The Murderer Waits on the Rails

detective

Typology

feature

Czech title

Na kolejích čeká vrah

Runtime

93

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1970

Production year

1970

Premiere

14.08.1970

Language version

Czech

Director

Josef Mach

Screenplay

Josef Mach, Jiří Marek

Summary

Novelist Jiří Marek contributed as screenwriter to numerous crime films and television series. Among his most enduring works is director Josef Macha’s 1970 drama Na kolejích čeká vrah (The Murderer Waits on the Rails). Marek based the film on a book by one of the founders of the Czech school of crime fiction, Eduard Fiker. The author’s experienced detective Kalaš returns after appearing in three previous movies, all by Petr Schulhoff: Strach (Fear) (1963), Vrah skrývá tvář (The Murderer Waits on the Rails) (1966) and Po stopách krve (On the Trail of Blood) (1969). In The Murderer Waits on the Rails the dependable Rudolf Hrušínský was replaced in the lead role by Jiří Sovák. In Mach’s picture Sovák is a sagacious Public Security (then police) investigator on the trail of a gang who have robbed millions from a train carrying state bank cash. The robbers have blown the train up and shot dead a random witness. Kalaš, the inexperienced young sub lieutenant Karlíček (Jaromír Hanzlík) and other members of his team gradually identify the members of the gang, among whom is, surprisingly, a bank employee. However, Kalaš must first prove the innocence of his colleague Lenk, a member of the team escorting the valuable railway cargo. (Lenk was played by Radoslav Brzobohatý, who in the first two movies in the series portrayed Kalaš’s close colleague Varga)… By contrast with Fiker’s original book Série C-L (Series C-L) (1958) and Schulhoff’s dark crime films corresponding to the atmosphere of the 1960s, Mach employs a lighter approach. The casting of Sovák in the lead role and the character of the novice Karlíček allow for a humorous distance and verbal wit. Alongside the dialogue and solid performances the picture – like every classically constructed crime movie – is naturally based on the ratcheting up of the atmosphere and gradual revelation of the truth.

Synopsis

An escort composed of Lieutenant Lenk, N.C.O. Vrána and bank officer Vojtíř transports a huge amount of new one-hundred crown banknotes in a special railway car. At the 196th kilometre, a village girl is waiting at the railway crossing and spots two men removing some packages from the track. The scene is immediately followed by the report of a gun and the unwanted witness is shot dead. Soon afterwards, on the 201st kilometre, the train explodes. Vrána and Vojtíř die and Lenk is taken to hospital with serious injuries. Criminologist Major Kalaš and the very young Second Lieutenant Karlíček patiently gather facts, leads and testimonies. Jareš, an officer of the state bank, diligently tries to help the investigation. The presumption that the banknotes were burned is soon disproven - someone bought a second-hand car with them. Meanwhile, the slowly recovering Lenk is suspected of colluding in the robbery. Kalaš organizes a re-enactment of the train journey during which it becomes clear that Lenk was neutralized by a blow to the head well before the train exploded. The investigators gradually discover the identities of the members of the gang, including Vojtíř, who was silenced by a bomb hidden in a thermos. At night, the members of the gang go to pick up the stolen banknotes from a shelter in a railway depot. The police pursue them and a gun battle breaks out. At the end, bank officer Jareš is revealed to be the leader of the gang.

Film online

Cast

Jiří Sovák

major VB Kalaš

Radoslav Brzobohatý

poručík VB Lenk

Jaromír Hanzlík

podporučík VB Karlíček

Ladislav Trojan

praporčík Vrána

Jaroslav Moučka

kriminalista Loubal

Ladislav Křiváček

kriminalista Trepinský

Josef Langmiler

profesor Urban

Eduard Dubský

ředitel státní banky Budínský

Jaroslav Mareš

bankovní úředník Vojtíř

Oldřich Velen

Josef Trojan

Květa Fialová

Trojanova žena

Josef Bláha

Roman Halík

Bohumil Šmída

bezpečnostní referent banky Václav Jareš

Regina Rázlová

Anna Halamová

Daniela Kolářová

Helena Dvorská, Lenkova snoubenka

František Němec

rotný VB Sláma

Oleg Reif

telefonista Tondl

Jan Pohan

nadporučík Lang

Josef Chvalina

MUDr. Bouček, Trojanův lékař

Valentina Thielová

sekretářka v bance

Josef Beyvl

nadstrážmistr VB

Zdeněk Hodr

soudní lékař MUDr. Chmel

Věra Koktová

úřednice na poště

Bedřich Čapek

pyrotechnik Bláha

Ferdinand Krůta

železniční lékař

Karel Hábl

příslušník VB

Jaroslav Rákos

pilot helikoptéry

Jaroslava Panýrková

zdravotní sestra Blanka

Karolina Slunéčková

vedoucí autobazaru

Karel Augusta

výpravčí vlaku

Vlastimil Bedrna

železničář

František Hanzlík

železničář

Eduard Pavlíček

bankovní úředník

Zdeněk Braunschläger

bankovní úředník

Zdeněk Skalický

číšník v Savarinu

Zdeněk Srstka

příslušník VB

J. Šulc

příslušník VB

Crew and creators

Director

Josef Mach

Second Unit Director

Bohumil Kouba

Assistant Director

Marta Křesinová, Dagmar Nováková

Based on

Eduard Fiker (Série C-L – román)

Shooting Script

Josef Mach

Second Unit Photography

Ivan Wurm

Camera Operator

Vojtěch Kuthan

Production Designer

Bohuslav Kulič

Set Designer

Miloslav Dvořák, Jiří Forst, Lubor Mašek

Sound Designer

Roman Hloch

Production Manager

Zdeněk Oves, Bohumil Šmída

Unit Production Manager

Antonín Navrátil, Vladislav Špidra

Unit Production Manager

Alena Koubová

Consultant

npor. VB Miroslav Mikeš

Cooperation

J. Navrátilová, Růžena Hejsková, Věra Líznerová

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Na kolejích čeká vrah

English Title

The Murderer Waits on the Rails

Working Title

Série C-L

Copyright

1970

Production Year

1970

Premiere

14.08.1970

Creative Group

Feix – Brož, Miloš Brož, Karel Feix

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech