Men about Town

comedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

Světáci

Runtime

99

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1969

Production year

1969

Premiere

10.10.1969

Language version

Czech

Director

Zdeněk Podskalský

Screenplay

Vratislav Blažek

Screenstory

Vratislav Blažek

Summary

One of the most beloved Czechoslovak films of the 1960s, Světáci (Men about Town, 1969) tells the story of a trio of married outdoor plasterers, who decide to explore the mysteries of the night-time metropolis. Following some bad experiences in the luxury Diplomat Grill they decide that they want to act just like the local Prague salon-crawlers. And so Skopec, Petrtýl and Prouza get themselves some evening suits and even complete a course in social etiquette and dance held by professor emeritus Dvorský. But when the plasterers-cum-suave-gentlemen finally enchant three elegant beauties, the women have no idea that the men – similarly to themselves – are just putting on a show. One of the most celebrated Czech comedies of its time, Men about Town teams up director Zdeňěk Podskalský and screenwriter Vratislav Blažek, writer of such films as Tři přání (Three Wishes, 1958), Starci na chmelu (Hop-Pickers, 1964), and Dáma na kolejích (The Lady of the Lines, 1966). Leading actor Jiří Sovák also plays a major part in the success of this film. Even for director Podskalský, whose 1960s and 70s filmography is rich with quality, entertaining films, Men about Town represents a truly remarkable accomplishment, in part thanks to its staging and snappy, amusing dialogue. The classic story of the transformation of a common man into a gentleman mixing among high society is naturally only the backbone of a story replete with countless comic moments. In terms of subtext, this light-hearted film also serves as a commentary on the erosion of morals within Czech communist society. Among the strong performances, refined First Republic star Oldřich Nový shines as a former trainer of etiquette, turned librarian. Alongside Sovák (Skopec), Podskalský cast the superb Vlastimil Brodský (Prouza) and Jan Libíček (Petrtýl) as the other two men of the trio. Meanwhile, the female trio are played by Jiřina Jirásková, Iva Janžurová and Jiřina Bohdalová, the latter of whom the director also cast in his films Bílá paní (The White Lady, 1965) and Ženu ani květinou neuhodíš (You Don’t Strike a Woman Even with a Flower, 1966).

Synopsis

Skopec, Prouza, Petrtýl are three country plasterers who are working on the renovation of houses in Prague. They are tempted by the Prague night life, but their first visit to the luxury Diplomat Grill doesn't go too well and in the end they have to escape. But they refuse to give up. They have superior suits made for themselves and pay for training in social graces from the former dance teacher Dvorský. When Dvorský decides that they are already sufficiently well educated, the men set off again for the Diplomat Grill. Here they meet three young girls. They have no suspicion that these are girls of rather easy virtue, who are looking for rich men in the Diplomat Grill with a view to fleecing them. The cloakroom attendant of the Diplomat Grill, who is trying to turn them into "ladies" provides them with cheap lodgings. At a certain time the cloakroom attendant returns home and the girls always force their customers to flee down the scaffolding. The plasterers like the girls and after a merry evening go with them to the cloakroom attendant's flat. This time, however, the old trick doesn't work. When the fun is in full swing, a previously fleeced customer forces his way in with the police. The plasterers jump out of the window hoping to get down the scaffolding, but that very day the renovation of the house has been finished and so they land on the ground. With various sprains and broken limbs they are taken home to their wives by ambulance.

