The Devil’s Elixirs

Country

Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic

Copyright

1972

Production year

1972

Premiere

6 April 1973

Runtime

96 min

Director

Ralf Kirsten

Category

film

Genre

narrative

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Elixíry ďábla

Czech title

Elixíry ďábla

English title

The Devil’s Elixirs

Parallel title

Die Elixiere des Teufels

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

Dubbing Eduard Cupák
Franziskus, později bratr Medardus

Jaroslava Schallerová

Dubbing Ivana Vondrovicová
Aurelie Angela von Waldstättenová

Andrzej Kopiczyński

Dubbing Jiří Zahajský
ďábel Viktorin

Milena Dvorská

Euphemie, Aureliina nevlastní matka

Maja Komorowska

Dubbing Jana Dítětová
abatyše, Františkova matka/kněžna

Fred Düren

Dubbing Karel Houska
loutkář Belcampo

Krzysztof Chamiec

Dubbing Soběslav Sejk
biskup

Norbert Christian

Dubbing Josef Langmiler
mnich Cyrillus

Radovan Lukavský

baron von Waldstätten, Aureliin otec

Jürgen Kluckert

Dubbing Jan Schánilec
Hermogen, Aureliin bratr

Edmund Fetting

Dubbing Bohumil Bezouška
soudce

Gerhard Bienert

Dubbing Lubor Tokoš
převor Leonard

Peter Dommisch

Dubbing Svatopluk Beneš
kníže

Angela Brunner

selka

Monika Pietsch

chůva

Klaus-Peter Plessow

seminarista

Annette Roth

chůva

Klaus-Rudolf Weber

seminarista

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

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

Director of Photography

Claus Neumann

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

Direction of Czech version

Ludvík Žáček

Music

Music Composed by

André Asriel

Music Performed by

Symfonický orchestr DEFA (Music Conducted by Manfred Rosenberg), Sdružení sólistů berlínského rozhlasu (Music Conducted by Dietrich Knothe), Volker Bräutigam /varhany/

Writer of Lyrics

Heinz Kahlau

Singer

Sdružení sólistů berlínského rozhlasu

Choreographer

Harald Engelmann

Songs

Belcampova píseň

Songwriter André Asriel
Writer of Lyrics Heinz Kahlau
Singer Karel Houska

Production info

Original Title

Elixíry ďábla

Czech Title

Elixíry ďábla

English Title

The Devil’s Elixirs

Parallel Title

Die Elixiere des Teufels

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

narrative

Origin country

Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic

Copyright

1972

Production Year

1972

Production specifications

start of filming 1 March 1972
end of filming 29 November 1972
projection approval 12 December 1972

Premiere

premiere 6 April 1973

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

96 min

Original length in metres

2 700 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,66

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech