On the Comet





Production year



9 October 1970


75 min


Karel Zeman




fantastic, special effects


featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Na kometě

Czech title

Na kometě

English title

On the Comet

Working title

Archa pana Servadaca


Following the films Vynález zkázy (An Invention for Destruction, 1958) and Ukradená vzducholoď (The Stolen Airship, 1966), artist and director Karel Zeman returned for the third and final time to the works of visionary French writer Jules Verne. This loose adaptation of the 1877 novel Off on a Comet is also a distinctive combination of live-action and animated sequences, inspired by the original illustrations found in Verne’s books. Similarly to his well-received previous films, Zeman once again presents Verne’s world through ironic, but heartfelt tones in this 1970 motion picture. The novel relates an adventure tale in which a group of brave characters travel the solar system, revealing to readers some of the contemporary knowledge of our cosmic backyard. But Zeman and screenwriter Jan Procházka took the story of the bold Captain Hector Servadac and interpreted this tale as one bringing forth Old World nostalgia, while picking up on its contemporary elements of widespread social intolerance. The young geometrician lead character is a member of a French garrison in an African colony whose inhabitants are resisting usurpers. There is also a sheikh, who has no qualms about joining forces with the Spanish consulate. But the bloody battle is interrupted by the arrival of a comet, which tears off a section of the earth’s crust, and takes it off on an adventure to the planet Mars. Unlike the novel on which it is based, the film also features an additional love story component featuring Hector and the beautiful Angelica. With an approach familiar from his previous works, the ballad-like Na kometě sees Karel Zeman not just focusing his attentions on the great visuals, but also on a terrific cast. Emil Horváth and Magda Vášáryová take the lead roles, supported by the likes of František Filipovský, Vladimír Menšík and Jiřina Jirásková. But the lion’s share of the task of bringing to life this complex Zeman project was assumed by cinematographer Rudolf Stahl – working for the first time with the director – and also by special effects maestro Bohuslav Pikhart. The latter worked with Zeman on the aforementioned two Verne adaptations as well as on Baron Prášil (Baron Műnchausen, 1961) and Bláznova kronika (A Jester's Tale, 1964). Na kometě (On the Comet) received an award at the Venice Film Festival (CIDALC Award and Medal Biennale), and ultimately became the last Zeman feature film to contain live-action elements.


Lieutenant Servadac, a member of the French garrison in an African colony, is intrigued during his walk by a portrait of a beautiful girl in the marketplace. While delineating the seashore, Servadac falls into the sea. He cannot swim but luckily he is saved by Angelica, a girl as like as two peas to the girl from the portrait, who has just managed to escape a group of kidnappers from a steamboat. An unprecedented phenomenon appears in the sky – a second sun, which is in fact a comet. Servadac takes Angelica to the citadel, where Colonel Picard has also invited the Spanish consul, unaware that the consul has been conspiring with the sheikh and the natives to prepare a rebellion against the French. The consul's infernal machine fails at the very moment when the comet passes the Earth and pulls with it part of the African continent, including the French colony. Servadac finds out that the comet is heading to Mars, into which it is most probably going to crash. The approach of death changes the behaviour of people. Servadac and Angelica declare their love to each other, enemies become friends, the natives refuse to fight. Servadac's calculations, however, are mistaken, and as soon as Servadac reveals that there is no threat, everything returns to the beaten track – the consul again begins to plot to seize the African territory with the sheikh. The revengeful brothers take Angelica to Sicily on a fishing boat. Servadac jumps into the sea to follow them. On the seashore, batman Ben wakes up his master, who is holding the portrait of the beautiful Angelica in his hand.


Karel Zeman was inspired in his visual process by Edouard Riou's and Léon Benett's engravings which illustrated the original edition of Verne's novels. With the exception of the main theme from the novel Hector Servadac. Voyages et aventures á travers le monde solaire, he used elements from other Verne's novels in his script.


Emil Horváth ml.

