An Enemy Is at the Wheel

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Za volantem nepřítel

Runtime

93

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1974

Production year

1974

Premiere

03.10.1975

Language version

Czech

Director

Karel Steklý

Screenplay

Karel Steklý

Screenstory

Miroslav Müller

Summary

Prague taxi service chief Mudroch (Miloš Willig) has no time for the irrational demands of his drivers for a pay rise. The drivers decide to strike and seek the support of the trade unions and “enemies of the state” in their fight against Murdoch. But the taxi firm boss is convinced that such an honest communist as himself cannot be overcome. Then saboteurs interfere with the brakes of his car… This 1974 drama made by a very old hand of filmmaking, Karel Steklý, amounts to a criticism of opponents of the contemporary regime. They are represented as indulging in dishonest intrigues in preparation for the 1968 disruption of the established political order. It is a forcible example of post-1968 “normalisation” cinema which makes use of many ideological clichés. The motion picture propagandistically presents honest comrades, corrupted long-haired citizens, taxi drivers who have no appetite for work and wicked emigrants stealing the wives of true communists. Today, the film might come across as an unintended comedy, but in its day, it clearly reflected the new doctrine of “normalisation” being pushed by the state.

Synopsis

Prague taxi drivers ask for an immoderate pay rise. Director Mudroch disapproves of their requirements, giving rise to their hostility. The drivers refuse to work and the chief dispatcher Chaluš is laughed at by them. They decide to win over director Mudroch, looking for support of anti-communists at the ministry and in the Trade Unions. On the contrary, Mudroch expects support from the ministry, but the office-holder Hlávka is not willing to burn his fingers, being threatened by anti-communist leaflets. Chaluš is aware of the company shortcomings, but his marriage problems prevail. His wife Zdena her ex-friend dates Rudolf who is back from emigration. Now, he talks her into leaving for the West with him. Mudroch struggles to cope with his new position, convinced that honest communists cannot be defeated. His hostile colleagues damage the brakes in his car. Chaluš learns from the driver Eugene that his wife is about to leave with Rudolf. He rushes to the airport with Mudroch. In the very last minute, Zdena changes her mind, leaving Rudolf at the airport. Mudroch's taxi crashed because of faulty brakes. Seriously injured Mudroch loses consciousness. His last words are: they can murder people, but they cannot win.

Cast

Miloš Willig

ředitel taxislužby Mudroch

Libuše Řídelová

Mudrochova manželka

Petr Skarke

hlavní dispečer taxislužby Chaluš

Regina Rázlová

trenérka plavání Zdena, Chalušova žena

Karel Hábl

Rudolf, bývalý Zdenin milý

Svatopluk Matyáš

ing. Brotánek, pracovník ministerstva financí

Zdena Burdová

dispečerka Jana

Libuše Matějová

Bartošová, Rudolfova sestra

Jiří Němeček

předseda Ústřední rady odborů dr. Ončák

Josef Langmiler

šéfredaktor TV novin Winter

Gustav Opočenský

taxikář Bláha, bývalý právník

Jan Skopeček

taxikář Hejtmánek

Jindřich Janda

funkcionář Ústřední rady odborů Hlávka

František Skřípek

Milan, Mudrochův syn

Bohumil Bezouška

taxikář Evžen

Oldřich Velen

taxikář Frühauf

Zdeněk Kryzánek

taxikář Soukup

Ivo Niederle

taxikář Koloušek

Vladimír Hrubý

taxikář Patočka

Jan Schánilec

taxikář Pařílek

Zdeněk Kutil

předseda ZO ROH Šíma

Jan Krafka

taxikář Víšek

Jiří Havel

taxikář Kupšík

Petr Pospíchal

taxikář Beznoska

Radan Rusev

taxikář Pazdírek

Antonín Hardt

strážmistr VB

Jiří Holý

politik

Josef Hlinomaz

automobilista v aerovce

Magda Maděrová

telefonistka

Raoul Schránil

vrchní ve varieté

Stanislav Remunda

řidič autojeřábu

Miloš Vavruška

muž s baretem na ulici

Karel Peyr

velvyslanecký rada

Bohumil Kňákal

taxikář

Ladislav Krečmer

zákazník na Hradčanském náměstí

Roman Hemala

Komárek

František Kubíček

normální muž

Kajetán Maudr

zřízenec v livreji

Rudolf Kalina

vlasáč

Běla Veselá-Sobotková

tanečnice s ohněm

Jiřina Zemanová

květinářka

Jiří Tomek (hudebník)

hudebník

Anatolij Kohout

hudebník

Jaroslav Tomsa

dubl za Williga

Petr Kučera

reportér s politiky

Zdenek Zaoral

brýlatý muž ve vinárně

motoristický oddíl Dukla Benešov

motocyklisté

Jarmila Švehlová

dívka u podpisových archů

Dubbing

Eduard Dubský

hlas velvyslaneckého rady

Alena Karešová

hlas z televizoru

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Zdenek Zaoral

Assistant Director

Jiří Koníček, Eva Truchlá

Screenstory

Miroslav Müller

Screenplay

Karel Steklý

Shooting Script

Karel Steklý

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

Antonín Šimral

Production Designer

Věra Líznerová

Set Designer

Miroslav Himmer, Marcel Kříž, Eva Slívová

Costume Designer

Svatava Sophová

Sound Designer

Jiří Hora

Special Effects

Trikový ateliér FSB

Production Manager

Jiří Zika

Unit Production Manager

Karel Prchal, Vladimír Tišer

Unit Production Manager

Václav Veruněk

Cooperation

Jan Kňákal, Miroslav Pešan, Regina Svobodová, Anna Mejtská

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Seidel

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Bum, bum, bum

Songwriter

Ladislav Štaidl (Bum, bum, bum)

Writer of Lyrics

Jiří Štaidl (Bum, bum, bum)

Singer

Karel Gott (Bum, bum, bum)

Production info

Original Title

Za volantem nepřítel

English Title

An Enemy Is at the Wheel

Copyright

1974

Production Year

1974

Premiere

03.10.1975

Creative Group

Karel Cop

Technical info

Format

35mm

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Exhibition: 17. přehlídka avantgardních neorealistických filmů Avellino

1976
Avellino / Italy

Vítěz

Festival: 13. festival českých a slovenských filmů Praha

1975
Praha / Czechoslovakia
Miloš Willig