The Virgin and the Monster

horror, fairytale

Typology

feature

Czech title

Panna a netvor

Runtime

84

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1978

Production year

1978

Premiere

02.03.1979

Language version

Czech

Director

Juraj Herz

Screenplay

Ota Hofman, Juraj Herz

Screenstory

František Hrubín, Ota Hofman

Summary

In 1978, director Juraj Herz enriched the contemporary genre scene with two fairytale horror films – Deváté srdce (The Ninth Heart) and Panna a netvor (The Virgin and the Monster). Following his highly stylised features of the 1960s, the filmmaker was forced to express himself in terms of plain realism. So within his filmography, these two films constitute his return to the expressive style of Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator, 1968), Petrolejové lampy (Oil Lamps, 1971) and Morgiana (Morgiana, 1972). While Deváté srdce was based on an original theme, the story of Panna a netvor is an adaptation of classic material, respectively František Hrubín’s play for the theatre inspired by the fairytale story of Beauty and the Beast. Otta Hofan adapted Hrubín’s text for the film, but Panna a netvor is most of all a demonstration of the director’s ability to construct a fanciful, poetically sombre and gloomy atmosphere. For financial reasons, Panna a netvor was shot in the same studio setting as Deváté srdce (Architect Vladimír Labský created multifunctional scenery in Barrandov’s Studio no. 6. After some alterations, it was also used for the features Tajemství ocelového města (The Secret of the Steel Town, 1978) and Kočičí princ (Cat Prince, 1979). Deváté srdce and Panna a netvor even shared the same budget. Despite the fact that some of the personnel worked on both features (for instance, cameraman Jiří Macháně and composer Petr Hapka), the horror story based on Hrubín’s work offers quite a different ambience. While Deváté srdce’s visual conception was created in collaboration with Jan and Eva Švankmajer, thanks to the artists Josef and Olga Vyleťal Panna a netvor offers a more “natural” impression… At the chateau in the deep woods, the heroine of the narration, the beautiful, impoverished daughter of a merchant, Julie (Zdena Studénková), experiences both a nightmarish and affectionate relationship with the mysterious beast. Despite the fact that the strange, cursed host eventually turns into a handsome prince, the beast has become the feature’s most impressive attraction. Herz rejected the canonical “lion” stylisation and instead created a bird monster, whose inhuman and beastly movements and gestures made it all the more convincing given the artistic ability of the motion picture’s big star, the dancer Vlastimil Harapes.

Synopsis

Wagons laden with luxury goods get lost in the mist and stray into a thick forest. The couriers set fire to the dense undergrowth to burn a way through, but the ensuing fire and the terror of the horses just completes the destruction. The merchant has invested all his property in the goods as well as money borrowed from the fiancés of his two eldest daughters – a goldsmith and a spice dealer. The fiancés call off the wedding and after his belongings have been auctioned the merchant is left with nothing but an empty house and a portrait of his second wife, the mother of his youngest daughter Julie, known as Kráska [Beauty]. The merchant sets off with a heavy heart to sell the valuable painting. He gets lost and takes refuge in a half-ruined chateau in the middle of the forest. He falls asleep in his exhaustion and in the morning finds the picture has gone and has been replaced by a great quantity of money and jewels. When he plucks a rose, the lord of the chateau appears - a monster resembling a giant bird of prey. The monster spares the merchant's life, but on condition that the man returns himself or one of his daughters. Only Kráska is willing to save her father. At the chateau she is given plenty of food and every kind of care. The monster talks to her from a hiding place, for although he is enchanted with her appearance and sunny nature, he doesn't want her to see him. The ageing sisters meanwhile marry two aristocratic fops and set to plundering their father's property. Love changes the monster's claws into human hands. Julie catches sight of his form and in her horror rejects his declaration of love. With the monster's permission, she then goes back to her father, but when the girl realizes that the monster, whom at heart she loves, will die without her, she returns to the castle. She assures the dying monster of her love and he is transformed into the handsome prince that she has seen before in her dreams.

Note

The film was budgeted together with a film The Ninth Heart, and the two films also shared sets. In the studio No. 6 in the Barrandov Studios, architect Labský created a multi-functional set that was further adapted and used for the filming of The Ninth Heart, Mystery of the Iron City and Cat Prince.

