The Quiet American in Prague

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Tichý Američan v Praze

Runtime

93

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1977

Production year

1977

Premiere

20.01.1978

Language version

Czech

Director

Josef Mach, Štěpán Skalský

Screenplay

Čestmír Mlíkovský, Josef Mach, Štěpán Skalský

Summary

The events of February 1948, and a contemporary spying affair (allegedly inspired by true events) provide the basis for this 1977 motion picture drama, jointly directed by Štěpán Skalský and Josef Mach. A simple view of a complicated period revolves around the title character, scheming American diplomat Barton. He turns to blackmailing undesirable political opponents with the use of compromising photos. Employing his contacts at the interior ministry, Barton even attempts a coup d'état. The American’s cunning plan eventually fails when the working classes gain control under the leadership of the communist party… Although events in the film are clearly depicted through a heavy post “normalisation” era propagandistic lens, Tichý Američan v Praze (The Quiet American in Prague) is nonetheless regarded as a well-crafted film, whose appeal to audiences includes a strong cast led by Josef Langmiler and Polish actress Barbara Brylska.

Synopsis

In Prague of 1947 the political contest for power culminates. The opponents of growing communist influence hope in a coup supported by the Western countries. One of the spies is an American attaché Barton, a quiet and discreet man, who among others, initiates a robbery in Štěchovice archive carried out by an American army. The important documents hidden in the forests by withdrawing Germans are finally returned by the Americans; however the Gestapo agents' lists and other important materials are missing. Barton's Czech secretary Milena meets Jiří Háček, her great pre-war love. Both of them used to be members of an illegal resistance group Ztracenka that had been given away to Gestapo. Pavel Král, one of a few survivors, is determined to find out the traitor. Jiří starts to live with Milena but does not know she has been gouged on by Barton keeping her compromising photos proving her contacts with German officers. As an alleged journalist Milena gets secret information from executive army officers in turn for sex and alcohol. A newly established counterintelligence service at the Ministry of Interior is managed by captain Prokop. Pavel has found the traitor of Ztracenka - Milena. The Americans kill him with her help. Jiří is losing trust in Milena and starts to collaborate with Prokop. It is February 1948, the communists seize the power and the expected coup has not occurred. Jiří gets evidence of Milena's betrayal and breaks their relationship. The young woman commits suicide. On Prokop's request Jiří leaves the country together with the Americans.

Note

The film is based on true events of 1948.

Cast

Barbara Brylska

sekretářka Milena Singrová

Josef Langmiler

americký kulturní atašé plukovník Charles Barton

Miroslav Zounar

rotmistr PhDr. Jiří Háček

Miroslav Moravec

kapitán Prokop, velitel kontrašpionážní skupiny ministerstva vnitra

Vladimír Ráž

major Brauer, velitel oblastní Bezpečnosti

Radovan Lukavský

Prokopův nadřízený

František Němec

odbojář Pavel Král

Svatopluk Beneš

plukovník Jaroslav Tampír

Jiří Holý

Erich Laube

Bořivoj Navrátil

americký kapitán Richards

Jiří Štěpnička

americký voják Urquart

Tomáš Sedláček

americký voják Fulton

Wilhelm Koch-Hooge

německý důstojník

Viktor Maurer

dr. Pichlík, zaměstnanec ministerstva vnitra

Hana Talpová

Ann, Bartonova manželka

Vilém Besser

vyšetřovatel

Oldřich Velen

vysoký důstojník MNO

Petr Skarke

brýlatý muž, Prokopův spolupracovník

Jiří Lír

novinář z Rudého práva

Josef Střecha

novinář ze Svobodného slova

Miroslav Částek

velitel americké skupiny

Daniela Krajná

dubl za Brylskou

Miroslav Krejča

stenograf

Jindra Kvardová

kuchařka u Bartona

Michal Malý

tlumočník

Jana Robenková

Tampírova žena

Zdeněk Směták

Pánek

Vladimír Navrátil

fotograf za zrcadlem

Vladimír Bičík

agent vydávající se za vyšetřovatele

Karel Engel

mlátička

Gustav Jankovský

mlátička

Zdeněk Srstka

mlátička

Karel Sekera

poručík Kobylka

Václav Hrůza

československý důstojník

Jan Sieber

československý důstojník

Zdeněk Zámečník

československý důstojník

Jaroslav Wagner

strážný

Jiří Kosek

civilista

Bohumil Koška

civilista

Dubbing

Libuše Švormová

hlas Mileny

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Lada Vacková

Assistant Director

Jiří Koníček, Lilian Havlíčková

Based on

Miroslav Hladký (Dirigent zákulisí – kniha)

Script Editor

Zdeněk Dufek

Second Unit Photography

Václav Helliman

Camera Operator

Bohumil Vodička

Production Designer

Milan Nejedlý

Set Designer

Jiří Bžoch, Karel Kracík, Miloš Sršeň

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Milan R. Novotný

Special Effects

Jiří Rumler

Production Manager

Jan Šuster

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslav Bouček, Rudolf Mos

Unit Production Manager

Miloslav Doležal

Consultant

František Kruml, plk. dr. M. Čáda, CSc.

Music

Music Composed by

Karel Svoboda

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Songs

Až ztichnou bílé skály, Mám rád krásné děvče za řekou

Songwriter

Jan Korda (Až ztichnou bílé skály), Jiří Voldán (Mám rád krásné děvče za řekou)

Writer of Lyrics

František Korda (Až ztichnou bílé skály), Jiří Voldán (Mám rád krásné děvče za řekou)

Singer

sbor (Až ztichnou bílé skály), sbor (Mám rád krásné děvče za řekou)

Production info

Original Title

Tichý Američan v Praze

English Title

The Quiet American in Prague

Copyright

1977

Production Year

1977

Premiere

20.01.1978

Creative Group

Miroslav Hladký

Technical info

Format

35mm

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 16. festival českých a slovenských filmů České Budějovice

1978
České Budějovice / Czechoslovakia