The Devil’s Elixirs

narrative

Typology

feature

Lenght

long

Czech title

Elixíry ďábla

Runtime

96 min

Country

Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic

Copyright

1972

Production year

1972

Premiere

06.04.1973

Language version

Czech

Director

Ralf Kirsten

Summary

This co-production costume picture from 1972, made by East German director Ralf Kirsten, was inspired by the novel of the same name written by E. T. A. Hoffmann. The protagonist of this romantically based tale is the young, newly ordained priest Franziskus, who is led astray from the path of righteousness by the devil Viktorin. Using fabled elixirs he causes the young man to succumb to the charms of the comely Aurelie, which leads to his expulsion from the monastery and his committing of a murder... This mysterious tale relating the temptation of a young priest was – paradoxically and in contrast to the original work – conceived of as anti-Catholic propaganda. Kirsten, together with cameraman Claus Neumann, attempts to build a mysterious, eerie atmosphere. While the crew that make use of the Czech scenery is mostly German, Jaroslava Schallerová (Aurelie) and Milena Dvorská (Aurelie’s malicious stepmother, Euphemie) appear in the German-Polish-Czech cast.

Synopsis

Young seminary student Franziskus has been ceremonially ordained. He wants to escape the harshness and injustice of the world and devote himself to the service of God in the quiet seclusion of a monastery. He is also hoping to forget the beautiful lady Aurelie, whose life he saved in a flooded brook and with whom he spent an amorous night. He knows that her father would never allow her to marry him. But the devil dressed in a monk's habit and under the name Viktorin intervenes in Franziskus's destiny and attempts to lead him astray. To do so he first uses the diabolical elixirs kept at the monastery as a rare relic. When the young monk gets expelled from the monastery, Viktorin prepares another trap with the help of Aurelie's stepmother Euphemie. The young man has met Aurelie again and the two are happy together. Euphemie finds out that Aurelie is going to have a child by Franziskus and informs Aurelie's brother Hermogen. In the fight that ensues she kills Hermogen and treacherously accuses Franziskus of the murder. Franziskus escapes to the puppeteer Belcampo. Viktorin tricks Franziskus into coming to a masked ball under the pretence that he will meet Aurelie there. At the ball, Franziskus is exposed by Euphemie, accused of the murder and imprisoned. The Church refuses to have one of its members tried in a secular court and imprisons Franziskus at the monastery instead. Here, a bishop reveals to the young man his true origin. He is the illegitimate son of the abbess and Belcampo. Franziskus wants to expose the machinations of the Church and is killed for this reason. Aurelie, who has given birth to a son, leaves with Belcampo to rouse the people against their villainous masters.

Cast

Benjamin Besson

Franziskus, později bratr Medardus

Jaroslava Schallerová

Aurelie Angela von Waldstättenová

Andrzej Kopiczyński

ďábel Viktorin

Milena Dvorská

Euphemie, Aureliina nevlastní matka

Maja Komorowska

abatyše, Františkova matka/kněžna

Fred Düren

loutkář Belcampo

Krzysztof Chamiec

biskup

Norbert Christian

mnich Cyrillus

Radovan Lukavský

baron von Waldstätten, Aureliin otec

Jürgen Kluckert

Hermogen, Aureliin bratr

Edmund Fetting

soudce

Gerhard Bienert

převor Leonard

Peter Dommisch

kníže

Angela Brunner

selka

Zdena Burdová

komorná

Monika Pietsch

chůva

Klaus-Peter Plessow

seminarista

Annette Roth

chůva

Klaus-Rudolf Weber

seminarista

Petr Skarke

uhlíř

Ingeborg Wimmler

tanec Euphemie

Klaus Ebeling

pantomima

Wolfgang Edel

pantomima

Harald Engelmann

pantomima

Wolfgang Feldhan

pantomima

Ursula Fischer

pantomima

Pedro Hebenstreit

pantomima

Gerd Lüpper

pantomima

Karl Maschwitz

pantomima

Katja Molotschajewa

pantomima

Janus Rehor

pantomima

Renate Wendel

pantomima

Alexander Leuschen

pantomima

Heino Kurth

pantomima

Alexander Winkler

pantomima

Dieter Knust

mnich

Gerd Groicher

akrobat

Christine Groicher

akrobatka

Eberhard Sperlich

polykač ohně

Alfred Krämer

muž s bičem

Erich Braun

strážný

Bernd Schnaak

kaplan

Jana Zrzavecká

dubl za J. Schallerovou

Peter Berger

Gerhard Blabusch

Brigitte Böselt

Ines Dalchau

Jürgen Dahms

Karin Diekmann-Kursawe

Christa Ernst

Egon Fischer

Heidi Förster

Lothar Hanff

Rainer Harder

Manfred Hartmann

Rainer Hartung

Jürgen Hase

Herbert Hoffmann

Sigrid Hubrich

Wilfried Jahn

Carmen Kenitz

Gisela König

Klaus Kretschmar

Karl-Heinz Kruse

Erika Lessmann

Winfried Mank

Alexander Onody

Marie Pechmann

Henko Petrow

Dagmar Pograzeba

Isolde Pötzsch

Eva Reinthaller

Angelika Rentsch

Roswitha Riedel

Georg Richtsfeld

Inka Rost

Christine Rouvel

Klaus Sehmisch

Dietmar Seiffert

Helga Schiele

Anita Siegert

Eva Szendey

Anita Tank

Antje Töpel

Hans Vogelreuter

Karl-Heinz Weiss

Ute Wisnawitzki

Ivan Chrz

dubl za A. Kopiczyńského

Dubbing

Eduard Cupák

hlas Franziska

Ivana Vondrovicová

hlas Aurelie

Jiří Zahajský

hlas Viktorina

Jana Dítětová

hlas abatyše

Karel Houska

hlas Belcampa

Soběslav Sejk

hlas biskupa

Josef Langmiler

hlas Cyrila

Jan Schánilec

hlas Hermogena

Bohumil Bezouška

hlas soudce

Lubor Tokoš

hlas převora

Svatopluk Beneš

hlas knížete

Crew and creators

Director

Ralf Kirsten

Second Unit Director

Miroslav Kubišta, Doris Borkmann

Based on

E. T. A. Hoffmann (Elixíry ďábla – román)

Shooting Script

Ralf Kirsten

Script Editor

Gudrun Deubener

Camera Operator

Frank Bredow

Production Designer

Dieter Adam

Set Designer

Miloš Osvald, Klaus Selignow, Jiří Rulík

Stunts

Michael Vollandt

Unit Production Manager

Jiří Ulrich, Walter Hunger, Karl-Heinz Marzahn, Renée Lavecká

Unit Production Manager

Jiřina Vaňková

Consultant

Hans-Joachim Felber

Cooperation

Zuzana Folkertová

Direction of Czech version

Ludvík Žáček

Music

Music Composed by

André Asriel

Music Performed by

Symfonický orchestr DEFA, Sdružení sólistů berlínského rozhlasu, Volker Bräutigam (varhany)

Music Conducted by

Manfred Rosenberg (Symfonický orchestr DEFA), Dietrich Knothe (Sdružení sólistů berlínského rozhlasu)

Songs

Belcampova píseň

Songwriter

André Asriel (Belcampova píseň)

Writer of Lyrics

Heinz Kahlau (Belcampova píseň), Heinz Kahlau

Singer

Karel Houska (Belcampova píseň), Sdružení sólistů berlínského rozhlasu

Choreographer

Harald Engelmann

Production info

Original Title

Elixíry ďábla

English Title

The Devil’s Elixirs

Parallel Title

Die Elixiere des Teufels

Category

film

Typology

feature

Genre

narrative

Origin country

Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic

Copyright

1972

Production Year

1972

Premiere

06.04.1973

Technical info

Lenght

long

Runtime

96 min

Versions

Czech