How to Drown Dr Mráček or The End of Water Sprites in Bohemia

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1974

Production year

1974

Premiere

14 March 1975

Runtime

100 min

Category

film

Genre

fantastic, comedy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách

Czech title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách

English title

How to Drown Dr Mráček or The End of Water Sprites in Bohemia

Working title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka

Summary

One of the most popular titles in Václav Vorlíček’s extensive filmography remains Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách (How to Drown Dr Mráček or The End of Water Sprites in Bohemia), a 1974 fantasy comedy. As well as the director’s favourite collaborator Miloš Macourek, the author of the book on which it was based, Petr Markov also contributed to the screenplay. In the contemporary fairy tale the titular hero – the young lawyer Jindřich Mráček (Jaromír Hanzlík) – attempts conscientiously to find new, more dignified and healthy accommodation for a family living in a damp house on Prague’s Kampa. He has no idea that they are water sprites, who are not at all enthused by the idea of a dry prefab apartment building. The head of the family Mr. Wasserman (Miloš Kopecký) decides to get rid of the persistent official. This is complicated, however, by the romance growing between Jindřich and his niece Jana (Libuše Šafránková). An interesting aspect of the colourful story is the fact that there are ethnic and social differences within the water sprite community: Wasserman, his wife Matylda (Míla Myslíková) and their spoiled daughter Polly are “bourgeois” nobs but rely on the assistance of their poor, hard-working relatives the Vodičkovýs. Wasserman has further problems with a negative assessment of the standards of the moribund domestic water sprite community, even earning reprimands at a conference in Hamburg… After Dívka na koštěti (The Girl on the Broom, 1971) it was another genre picture in which the Vorlíček-Macourek double-act looked at a strongly idealised present through fairy tale creatures. Water sprites replace the staff at a school of wizardry but this time the narrative is based on the adversity that divides a “mixed” couple: a human young man and a “different” girl. Again the loss of magical powers plays a role. In order to remain in the human world, the young witch Saxana needed a draught of sage. The water sprite Jana must choose between two tried and tested options: sex or the ingestion or transfusion of (any non-sprite) blood. Despite the playful nature of this motif (which is also applied to West German youths meant to revive the moribund Czech water sprite population), it is typical of 1970s cinematography: “disenchantment” is after all also a curious form of normalisation.

Synopsis

In the Prague quarter Kampa the main Czech water sprite Wasserman lives with his wife Matylda and their spoiled daughter Polly. Three brothers called Vodička take care of their wealth by hard work – Bertík, the manager of boat livery, Karel, the life guard, and Alois, the diver with his daughter Jana. Matylda is not at all thankful, although the Vodičkas are her own brothers. The devoted Alois gets for his work at the Rescue Service a contract for a new flat. A young officer doctor of laws Mráček, who is supposed to put out the family and let the house pull down doesn't know that the wet residence suits the family tremendously. At a conference in Hamburg Wasserman receives a reprimand. Water sprites in Bohemia are dying out. They can loose their immortality and magic talents easily. It is enough to eat blood, to get a blood-transfusion, or to make love with a normal mortal. In this way the last Czech young water sprites and even the foreign suitors sent for Polly and Jana disappeared. Mráček insists on the vacation of the house and so the Vodičkas drown him. The unsuspecting Jana saves his life immediately by giving him the kiss of life. The couple starts to date together. Karel opposes his family and changes Matylda into a packet of flour and then gets rid of his immortality by a transfusion. Mráček's mother bakes a cherry soufflé from the found packet of flour. Jana saves the re-drowned Mráček again when she brings his soul in a mug to the mortuary. After various calamities the only water sprite is Wasserman and his Matylda risen in to giant size.

Note

Actor Jan Libíček started to shoot the part of Alois Vodička, after his sudden death Zdeněk Řehoř took this part over.

