Little Mermaid

fairytale

Typology

feature

Czech title

Malá mořská víla

Runtime

84

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1976

Production year

1976

Premiere

12.11.1976

Language version

Czech

Director

Karel Kachyňa

Screenplay

Ota Hofman, Karel Kachyňa

Summary

Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid (1836) has served as the inspiration for numerous films. However, the philosophy of contemporary narrative for children frequently clashes with the dark, tragic essence of the tale of the relationship between the daughter of a sea king and an earthbound prince, which does not have a happy ending. In that regard, screenwriter Ota Hofman and co-writer and director Karel Kachyňa decided to respect Andersen’s version. Nevertheless, the ending of their 1976 Malá mořská víla (The Little Mermaid) is slightly different to the original (in the film the unhappy mermaid turns into sea foam after being betrayed by her beloved prince, while in the Andersen she joins her sisters of the air and retains the hope of obtaining an immortal soul). The protagonist in the picture, which co-production with the Soviet Mosfilm lent a more cosmopolitan tone, is a mermaid who with the help of a witch decides to approach her beloved prince of the Southern Kingdom and become human, albeit mute. However, the prince falls victim to random confusion and chooses instead a princess from a neighbouring kingdom, who bears a resemblance to the heroine. The Little Mermaid has to accept her fate: she can only return home as sea foam… Kachyňa’s film is exceptional for its period not only due a gloomy tone at odds with the period optimism of movies for children and young people; it also has merit as a poetic, considerately stylised film that works inventively with the visual form of the underwater kingdom. Alongside the outstanding cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera legendary costume designer Ester Krumbachová made a huge contribution to the picture’s visual art qualities. Regarding casting, Miroslava Šafránková makes an impact as the sweet but resolute mermaid. Her rival from the neighbouring kingdom, who strongly resembles the heroine, was played by the actress’s sister Libuše. Radovan Lukavský impresses as the main character’s father the sea king.

Synopsis

Two daughters of the Sea King are playing in the depths of the sea – the little mermaid and her elder sister. The Sea King has just sunk a ship as a birthday gift to his elder daughter. The curious little mermaid is envious of her elder sister, who is now allowed to rise to the surface and see human beings and the outside world. The little mermaid must wait another year before she is allowed to do the same. One year later, the little mermaid is preparing for her birthday, singing a tune she has heard from a sorceress. The earth prince of the Southern Kingdom hears the melancholy tune while aboard his ship, which also has been picked out for sinking to serve as a present for the Sea King's youngest daughter. But the little mermaid falls in love with the prince and rescues him. She carries his unconscious body to the shore and gives him a goodbye kiss. She is then forced to hide when an alien princess comes by who then leans over the prince just as he opens his eyes, so that the prince mistakenly believes her to be his rescuer. The little mermaid cannot forget the prince. Her father warns her, saying that the prince has thoughts only for the other princess, but the little mermaid decides to change into a human being, even at the cost of losing her voice. She also agrees to endure pain at every step she makes. The earthly prince must marry into a fortune, because his country has been suffering one catastrophe after another. One day he finds the little mermaid, now a young girl, by the ocean shore. He takes her to his castle and they spend many pleasant hours together, even though the girl is dumb. His advisors, however, implore the prince to marry and he is compelled to go off to court a princess from another kingdom. To his surprise, the prince finds that the foreign princess is the girl he believes once came to his rescue. The prince marries her and the couple are happy together. Only the little mermaid's heart is breaking. What is more, she can now only return to the bottom of the ocean as the foam of the sea. Her single hope is to kill the prince, but the mermaid cannot bring herself to do that. She kisses the prince one last time and vanishes in the water. Her song is heard in the distance. The prince's search for the mysterious singer is to no avail. The ship, which is about to collide with a rock, is suddenly enveloped in a bed of flowers that bring the boat to a standstill just before it can hit the rock.

Film online

Cast

Miroslava Šafránková

malá mořská víla

Radovan Lukavský

král všech moří, otec šesti princezen

Petr Svojtka

princ Jižní říše

Milena Dvorská

čarodějnice

Libuše Šafránková

princezna ze sousední říše

Jiří Ornest

princův pobočník

Dagmar Patrasová

první sestra malé víly

Jiřina Krejčíková

královna Modrého moře, čtvrtá sestra

Alexej Okuněv

král Ledového moře

Jaroslava Schallerová

královna Ledového moře, třetí sestra

Milan Hein

král Žlutého moře

Jana Švandová

královna Žlutého moře, pátá sestra

Jan Vágner

princ Moře zapadajícího slunce, ženich malé mořské víly

Jiří Světlík

král Černého moře

Andrea Čunderlíková

královna Černého moře, druhá sestra

Petr Skarke

král Modrého moře

Petr Svoboda

princ Sargasového moře, ženich první sestry

Šizuka Išikava

orientální princezna

Dana Kubálková

evropská princezna

Venuše Samešová

černá princezna

Milena Steinmasslová

hispánská princezna

Jaroslav Heyduk

ceremoniář sousední říše

Vladimír Pospíšil

lodní kapitán

Hana Talpová

královna, princova matka

Josef Vondráček

starý rybář

Karel Anderle

šermíř

Pavel Vlasák

šermíř

Jiří Flíček

host na zlaté lodi

Miroslav Krejča

host na zlaté lodi

Pavel Robin

host na zlaté lodi

Milan Pěkný

host na zlaté lodi

Miloš Švarc

host na zlaté lodi

Jan Pohan

král sousední říše

Inka Čekanová

královna sousední říše

Pavel Jiras

rybář

Jan Gottlieb

rybářův syn

Pavel Šmok

dirigent

Bert Schneider

podmořský ceremoniář

Karel Engel

zkušený námořník

Zdeněk Srstka

námořník/kaskadér

Miroslav Jíra

námořník/kaskadér

Jaroslav Klenot

námořník/kaskadér

Jiří Klenot

námořník/kaskadér

Ivana Maříková

děvčátko

Marta Richterová

dvorní dáma princovy matky

Vladimír Fürst

stolník-šlechtic

Klára Frydrychová

dítě krále Modrého moře

Peter Bamidele Jzirein

družina černé princezny

Joseph Ig Nigeria Eboreime

družina černé princezny

Pavel Rímský

družina krále Ledového moře

Jaroslav Sus

dubl za P. Svojtku - potápění

Dana Staňková

dubl za M. Šafránkovou - potápění

Eva Chaloupková

dubl za M. Šafránkovou

Lucie Hněvkovská

dubl za M. Šafránkovou

Zdeněk Boubelík

tanečník

Eva Boubelíková

tanečnice

Petr Novák (3)

páže

Karel Schumpeter

potápěč

členové tanečního kroužku Vysokoškolského uměleckého souboru

členové tanečního kroužku JKP Jičín

Commentary

Dubbing

Petr Skarke

hlas krále Žlutého moře

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Milada Mikešová

Assistant Director

Jiří Světlík, Luďka Mužíková

Based on

Hans Christian Andersen (Malá mořská víla – pohádka)

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

Luděk Kopal

Production Designer

Oldřich Okáč

Art Director

Ester Krumbachová

Set Designer

Vladimír Foukal, Zdeněk Jeřábek, Pavel Šťastný

Costume Designer

Šárka Hejnová

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Jiří Lenoch

Special Effects

Jaroslav Kučera, Vladimír Dvořák, Milan Nejedlý, Ludvík Malý, Jiří Berger

Production Manager

Karel Vejřík

Unit Production Manager

Viktor Schwarcz

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Liška

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Půlnoc tmavá, První kámen bílý

Songwriter

Zdeněk Liška (Půlnoc tmavá), Zdeněk Liška (První kámen bílý)

Writer of Lyrics

Josef Hanzlík (Půlnoc tmavá), Josef Hanzlík (První kámen bílý)

Singer

Miroslava Šafránková [dab] (Půlnoc tmavá), Lenka Kořínková (Půlnoc tmavá), Miroslava Šafránková [dab] (První kámen bílý), Lenka Kořínková (První kámen bílý)

Choreographer

Pavel Šmok

Production info

Original Title

Malá mořská víla

English Title

Little Mermaid

Copyright

1976

Production Year

1976

Premiere

12.11.1976

Creative Group

Ota Hofman

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 11. mezinárodní filmový festival Miami

1978
Miami / United States of America

Vítěz

Festival: 15. festival českých a slovenských filmů Bratislava

1977
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
Jaroslav Kučera

Vítěz

Festival: 2. mezinárodní filmový festival Káhira

1977
Káhira / Egypt
Zdeněk Liška

Vítěz

Festival: 17. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1977
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 6. mezinárodní týden filmů o moři Cartagena

1977
Cartagena / Spain
Čestný diplom

Vítěz

Festival: 15. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti a mládež Gijón

1977
Gijón / Spain