Morgiana

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Morgiana

Runtime

99

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1972

Production year

1972

Premiere

15.09.1972

Language version

Czech

Director

Juraj Herz

Screenplay

Vladimír Bor, Juraj Herz

Summary

Iva Janžurová has confirmed her acting mastery on the big screen numerous times. One of the seasoned actress’s most unforgettable characters remains her double-role in Juraj Herz’s costume psychological horror Morgiana. The director had given Janžurová a small part in his drama Znamení Raka (Sign of Cancer) (1967). The female lead in Petrolejové lampy (Oil Lamps) (1971) – the luckless Štěpa – foreshadowed further collaboration on Morgiana. Due to the advent of normalisation the loose adaption of Alexander Grin’s romantic novel Jessie and Morgiana was the picture that brought to an end Herz’s “stylised” period, the culmination of which remains Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator) (1968). Janžurová, meanwhile, was forced to abandon the expressive shades of her acting register that she had been able to give free reign to in Morgiana (though the distinctive, Art Nouveau costumes and make-up did restrict the actress’s register). In the role of two sisters different in age, appearance and character – the younger, kind beauty Klára and the older, ugly and spiteful Viktorie – Janžurová created two utterly antithetical portraits. By contrast with the original book and genre convention, the viewer gradually begins to sympathise with the demonic titular character – in part because within Herz’s chillingly sarcastic, ambiguous conception the naive and good-natured Klára comes across as irritating and fake. The scheming Viktoria, jealous of her sister’s undeserved happiness safeguarded by the love of a handsome lieutenant (Josef Abrhám), is by contrast a vibrant and fascinating character and the audience will her on as she plans to kill Klára discreetly. Herz and screenwriter Vladimír Bor did not pursue the logic of the fact the story concerns one woman afflicted by a split personality; rather a “different” view of the narrative is provided by the eponymous hero – the black cat Morgiana. The camera work of the accomplished Jaroslav Kučera made a marked contribution to the visual appeal and artistic coherence of Herz’s noteworthy picture.

Synopsis

After the death of the wealthy Trengan, his wealth is divided between his two daughters – the older Viktoria and the younger Klára. The gloomy brunette Viktoria (known as Viki) has inherited an allowance, jewellery, estate and Green Flute Chateau, and Klára has been made heir to all the rest. As a result, Viki is jealous of her younger sister and can hardly conceal her hatred. The attractive blond Klára is the darling of society and many men are competing for her favours. Klára tries to persuade the notary Glenar, who has professed his love for her, to turn his affection to Viki. The man refuses and Viki, who is secretly listening to their conversation, comes to a final decision. She puts a slow-acting poison in her sister's drink. Klára, who has just fallen in love with the lieutenant Marek, is struck by a mysterious illness. She is permanently thirsty and bright colours pain her eyes. Viki moves to the Green Flute together with her favourite cat Morgiana. Hidden in the woods, she throws a stone at a group of maids who are bathing. One of the girls is hurt so badly that her neck will remain paralysed for the rest of her life. Viki throws the woman who sold her the poison and is now blackmailing her for half a million off a rock. An anonymous letter confirms the suspicion of the now already delirious Klára that she is being poisoned by her sister. The ill girl sets off for the Green Flute in the middle of night. Viki rejects her accusations and Klára escapes. A lecherous drunken tramp pours alcohol into Klára's mouth and the girl loses consciousness. Her loving suitor Marek discovers her in the forest. The now exposed Viki tries to stage a suicide attempt, but a draught causes her to really hang herself. Klára is saved by the alcohol, which has acted as an antidote, and recovers in Marek's arms.

Film online

Cast

Iva Janžurová

statkářka Viktorie Trenganová zvaná Viki/Klára, Viktoriina mladší sestra

Josef Abrhám

poručík Marek

Nina Divíšková

vyděračka Otýlie

Petr Čepek

notář Glenar

Josef Somr

opilec

Jiří Kodet

důstojník Bessant

Jiří Lír

důstojník s monoklem

Ivan Palúch

důstojník Karel

Jana Sedlmajerová

Eva, Markova příbuzná

Karel Augusta

rodinný lékař MUDr. Mayer

Václav Vondráček-Vondra

správce na Zelené flétně

Olga Przygrodská

mladá služka

Jana Posseltová

ošetřovatelka

Stanislava Hojsáková

Rosa/holka

Jakub Šelbický

Nelin synek

Luka Rubanovičová

tanečnice Rosita

Bohumila Velková

služka na slavnosti u Evy

Ladislava Veselá

Josefína/Alfonsina/holka

Jarmila Tržická

Eleonora/Pavlína/holka

Silvia Severová

Markéta/Flóra/holka

Marika Nicaja

Ernestýna/Sofia/holka

Zdeňka Michaličková

Isabela/Adelina/holka

Helena Lišková

Antonie/Justýna/holka

Jan Vlček (2)

výčepní

Růžena Vlčková

posluhovačka

František Fencl

důstojník

Zdeněk Grygárek

důstojník

Radomír Hubáček

důstojník

Miloš Kohout

důstojník

Jaroslav Kulhánek

důstojník

Jiří Navrátil

důstojník

Otto Ohnesorg

důstojník

Václav Soldát

důstojník

Václav Vodák

důstojník

Eva Langmilerová

dubl za I. Janžurovou

Jitka Suchánková

dubl za I. Janžurovou

Olga Fleischerová

dubl za I. Janžurovou/balet

Dubbing

Oldřich Vlach

hlas důstojníka Karla

Karolina Slunéčková

hlas Mercedes

Jana Preissová

hlas Evy

Crew and creators

Director

Juraj Herz

Second Unit Director

Miloš Kohout

Assistant Director

Bohumila Velková

Based on

Alexandr Grin (Jessie a Morgiana – novela)

Shooting Script

Juraj Herz

Script Editor

Věra Kalábová

Camera Operator

Jiří Pospíšil

Production Designer

Zbyněk Hloch

Set Designer

Rudolf Herz, Miloš Osvald, Jiří Rulík

Costume Designer

Irena Greifová

Sound Designer

František Černý

Production Manager

Ladislav Hanuš, Jiří Šebor

Unit Production Manager

Jiří Ulrich, Radomír Hubáček

Cooperation

Corina Schlesingerová, Karel Ješátko, Anna Mejtská, Ladislava Klusáčková, Ivan Rybín

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Morgiana

English Title

Morgiana

Working Title

Černá kočka

Copyright

1972

Production Year

1972

Premiere

15.09.1972

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 9. mezinárodní filmový festival Chicago

1973
Chicago / United States of America