Cast

Jiří Sovák

fasádník Antonín Skopec

Vlastimil Brodský

fasádník Gustav Prouza

Jan Libíček

fasádník Petrtýl

Jiřina Šejbalová

šatnářka Marie Trčková

Oldřich Nový

knihovník Dvorský, emeritní profesor tance

Ilja Prachař

kapitán VB Jaroslav Kraus

Vladimír Menšík

Jaroušek Novák z Hodonína

Otto Šimánek

opilý muž s Marcelou

Jaroslav Moučka

zednický mistr Hovorka

Jiří Lír

prodavač u Adama

Viktor Maurer

vrchní v Diplomat Grillu

Ladislav Křiváček

praporčík VB

Jaroslav Štercl

kabaretní komik

Rudolf Kalina

mistr na stavbě

Karel Hovorka

mistr na stavbě

Josef Bek

elegán ve slamáku

Karel Hála

pianista a zpěvák

Václav Halama

lešenář

Jana Andresíková

slečna za pultem

Jiřina Bílá

mzdová účetní

Otto Budín

novinář

Zdeněk Dítě

ředitel Diplomat Grillu

Oldřich Hoblík

funkcionář

Darja Hajská

maltařka Bártová

Běla Jurdová

návštěvnice v Diplomat Grillu

Josef Chval

číšník s padajícím tácem

Václav Konvička

číšník v Diplomat Grillu

Bohuslav Kupšovský

číšník v Diplomat Grillu

Josef Maršík

číšník v Diplomat Grillu

Josef Žák

číšník v Diplomat Grillu

Milan Neděla

vrátný v Jaltě

Olga Jungová

tanečnice

Jiřina Machalická

tanečnice

L. Smejkalová

tanečnice

Táňa Zavřelová

tanečnice

Karel Pavlík

příslušník VB

Ela Šilarová

sousedka na schodech

Marta Richterová

servírka/slečna s kravatami v salonu Adam

Helena Růžičková

návštěvnice na recepci

Jana Sedlmajerová

servírka v Diplomat Grillu

Iva Šašková

servírka v Diplomat Grillu

Hana Talpová

servírka v Diplomat Grillu

Dana Balounová

dáma s Petrtýlem

Bohumil Zoula

houslista

J. Škabradová

harfenistka

V. Handschuhová

dáma v pokladně

Boleslava Svobodová

manželka

M. Štolcová

studentka

L. Široká

studentka

B. Bláha

student

J. Reichelt

student

J. Ryba

student

O. Březina

zedník

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Jan Mimra

Assistant Director

Irena Vachatová

Shooting Script

Zdeněk Podskalský

Script Editor

Milena Honzíková

Second Unit Photography

Ladislav Chroust

Camera Operator

Jiří Zavřel

Production Designer

Boris Moravec

Set Designer

Jaroslav Lehman, Josef Pavlík

Costume Designer

Irena Greifová

Film Editor

Zdeněk Stehlík

Sound Designer

Josef Vlček

Production Manager

Josef Ouzký

Unit Production Manager

Růžena Hulínská, Jiří Mařas

Unit Production Manager

Vladimíra Kopecká

Cooperation

Ivana Palacká, Miloslava Kostková, Miloš Červinka

Music

Music Composed by

Evžen Illín, Vlastimil Hála

Selected Music

Ludwig van Beethoven (Óda na radost /parafráze Óda na vzdělání/)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Sklípek, Když Praha za noci zazáří neónem, Tak už mi střihli na sako, Hřeším, hřešíš, hřeší

Songwriter

Ladislav Štaidl (Sklípek), Antonín Gondolán (Sklípek)

Writer of Lyrics

Jiří Štaidl (Sklípek)

Singer

Yvonne Přenosilová (Sklípek), Jaroslav Štercl (Když Praha za noci zazáří neónem), Josef Bek (Když Praha za noci zazáří neónem), Karel Hála (Když Praha za noci zazáří neónem), Jiří Jelínek (hudebník) (Tak už mi střihli na sako), Jiřina Jirásková (Hřeším, hřešíš, hřeší), Jiřina Bohdalová (Hřeším, hřešíš, hřeší), Iva Janžurová (Hřeším, hřešíš, hřeší), Waldemar Matuška, Kühnův smíšený sbor, Vokální soubor Lubomíra Pánka, Setleři

Production info

Original Title

Světáci

English Title

Men about Town

Copyright

1969

Production Year

1969

Premiere

10.10.1969

Creative Group

Feix – Brož, Miloš Brož, Karel Feix

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD, HD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 22. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´71

1971
43 měst / Czechoslovakia