Voice by Jan Tříska
geometr poručík Servadac

Magda Vášáryová

Voice by Jana Drbohlavová
Angelika, dívka z Valencie

František Filipovský

plukovník Picard

Čestmír Řanda

španělský konzul

Vladimír Menšík

židovský hrnčíř Silberman

Jiřina Jirásková

Ester, hrnčířova žena

Karel Effa

kaprál Ben

Jaroslav Mareš

kaprál Lafitte

Josef Hlinomaz

kapitán Lacoste

Jaroslav Štercl

námořník s klíči

Zdena Bronislavská

tanečnice v kavárně

Zdeněk Braunschläger

koloniální voják

Jiří Lír

dělostřelec Ali

Pavel Libovický

Antonio, bratr Angeliky

Jaroslav Klouda

Pepino, bratr Angeliky

Vladimír Hrubý

turecký voják

Antonín Soukup

Voice by Mirko Musil
voják na stráži

Dimitrij Turčaninov

tanečník na lodi

Jiří Paclík

tanečník na lodi

František Doleček

tanečník na lodi

Zdeněk Formánek

tanečník na lodi

Ivan Chrz

unesený námořník

Bohumil Koška

důstojník na koni

Pavel Jiras

velitel děla

Teresia Elad


M.L. Lukongo


Jean Lifendi


Michael Kodais


Antoine Massouh


Josef Matar


Mušrik Rahbány


Willy Kuk-Znamínko

arabský číšník

Eva Rubínová

orientální tanečnice

Marta Richterová

orientální tanečnice

Lolka Šoupalová

orientální tanečnice

Taťána Unkurovová

orientální tanečnice

Blažena Kramešová

orientální tanečnice

Iva Šašková

krásná Arabka

Oldřich Velen

majitel harému

Ladislav Gzela


B.K. Sarap


Duggirala Visweswaram


Zdeněk Vašek


Miloslav Šindler

dubl za Josefa Větrovce

Vladimír Navrátil

dubl za Čestmíra Řandu


Mirko Musil

hlas vojáka

Crew and creators


Karel Zeman

Second Unit Director

Milan Vácha

Assistant Director

Ivana Skabranská, Karel Smyczek

Based on

Jules Verne (Na kometě/Hector Servadac aneb Dobrodružná cesta sluneční soustavou /Hector Servadac. Voyages et aventures á travers le monde solaire/ – román)

Shooting Script

Karel Zeman

Director of Photography

Rudolf Stahl ml., Jaromír Holpuch

Second Unit Photography

Karel Dobřichovský

Camera Operator

Jiří Pechar

Production Designer

Jiří Hlupý, Zdeněk Ostrčil

Assistent Production Designer

Marta Kaplerová

Art Director

Karel Zeman

Set Designer

Jan Petrů, Rudolf Žofka, Jiří Žůček

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Production Manager

Vladimír Vojta, Zdeněk Stibor

Unit Production Manager

Luděk Marold, Milana Melcerová

Unit Production Manager

Pavel Richter (2)


František Michálek (jezdectví)


Miroslava Švestková (klapka), Josef Vítek (fotograf)


Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Production info

Original Title

Na kometě

Czech Title

Na kometě

English Title

On the Comet

Working Title

Archa pana Servadaca




featuretheatrical distribution


fantastic, special effects

Origin country




Production Year


Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 5 December 1967
technical Screenplay approved 1 June 1968
start of filming 24 February 1969
end of filming 15 September 1969
projection approval 4 June 1970
the first film copy approved 4 June 1970
withdrawal from distribution 31 July 1990


premiere 9 October 1970 /suitable for youths/ (celostátní)
premiere 15 October 1970 /suitable for youths/ (kina Sevastopol /4 týdny/ a Veletrhy /1 týden od 12. 11./, Praha)

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Švabík – Hofman, Ota Hofman (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny a vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny), Erich Švabík (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny a vedoucí výrobní skupiny), Dramaturgická skupina Oty Hofmana (dokončení), Výrobní skupina Ericha Švabíka (dokončení)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

75 min

Original length in metres

2 126 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,66, 1:1,85





Sound system/format




Dialogue languages


Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages




Festival: 2. mezinárodní festival fantastických filmů a hororů Paříž

Paříž / France


Festival: 7. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti a mládež Teherán

Teherán / Iran


Exhibition: 22. přehlídka filmů pro děti a mládež Benátky

Benátky / Italy


Event: Múzy pražských diváků za rok 1969

Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Zeman


Exhibition: 22. přehlídka filmů pro děti a mládež Benátky

Benátky / Italy