Cast

Libuše Šafránková

vodnice Jana Vodičková

Jaromír Hanzlík

JUDr. Jindřich Mráček, právník bytového úřadu

František Filipovský

vodník Bertík Vodička, správce půjčovny loděk

Miloš Kopecký

hlavní český vodník Wasserman

Vladimír Menšík

vodník Karel Vodička, plavčík

Zdeněk Řehoř

vodník Alois Vodička, potápěč a otec Jany

Stella Zázvorková

docentka Mráčková, Jindřichova matka

Eva Trejtnarová

vodnice Polly, Wassermanova dcera

Čestmír Řanda

velkovodník z řeky Inn Albert Bach

Míla Myslíková

vodnice Matylda, Wassermanova žena a sestra Vodičkových

Vlastimil Hašek

chirurg Honza, Jindřichův kamarád

Jiří Hrzán

vodník Thomas

Miroslav Masopust

vodník Rolf

Gabriela Wilhelmová

ošetřovatelka Růženka, Karlova přítelkyně

Dáša Neblechová

vodnice z řeky Inn Gerta, Bachova žena

Milena Steinmasslová

Krista, Janina kamarádka

Lucie Žulová

Vlaďka, Pollyina kamarádka

Jiří Lír

JUDr. Křeček, zástupce JUDr. Mráčka

Lubomír Kostelka

korektní úředník na kongresu vodníků

Bedřich Prokoš

předseda kongresu vodníků

Oldřich Velen

náměstek předsedy ONV

Mirko Musil

technik potápěčů

Karel Augusta

bufetář na plovárně

Raoul Schránil

vedoucí prodejny starožitností

Jan Cmíral

poručík VB

Miloš Vavruška

muž v bílém plášti

Karel Vavřík

vrátný na patologii

Jiřina Bílá

dáma v modrých plavkách

Adolf Filip

zřízenec pohřební služby

Vítězslav Černý

Patočka, zřízenec pohřební služby

Valerie Čižmárová

zpěvačka v baru

Karel Houska

vědec, kolega docentky Mráčkové

František Miroslav Doubrava

vědec, kolega docentky Mráčkové

Miloslav Homola

muž na voru

Karel Hovorka

listonoš Šmidra

Stanislav Hájek

vodník z řeky Maas

Gustav Bubník

kluk s potápěčskými brýlemi

Václav Štercl

Mrázek, zřízenec na patologii

Ilona Jirotková

úřednice v inzerci

Luďa Marešová

prodavačka v masně

Arnošt Proschek

Pollyin kamarád

Zdeněk Skalický

starší muž na baru

Jiří Vašků

důchodce

Jan Janků

úspěšný vodník

Rudolf Růžička (2)

cizí vodník

Miroslav Svoboda

vodník z jezera Lago Maggiore

Jan Krafka

záchranář

Vladimír Ptáček

záchranář

Jiří Suchánek

naháč

Antonín Filípek

skokan do vody

Pavel Kužela

skokan do vody

František Horek

plavec

Jaromír Laštovka

plavec

Karel Schumpeter

plavec

Karel Engel

kulturista

Bert Schneider

kulturista

Eva Hnátková

tanečnice v baru

Kristina Márová

tanečnice v baru

Jitka Nováková (2)

tanečnice v baru

Miloslav Kučaba

hudebník v baru

Max Kulhavý

hudebník v baru

Jiří Stárek

hudebník v baru

Evžen Straka

hudebník v baru

Zdeněk Šimůnek

hudebník v baru

Dubbing

Mirko Musil

hlas plešatého muže na baru

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Jaroslav Pour

Assistant Director

Robert Vacík

Script Supervisor

Olga Hrčková

Screenstory

Petr Markov

Shooting Script

Václav Vorlíček

Script Editor

Oldřich Železný

Director of Photography

Vladimír Novotný

Second Unit Photography

Antonín Holub

Camera Operator

Jiří Maxa

Production Designer

Oldřich Bosák

Assistent Production Designer

Bohumil Nový

Set Designer

Bedřich Čermák, Jaromír Bieber, Miroslav Buberle

Costume Designer

Theodor Pištěk ml.

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Assistant Film Editor

Ruth Čálková, Gabriela Globočníková, Magda Hájková

Sound Designer

František Fabián

Special Effects

Vladimír Novotný

Titles Designed by

Adolf Born, Jaroslav Doubrava (animace)

Production Manager

Jiří Krejčí

Unit Production Manager

Vlasta Mathauserová, Věra Winkelhöferová

Unit Production Manager

Daniela Norová

Consultant

Jaroslav Sus

Cooperation

Olga Hrčková (klapka), Alena Červená (fotografka)

Music

Music Composed by

Vítězslav Hádl

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Štěpán Koníček), Orchestr Karla Vágnera

Songs

Znala panna pána

Songwriter Vítězslav Hádl
Writer of Lyrics Petr Markov
Singer Václav NeckářHelena Vondráčková

Pár svých duší mít

Songwriter Vítězslav Hádl
Writer of Lyrics Petr Markov
Singer Valerie Čižmárová

Production info

Original Title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách

Czech Title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách

English Title

How to Drown Dr Mráček or The End of Water Sprites in Bohemia

Working Title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

fantastic, comedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1974

Production Year

1974

Premiere

premiere 14 March 1975 /suitable for youths/
renewed premiere 1 June 1984 /suitable for youths/
renewed premiere 7 April 2022 /suitable for youths/

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1975 a obnovená 1984), Národní filmový archiv (obnovená 2022)

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Vladimíra Kaliny, Vladimír Kalina (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

100 min

Original length in metres

2 728 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm, DCP 2-D, BRD

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Exhibition: 4. mezinárodní přehlídka humoristických filmů La Coruña

1976
La Coruña / Spain

Vítěz

Event: Mezinárodní technická filmová soutěž při kongresu Mezinárodní unie filmových kritků Moskva

1976
Moska / Russia

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní festival vědeckofantastických filmů Terst

1976
Terst / Italy