. The young people do not, however, intend to fall in with their plans. On his journey to Dobromysl's kingdom Václav therefore runs away from his father, in order to take a look at the possible bride. When he is trying to find a way to get into the castle secretly, he meets a charming young girl, but he is immediately arrested and thrown into prison. The girl who has so caught the fancy of the crazy young man visits him in the dungeons, but doesn't reveal to him that she is the princess. Václav, who has fallen in love with her, doesn't reveal his identity either. Meanwhile confusion is reigning at the court of Helena's father, and the king's counsellors Y and X are cooking up schemes to prevent the marriage of the royal children. Helena's father makes it clear to his daughter that she cannot marry a commoner. Helena begins to play the part of a sad princess, in order to force her father to agree to her marriage to the unknown young man. Dobromysl appeals to all the men in the country to try to get his daughter to laugh. Václav escapes from prison, but not even Václav can succeed in curing Helena, because she secretly sniffs at a horseradish and instead of smiling she weeps. The prince is imprisoned again and by unhappy chance both kings and the princess get stuck in the cell with him. It is here that everyone finds out the truth for the first time. But no one has the key and meanwhile X and Y are starting a war. The door is finally opened by the nurse. The young people stop the war and there is nothing standing in the way of their happiness.

Note

At the beginning the role of king Dobromysl was performed by Rudolf Deyl ml., but he quitted for health reasons.

Cast

Helena Vondráčková

princezna Helena

Václav Neckář

princ Václav

Bohuš Záhorský

král Dobromysl řečený Veselý, Helenin otec

Jaroslav Marvan

král Jindřich řečený Spravedlivý, Václavův otec

Josef Kemr

rádce-generál Iks

Darek Vostřel

rádce-generál Ypsilon

František Dibarbora

kat a žalářník

Oldřich Dědek

ceremoniář a obveselovatel Kokoška z Kokoří

Branislav Koreň

hostinský Janek od Vola

Ondrej Jariabek

Václav, voják krále Dobromysla

Jozef Kuchár

Josef, voják krále Jindřicha

Karel Effa

fialový nápadník

Antonín Jedlička

žlutý nápadník

Bohuslav Kupšovský

dvořan-komoří

Josef Braun

Martin zvaný Chechták

Antonín Klimeš

právník s knihou

Jan Pixa

ceremoniář-člen poselstva

Vítězslav Černý

zbrojnoš/generál krále Jindřicha

František Fontén

zbrojnoš

Karel Pavlík

zbrojnoš

Viktor Riebauer

zbrojnoš

Jiří Štancl

zbrojnoš

L. Semerád

zbrojnoš

Jaroslav Kladrubský

jezdec

Milan Jonáš

venkovan s vozem/cirkusák

Josefa Pechlátová

babička s pletením

Oskar Hák

kuchař

František Šeba

rádce

Rudolf Veselý

dvořan

Jiřina Bílá

dvorní dáma

Jiřina Hautová

dvorní dáma

Milena Kaplická

dvorní dáma

Luďa Marešová

dvorní dáma

Marie Popelková

dvorní dáma

Blažena Vernerová

dvorní dáma

Králíková

dvorní dáma

Jan Cmíral

cirkusák

Beda Lak

cirkusák

Jaroslav Horký

pochop

J. Jurenko

pochop

Josef Borovian

číšník

V. Štengl

číšník

Balzer

číšník

Václav Štádler

fotograf siluet

V. Dobeš

střapatý kluk

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Jiří Hraběta

Assistant Director

K. Berdychová

Script Supervisor

Marie Beránková

Shooting Script

Bořivoj Zeman

Director of Photography

František Valert

Second Unit Photography

Rudolf Holan

Camera Operator

Pavel Nečesal

Production Designer

Boris Moravec

Assistent Production Designer

Miloš Červinka

Art Director

Neprakta (kresby)

Set Designer

Karel Lukáš, Karel Smrž, Václav Zavřel

Costume Designer

Jan Skalický

Make-Up Artist

Otakar Košťál, Alena Lojíková, K. Němec

Assistant Film Editor

Růžena Hejsková

Sound Designer

Adolf Nacházel

Production Manager

Jiří Pokorný

Unit Production Manager

Václav Dobeš, Vlasta Synkulová

Unit Production Manager

Vlasta Mathauserová

Cooperation

Helena Machová (klapka), Jaroslav Trousil (fotograf)

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Hammer ml.

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Štěpán Koníček),

Songs

Znám jednu starou zahradu

Songwriter Jan Hammer ml.
Writer of Lyrics Ivo Fischer
Singer Václav NeckářHelena Vondráčková

Jedním tahem

Songwriter Jan Hammer ml.
Writer of Lyrics Ivo Fischer
Singer Václav Neckář

Kujme pikle

Songwriter Jan Hammer ml.
Writer of Lyrics Ivo Fischer
Singer Darek VostřelJosef Kemr

Slza z tváře padá

Songwriter Jan Hammer ml.
Writer of Lyrics Ivo Fischer
Singer Helena Vondráčková

Já už to vím

Songwriter Jan Hammer ml.
Writer of Lyrics Ivo Fischer
Singer Václav NeckářHelena Vondráčková

Production info

Original Title

Šíleně smutná princezna

Czech Title

Šíleně smutná princezna

English Title

The Incredibly Sad Princess

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

music, fairytale

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1968

Production Year

1967

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 6 March 1967
technical Screenplay approved 31 May 1967
start of filming 11 July 1967
end of filming 7 November 1967
the first film copy approved 18 March 1968
projection approval 8 April 1968

Premiere

premiere 7 June 1968 /suitable for youths/
renewed premiere 2 December 2021 /suitable for all ages without limit/

Studio

Barrandov, Hostivař

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1968), Národní filmový archiv (obnovená 2021)

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Feix – Brož, Miloš Brož (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Karel Feix (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

83 min

Original length in metres

2 442 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm, DCP 2-D, BRD

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Event: 3. výroční ceny DAVID pro nejlepší DVD video roku 2006 – DVD Group.cz

2007
Plzeň / Czech Republic
BONTONFILM a.s.

Vítěz

Event: Televizní anketa diváků o nejpopulárnější českou filmovou komedii století – anketa České televize a Týdeníku Televize Volíme veselohru století

1998
Praha / Czech Republic