In 1976 the screenwriters Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak built on the tradition of Martin Frič’s secondary school comedies. With Jáchyme, hoď ho do stroje! (Joachim, Put Him into the Machine!) (1974) they demonstrated that their distinctive humour was the perfect match for the precise, playful approach of director Oldřich Lipský. Like Joachim, Put Him into the Machine!, the comedy „Marečku, podejte mi pero!“ (“Mareček, Please Pass Me a Pen!”) is a casual contemporary story that fulfils the demands of society in a subtle, cultivated manner. As part of moves to boost the qualifications of the working professions, Jiří Kroupa, an aging foreman at an agricultural machinery factory, has to finish technical school. He thus unwillingly spends his evenings at the same desk where his teenage son sits during the day. His distaste for learning, which moreover he finds difficult, has a disastrous impact on his results. Kroupa Sr. has to marshal all his forces in order to prevent the pedantic sycophant Hujer (Václav Lohniský) from acquiring the boss’s job at a modern plant… However, the essence of the comedic plot filled with verbal gags and situational humour is not Kroupa’s study problems but the very situation of adults being forced to experience the stumbling blocks of everyday school life. The heterogeneous classmates are quickly transformed into a typical school class in which alongside the swot Hujer the infantile flirt Týfová (Iva Janžurová), naive striver Plha (Josef Kemr) and inseparable provocateurs Tuček and Šlajs (Smoljak and Svěrák) stand out. Clashes between the “dim-witted” overage students and the demands of secondary education are another source of comic situations. Dozens of humorous lines in Lipský’s most loved film caught on and have become part of the culture. An outstanding cast is dominated by Jiří Sovák and his (then 27-year-old) son Jiří Schmitzer as Kroupa senior and junior. However, the titular Mareček does not exist – the pupil lives only in the memory of the senile Professor Hrbolek.
A factory producing agricultural machines is about to be thoroughly modernized. If he wants to keep his job, master craftsman Kroupa is going to have to improve his qualifications through further training and completing his school-leaving exams. Kroupa is persuaded to go back to school by his subordinates who fear that the unbearable Hujer, who has already signed on for schooling, may get promoted and take Kroupa's place. The students at the evening classes of the technical college are all middle-aged people. Even so, there are go-getters, shirkers and slobs among them just like in any other school. The elderly Czech language professor Hrbolek keeps calling the unruly Tuček by the name of Mareček, and refuses to excuse the absence of Hliník, who has moved to Humpolec. Master Kroupa is trying hard. He just about manages to grind through the poetry, but unlike his son Jirka who is studying at the same school, he is hopeless at mathematics. Kroupa rejects the amorous advances of his eccentric fellow student Eva Týfová. A billet-doux with an invitation for a date at the cemetery causes Kroupa problems. Týfová is convinced that the note is intended for her and insists on an apology. Kroupa's marriage almost collapses but then it becomes clear that it was Jirka who wrote the letter to his girlfriend Eva Tůmová. Relatives in ample numbers join the parents' association meeting, with fourteen people representing the crawler Hujer alone. Kroupa suppresses his pride, agrees to take mathematics classes from his son Jirka and greatly improves his grades. They finally both receive pretty good school degrees. After a while, in the modern assembly shop, master Kroupa is running production automatically from a glassed-in cabin.
mistr Jiří Kroupa st., večerní student
manželka Jiřího Kroupy st.
student Jiří, syn Kroupových
kontrolor Viktor Hujer/Robert, Hujerův bratr
Eva Týfová, spolužačka Kroupy st.
skladník šroubárny Plha, večerní student
večerní student Tuček zvaný Mareček
večerní student Šlajs zvaný Hustoles
profesor češtiny Hrbolek
třídní profesor Čeněk Janda, matikář
Eva Tůmová, přítelkyně Kroupy ml.
Outratová, Kroupova spolupracovnice
profesorka fyziky Zíková
profesor chemie Lapáček
ing. Emil Týfa
Hora, Kroupův spolupracovník
večerní student Dudek
večerní studentka Ječná
vrátný u vlečky
Plhův stařičký otec
teta Máňa, Hujerova příbuzná
Famfula, Kroupův spolupracovník
Rousek, Kroupův spolupracovník
mistr v lakovně Mužík, večerní student
pracovník odbytu Svátek, večerní student
zámečník Březina, večerní student
Zelenková, Hujerova sestra
měřič s pásmem
Martin Mahdal, Marie Hejzlarová
Jan Petrů, Václav Pošta, Jan Jindra
„Marečku, podejte mi pero!“
“Mareček, Please Pass Me a Pen!”
8 October 1976
Festival: 15. festival českých a slovenských filmů Bratislava
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
Festival: 27. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´76
48 měst / Czechoslovakia