Cast

Zdena Studenková

Julie zvaná Kráska

Vlastimil Harapes

netvor, pán zámku

Václav Voska

kupec, otec dívek

Jana Brejchová

Gábinka, Juliina sestra

Zuzana Kocúriková

Málinka, Juliina sestra

Josef Laufer

hrabátko, manžel Gábinky

Milan Hein

knížátko, manžel Málinky

Karel Augusta

kořenkář, ženich Gábinky

Josef Langmiler

zlatník, ženich Málinky

Vít Olmer

jezdec

Martin Hodák

dubl za Harapese

Václav Vodák

právník

Jaroslav Engelhart

řezník

Zeno Dostál

řezník

Zdeněk Jelen

měšťan

Kamal El Rasheed

ebenový mouřenín

Awad El Seed

ebenový mouřenín

Musa Ahmed Mansour

ebenový mouřenín

William M. Ncube

ebenový mouřenín

Karel Engel

pacholek/kaskadér

Jaroslav Klenot

pacholek/kaskadér

Ladislav Hájek

šermíř

Josef Tik

šermíř

M. Pfeiffer

šermíř

Miroslav Janda

šermíř

J. Stehlík

šermíř

Petr Drozda

kaskadér

Jiří Fajt

kaskadér

Josef Hrubý

kaskadér

Miroslav Jíra

kaskadér

Jiří Klenot

kaskadér

Ladislav Lahoda

kaskadér

Jindřich Sejk

pacholek/kaskadér

Jaroslav Šanda

kaskadér

Tomáš Cmíral

tanečník

Magdalena Čechová

tanečnice

Gerhard Černač

tanečník

Olga Fleischerová

tanečnice

Tomáš Hanták

tanečník

Miloslav Horáček

tanečník

Naďa Kašívová

tanečnice

Antonín Klepáč

tanečník

Marie Libigerová

tanečnice

Eva Lichtenbergerová

tanečnice

Zdena Lutnerová

tanečnice

Jiří Melichar

tanečník

Lubomír Mohyla

tanečník

Veronika Orlíčková

tanečnice

Jaroslav Pechek

tanečník

Helena Štěrbová

tanečnice

Václav Tůma

tanečník

Jaroslav Vesecký

tanečník

Dubbing

Taťjana Medvecká

hlas Julie

Jiří Zahajský

hlas netvora

Jorga Kotrbová

hlas Málinky

Crew and creators

Director

Juraj Herz

Second Unit Director

Zeno Dostál

Assistant Director

Kateřina Lukášová, Pavla Marková

Based on

František Hrubín (Kráska a zvíře – divadelní hra)

Shooting Script

Juraj Herz

Second Unit Photography

Viktor Růžička

Camera Operator

Vojtěch Kuthan

Production Designer

Vladimír Labský

Art Director

Josef Vyleťal, Olga Vyleťalová

Costume Designer

Irena Greifová

Sound Designer

František Černý

Titles Designed by

Josef Vyleťal, Olga Vyleťalová

Production Manager

Karel Kochman

Unit Production Manager

Věra Lukášová, Petr Prejda

Unit Production Manager

Jiřina Vaňková

Music

Music Composed by

Petr Hapka

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Kdo chce míti samou starost

Songwriter

Petr Hapka (Kdo chce míti samou starost)

Writer of Lyrics

František Hrubín (Kdo chce míti samou starost)

Singer

sbor (Kdo chce míti samou starost)

Production info

Original Title

Panna a netvor

English Title

The Virgin and the Monster

Working Title

Kráska a zvíře

Copyright

1978

Production Year

1978

Premiere

02.03.1979

Creative Group

Ota Hofman

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 2. mezinárodní festival fantastických filmů Fantasporto

1982
Porto / Portugal
Juraj Herz

Nominace

Festival: 2. mezinárodní festival fantastických filmů Fantasporto

1982
Porto / Portugal

Vítěz

Festival: Mezinárodní filmový festival Cádiz

1980
Cádiz / Spain

Vítěz

Festival: 12. mezinárodní festival fantastických filmů a hororů Sitges

1979
Sitges / Spain
Juraj Herz

Vítěz

Festival: 17. festival českých a slovenských filmů Hradec Králové

1979
Hradec Králové / Czechoslovakia
Josef Vyleťal

Vítěz

Festival: 17. festival českých a slovenských filmů Hradec Králové

1979
Hradec Králové / Czechoslovakia
Vladimír Labský

Vítěz

Festival: 17. festival českých a slovenských filmů Hradec Králové

1979
Hradec Králové / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Macháně

Vítěz

Festival: 8. mezinárodní festival fantastických a sci-fi filmů Paříž

1979
Paříž / France