The Hippo

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1973

Production year

1973

Premiere

29 March 1974

Runtime

95 min

Category

film

Genre

political, satire

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Hroch

Czech title

Hroch

English title

The Hippo

Summary

Hroch (The Hippo, 1973) is a noted example of a Czechoslovak filmmaker bending over backwards to show loyalty to the “normalisation” regime introduced after the Prague Spring events of 1968. Created by Karel Steklý in the dual role of director and screenwriter, this now legendary satire was intended to be an allegory of those occurrences. The focus of the narrative is a talking hippo, which is discovered in a local zoo by a nimble journalist. Once in the public sphere, the hippo is inveigled by deceitful and manipulative politicians who hope to use him for their own disgraceful ends. However, the villains are unaware that this unfortunate creature has merely swallowed whole a bank clerk named Bedřich Hroch (Oldo Hlaváček) who is enjoying his newfound popularity… This highly slanted film should now only be regarded as a study piece, at best offering insights into the mindset of its era. It was even regarded as dubious by contemporary “normalisers”, enough so that the film was removed from cinemas rather rapidly and was never allowed to appear on TV.

Synopsis

The bank officer Bedřich Hroch is sent by the bank director to the zoo, which asked an allocation of one and half kg of gold for a gold tooth for a hippo. During the check up of the hippo's teeth Bedřich is swallowed by the hippo. The man does not die in the hippo's guts and he chats quite happily with his frightened wife Dáša. Journalist Pip Karen, his friend is also present to the dialogue and he has immediately an idea how to use this special situation. He tells to the new minister Borovec and his opponent professor Fibinger that there is a hippo in the zoo which can speak. He also tells them how to use this situation for a political propaganda. His plan succeeds, people believe the advertising and collect gold for the hippo. Singer Soňa sings a song about the hippo. The song becomes immediately a hit. Dáša does not want to put up with the loss of her husband and she decides to make him free. Bedřich refuses, he is happy to be popular. He gets back to the normal life thanks to the cookies of teacher Plašilová, after which the hippo gets sick. It throws Bedřich out and the entire sensation is over. The meeting in front of the hippo pavilion where Borovec was supposed to speak disbands. Borovec, who has watched the entire event on TV, breaks the TV in a momentary fit of anger.

