Four Murders Are Enough, Darling

parody

Typology

feature

Czech title

„Čtyři vraždy stačí, drahoušku“

Runtime

102

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1970

Production year

1970

Premiere

16.07.1971

Language version

Czech

Director

Oldřich Lipský

Screenplay

Miloš Macourek, Oldřich Lipský

Summary

As a screenwriter, Miloš Macourek contributed to two unforgettable gangster comedies – Kdo chce zabít Jessii (Who Wants to Kill Jessie, 1966), directed by Václav Vorlíček, and “Čtyři vraždy stačí, drahoušku...” (Four Murders Are Enough, Darling, 1970) by Oldřich Lipský. In both instances, the artist Kája Saudek was also involved in the fray. Whereas Jessie imbues the ordinary Czech milieu with characters and elements from an “American” comic strip, Oldrich Lipský’s film throws itself headlong into comic exaggeration. Both films use cartoon elements, but Macourek and Lipský’s work creates a coherent fictional world set in the imaginary “Western” country of Bonzania. The film was loosely inspired by the humorous novel Mrtvým vstup zakázán (No Admittance for the Dead), by the Yugoslav author Nenad Brixi from 1960, but its atmosphere and milieu reflect the impending period of Soviet entrenchment that occurred in Czechoslovak society during the “normalisation” that followed the Warsaw Pact invasion. Nonetheless, this crazy cartoon comedy abounds in visual and formal ideas as well as absurd “messages” that produce a barrage of gags, and yet it evidently reflects a desire to escape – at least in comic fiction – beyond the iron curtain that was coming down under increasing totalitarianism. Secondary school teacher George Camel (played by the director’s brother Lubomír) is one of Macourek’s traditional timorous ingénus, who one day discovers that as soon as he opens a door, a corpse falls out. It seems that George has got mixed up in a war between two bands of gangsters fighting over a cheque for a million dollars. The Hitchcockian story of a man wrongly accused of a crime is peopled with many colourful characters, including George’s love interest, the energetic journalist, Sabrina (Jiřina Bohdalová), and the female crime boss, Kate (Iva Janžurová). The ensemble cast comprises the crème de la crème of the Czech acting fraternity as well as some of Lipský’s favourite actors, e.g. Marie Rosůlková as Camel’s landlady and Josef Hlinomaz as the memorable tough guy Gogo.

Synopsis

In the compartment of an American express train, James Porter, who is transferring a cheque for a million dollars from Michago to San Fernando seats himself and gets buried in a comic book. - Two groups of gangsters begin to compete for the precious check. José Manuel Antonio commands the swarthy boys from San Bonigo and the unscrupulous Ms Kate Draxl heads the Michago gang. In the meantime, in the little town of Springtown, the teacher Georg Camel tries to win the respect of his students in vain. Georg reveals himself to be a dope even in the editorial office of the local magazine to which he tries to sell his poetry. He has no idea that the charming editor Sabrina's sudden interest in him is designed to make the illustrator Henry jealous. Then, however, there is a reversal. Porter, who unexpectedly got off the train in Springtown, dies on the doorstep of Camel's room in the pension of the affected Mrs Harrington. The innocent and naive Georg is drawn into the fight of the two gangs and is suspected of murder, especially when a corpse falls onto him every time he opens a door. Sabrina thinks that Georg murders out of love for her in order to give her enough material to write about. Mrs Harrington is convinced that Camel wants to destroy the reputation of her house. After is Georg found in an underground garage where the two gangs have shot each other dead, he is proclaimed a hero and purged of all crimes he was suspected of. - Porter happily finishes the comic book. But when he opens the door of the compartment, a dead conductor falls onto him.

Cast

Lubomír Lipský

učitel Georg Camel

Jiřina Bohdalová

redaktorka Sabrina

Iva Janžurová

Kate Draxlová, šéfka bandy z Michaga

Marie Rosůlková

Harringtonová, Camelova bytná

František Filipovský

detektiv Sheridan

Jan Libíček

policejní komisař Brooks

Karel Effa

majitel baru Kovarski

Lubomír Kostelka

policista Davidson

Vlastimil Hašek

policista Harley

Stella Zázvorková

prostitutka Peggy

Josef Kemr

zubatý gangster ze San Boniga

Jaroslav Moučka

gangster Tom z Michaga

František Peterka

Francis Owens z Michaga

Jan Přeučil

kreslíř comicsů Henry

Zdeněk Řehoř

psychiatr

Robert Vrchota

ředitel školy

Zdeněk Kryzánek

gangster Bill z Michaga

Lubor Tokoš

gangster Ronald z Michaga

Jiří Lír

gangster Jaime

Otto Lackovič

José Manuel Antonio, šéf ze San Boniga

Karel Pavlík

gangster, Owensův kolega

Viktor Maurer

dr. James Porter

Ivo Gübel

šéfredaktor časopisu Voice of Springtown

Karel Augusta

hotelový vrátný Freddy Rogers

Antonín Jedlička

barman z baru Kochba

Antonín Kryl

Horace

Martin Štěpánek

gangster Alvarez

Oldřich Musil

návštěvník baru

Zdeněk Srstka

jednooký gangster

Kateřina Frýbová

Henryho přítelkyně

Jiří Klenot

gangster

Jiří Plachý

gangster

Aladar Petický

gangster

Josef Engel

gangster

Karel Engel

gangster

Milan Kindl

gangster

Karel Vítek

gangster

Petr Fleischer

gangster

Karel Tokar

gangster

Ladislav Tokar

gangster

Jan Vítek

gangster

Jaroslav Tomsa

gangster Luis

Zoltán Tokar

gangster Fernandez

Zdeněk Blažek

průvodčí ve vlaku

Jiří Koutný

policista

Nora Krčmářová

trafikantka Clarková

Ladislav Mrnka

tiskař Willy

Bedřich Zelenka

konduktér

Josef Burda

vrchní

Rudolf Kalina

číšník

Jaroslava Závodská

dubl za Jiřinu Bohdalovou

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Aleš Dospiva

Assistant Director

Ivana Tokošová, Hana Kozlová

Based on

Nenad Brixi (Mrtvým vstup zakázán /Mrtvacima ulaz zabranjen/ – román)

Second Unit Photography

Stanislav Kautský

Camera Operator

Bohumil Vodička

Production Designer

Jiří Hlupý

Art Director

Karel Saudek

Costume Designer

Theodor Pištěk ml.

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Josef Vlček, Bohumír Brunclík (zvukové efekty), Antonín Jedlička (zvukové efekty)

Special Effects

Jiří Šimunek

Titles Designed by

Karel Saudek

Production Manager

Miloš Stejskal

Unit Production Manager

Miroslav Dousek, Gabriela Bašeová

Unit Production Manager

Antonín Suchánek

Cooperation

Dana Lišková, Jitka Šulcová, Marta Kaplerová

Music

Music Composed by

Vlastimil Hála

Music Performed by

Orchestr Karla Vlacha

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (Orchestr Karla Vlacha)

Songs

Jen jednou bylo včera, Bílá noha na ubrusu

Songwriter

Vlastimil Hála (Jen jednou bylo včera), Vlastimil Hála (Bílá noha na ubrusu)

Writer of Lyrics

Pavel Kopta (Jen jednou bylo včera), Pavel Kopta (Bílá noha na ubrusu)

Singer

Eva Olmerová (Jen jednou bylo včera), Iva Janžurová (Bílá noha na ubrusu)

Production info

Original Title

„Čtyři vraždy stačí, drahoušku“

English Title

Four Murders Are Enough, Darling

Working Title

Mrtví, zvoňte třikrát

Copyright

1970

Production Year

1970

Premiere

16.07.1971

Creative Group

Karel Cop, Jiří Šebor

Technical info

Versions

Czech