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

comedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách

Runtime

96

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1974

Production year

1974

Premiere

14.03.1975

Language version

Czech

Director

Václav Vorlíček

Screenplay

Miloš Macourek, Petr Markov, Václav Vorlíček

Screenstory

Petr Markov

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, after his sudden death Zdeněk Řehoř took this part over.

Cast

Libuše Šafránková

Jana Vodičková

Jaromír Hanzlík

JUDr. Jindřich Mráček, právník

František Filipovský

správce půjčovny loděk Bertík Vodička

Miloš Kopecký

hlavní český vodník Wasserman

Vladimír Menšík

plavčík Karel Vodička

Zdeněk Řehoř

potápěč Alois Vodička, otec Jany

Stella Zázvorková

docentka Mráčková, Jindřichova matka

Eva Trejtnarová

Polly, Wassermanova dcera

Čestmír Řanda

vodník z řeky Inn Albert Bach

Míla Myslíková

Matylda, Wassermanova žena

Vlastimil Hašek

chirurg Honza, Jindřichův kamarád

Jiří Hrzán

vodník Thomas

Miroslav Masopust

vodník Rolf

Gabriela Wilhelmová

ošetřovatelka Růženka, Karlova přítelkyně

Dáša Neblechová

Bachova žena

Milena Steinmasslová

Krista, Janina kamarádka

Lucie Žulová

Vlaďka, kamarádka Polly

Jiří Lír

zástupce JUDr. Mráčka Křeček

Lubomír Kostelka

korektní úředník na kongresu

Bedřich Prokoš

předseda kongresu vodníků

Oldřich Velen

náměstek předsedy ONV

Karel Augusta

bufetář

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

zřízenec pohřební služby Patočka

Valerie Čižmárová

zpěvačka v baru

Karel Houska

vědec

Petr Hanus

Otík

Miloslav Homola

muž na voru

Karel Hovorka

listonoš Šmidra

Stanislav Hájek

vodník z řeky Maas

Gustav Bubník

kluk s potápěčskými brýlemi

Václav Štercl

zřízenec na patologii Mrázek

Ilona Jirotková

úřednice v inzerci

Jan Kraus

Jarda

Luďa Marešová

prodavačka v masně

Arnošt Proschek

Pollin kamarád

Zdeněk Skalický

starší muž na baru

Jiří Vašků

důchodce

Jan Janků

úspěšný vodník

Rudolf Růžička (2)

cizí vodník

Miroslav Svoboda

vodník z Lago Maggiore

Vladimír Ptáček

záchranář

Jan Krafka

záchranář

Ludvík Wolf

naháč

Jiří Suchánek

naháč

Pavel Kužela

skokan do vody

Antonín Filípek

skokan do vody

František Horek

plavec

Jaromír Laštovka

plavec

Karel Schumpeter

plavec

Jaroslav Sus

plavec

Bert Schneider

kulturista

Karel Engel

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

Lubor Tokoš

hlas taxikáře

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Jaroslav Pour

Assistant Director

Robert Vacík, Olga Hrčková

Screenstory

Petr Markov

Shooting Script

Václav Vorlíček

Script Editor

Oldřich Železný

Second Unit Photography

Antonín Holub

Camera Operator

Jiří Maxa

Production Designer

Oldřich Bosák

Costume Designer

Theodor Pištěk ml.

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

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, Alena Červená, Gabriela Globočníková, Magda Hájková, Ruth Čálková, Bohumil Nový

Music

Music Composed by

Vítězslav Hádl, Vítězslav Hádl (Pár svých duší mít – píseň)

Music Performed by

FISYO, Orchestr Karla Vágnera

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO), Karel Vágner (Orchestr Karla Vágnera)

Songs

Znala panna pána, Pár svých duší mít

Songwriter

Vítězslav Hádl (Znala panna pána), Vítězslav Hádl (Pár svých duší mít)

Writer of Lyrics

Petr Markov (Znala panna pána), Petr Markov (Pár svých duší mít)

Singer

Václav Neckář (Znala panna pána), Helena Vondráčková (Znala panna pána), Valerie Čižmárová (Pár svých duší mít)

Production info

Original 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

Copyright

1974

Production Year

1974

Premiere

14.03.1975

Creative Group

Vladimír Kalina

Technical info

Versions

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