Film online

Cast

Oldo Hlaváček

bankovní úředník Bedřich Hroch

Helga Čočková

kadeřnice Dáša, Hrochova žena

Svatopluk Matyáš

redaktor „Nového proudu“ Pip Karen

Helena Blehárová

zpěvačka Soňa

Miroslav Homola

ministr Borovec

Zdena Hadrbolcová

učitelka Plašilová

Eduard Dubský

profesor Fibinger

Jiří Lír

ošetřovatel Řeháček

Slávka Budínová

kadeřnice Majka

Josef Větrovec

ředitel zoo Kadavý

Jiří Holý

Paduch, Sonin manžel

Oldřich Velen

veterinář MVDr. Čibera

Jan Skopeček

zubař specialista

Josef Kobr

ředitel banky

Miloš Willig

tiskový zmocněnec

Tomáš Sedláček

redaktor "Večerníku" Hák

Josef Hlinomaz

ministr školství

Karel Hábl

zpěvák Tom

Ivana Bílková

Dubbing Blažena Holišová
Bláža, manželka ministra

Jan Pohan

intelektuál

Jiří Jelínek

intelektuál

Vladimír Hrubý

vedoucí kadeřnictví Lexa

Karel Hovorka

muž s bradkou

Jaroslav Cmíral

propagandista

Josef Bádal

choreograf při zkoušce

Milan Mach

televizní redaktor

Miloš Vavruška

motohlídka

Viktor Maurer

muž s kyticí

Vladimír Bičík

ministr dopravy

Jiřina Zemanová

Dubbing Věra Kalendová
žena s psíkem

Martin Vrabec

Bezpalec

Jiří Šulc

kytarista

Petr Kučera

televizní hlasatel

Jiří Ondroušek

chlapec Komorous

Dagmar Nováková

sekretářka

Vratislava Jelínková

sekretářka

Václav Luks

starší úředník

Renata Bauerová

dívka s brýlemi

Vlastimila Vlková

žena přispívající do sbírky

Milan Kindl

raketýr

Olga Fleischerová

tanečnice

Tomáš Hanták

tanečník

Anna Hantáková

tanečnice

Marie Libigerová

tanečnice

Lubomír Mohyla

tanečník

Běla Sobotková

tanečnice

Jiří Vrzal

tanečník

Václav Zahradník

dirigent orchestru

Karel Bejlek

člen orchestru

Vladimír Brož

člen orchestru

Miloslav Bureš

člen orchestru

Vít Clar

člen orchestru

Petr Fleischer

člen orchestru

Emanuel Hrdina

člen orchestru

Vladimír Hruška

člen orchestru

Viktor Hynčica

člen orchestru

Zdeněk John

člen orchestru

Otto Kotýnek

člen orchestru

Mirko Krebs

člen orchestru

Václav Matouš

člen orchestru

Luboš Nývlt

člen orchestru

Jiří Pelikán

člen orchestru

Jan Pospíšil

člen orchestru

Petr Smolík

člen orchestru

Petr Šprunk

člen orchestru

Jaroslav Tichý

člen orchestru

Vlastimil Voňavka

člen orchestru

Miloš Vychytil

člen orchestru

Vladimír Tišer

dubl za Oldo Hlaváčka

Dubbing

Věra Kalendová

hlas ženy odpovídající v anketě

Mirko Musil

hlas kamelota/hlas muže odpovídajícího v anketě/hlas muže před pavilonem hrochů

Antonín Jedlička

hlas papouška

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Julius Matula

Assistant Director

Bohumil Koška, Dagmar Nováková

Screenstory

Karel Steklý

Screenplay

Karel Steklý

Shooting Script

Karel Steklý

Director of Photography

František Uldrich

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

Jiří Pechar

Production Designer

Věra Líznerová

Assistent Production Designer

Jan Vokr

Art Director

Vladimír Dvořák

Set Designer

Jiří Čermák, Karel Lukáš, Karel Smrž

Costume Designer

Zdena Kadrnožková

Film Editor

Jan Kohout

Assistant Film Editor

Anna Mejtská

Sound Designer

Jiří Hora, Antonín Jedlička (zvukové efekty)

Special Effects

Trikový ateliér FSB

Production Manager

Jiří Zika

Unit Production Manager

Karel Prchal, Vladimír Tišer

Unit Production Manager

Ivana Kuplerová

Cooperation

Ivana Nevolová (klapka), Miroslav Pešan (fotograf)

Music

Music Composed by

Jaromír Klempíř

Selected Music

Antonín Dvořák (Rusalka /árie Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém/)

Music Performed by

Orchestr Václava Zahradníka (Music Conducted by Václav Zahradník)

Songs

Ďábel sám

Songwriter Jaromír Klempíř
Writer of Lyrics Jiří Aplt
Singer Helena Blehárová

Metafyzický kanárek

Songwriter Jaromír Klempíř
Writer of Lyrics Jiří Aplt
Singer Jiří Jelínek

Píseň hrocha /On je moje všecko/

Songwriter Jaromír Klempíř
Writer of Lyrics Jiří Aplt
Singer Helena Blehárová

Co ten ptáček, jarabáček

Songwriter František Kmoch

Production info

Original Title

Hroch

Czech Title

Hroch

English Title

The Hippo

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

political, satire

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1973

Production Year

1973

Production specifications

start of filming 20 February 1973
literary Screenplay approved 19 March 1973
technical Screenplay approved 26 April 1973
end of filming 5 November 1973
projection approval 12 November 1973

Premiere

gala premiere 28 February 1974 (kino Lucerna, Praha)
premiere 28 February 1974 /suitable for youths/ (kino Lucerna, Praha)
premiere 29 March 1974 /suitable for youths/ (celostátní)

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Karla Copa, Karel Cop (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

95 min

Original length in metres

2 670 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 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

Awards

Vítěz

Event: Prémie Českého literárního fondu za rok 1974

1975
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Eduard Dubský

Vítěz

Event: Prémie Českého literárního fondu za rok 1974

1975
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Karel Steklý

Vítěz

Event: Prémie Českého literárního fondu za rok 1974

1975
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Svatopluk Matyáš

Vítěz

Festival: 12. festival českých a slovenských filmů Nitra

1974
Nitra / Czechoslovakia
Karel Steklý