Time Works for the Murderer

detective, crime

Typology

feature

Czech title

Čas pracuje pro vraha

Runtime

83

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1979

Production year

1979

Premiere

01.02.1980

Language version

Czech

Director

Jiří Hanibal

Screenplay

Jiří Hanibal

Summary

Václav Erben’s novel Efektivně mrtvá žena (An Effectively Dead Woman, 1970) was the basis for a detective drama made by the director Jiří Hanibal in 1979. The crime genre is an unusual aberration in his filmography. Nonetheless, the well-crafted Čas pracuje pro vraha (Time Works for the Murderer) ticks all the boxes for what was considered a crowd-pleasing detective movie at that time. However, unlike the book that inspired the film, which featured Erben’s most popular hero – the elegant skirt-chasing Capitan Michal Exner – the movie’s protagonist is called Jindřich Marha. He is married and – like the book – is on the trail of a murderer who killed a seemingly unimpeachable young woman, Věra Šimandlová. Besides her husband, those suspected of murdering Věra also include some of her colleagues at the large press agency where she worked. An unknown assailant tries to take Marha out of the game. However, thanks to his co-workers, the tireless crime-fighter continues his investigation from his hospital bed. Eventually, it transpires that Věra was a blackmailer embroiled in a treasonous plot aimed at ensuring the defection of a group of scientists to a capitalist country… František Němec plays the lead role in this 1970s film, which combines a classic detective story with a tendentious political intrigue about the “brain drain to the West.” In the 1970s and 80s, Němec was a popular choice of actor to play the role of someone defending official Czechoslovak justice with a human face. Besides his work duties, Captain Marha has a very visible private life. Not only is he battling with a cigarette addiction, at one stage his problems with his wife, Eva, push the investigation of the crime to one side (even though it ultimately doesn’t resolve anything between them). Other parts in Time Works for the Murderer were played by popular actors: Luděk Munzar and Eduard Cupák played suspects who were reporters at the press agency, which is reminiscent of the national news bureau ČTK. The role of Věra’s plumber husband was played by the outstanding Josef Somr.

Synopsis

Věra, wife of the plumber Šimandl, is found murdered in the cinema next to the IDOC (Information and Documentation) agency where she worked. Police captain Marha, who is leading the investigation, is informed by Šimandl that on the day of the murder Věra promised to bring home fifty thousand crowns to buy a car. Marha's primary suspects are the three men working at the agency: deputy editor-in-chief Brandl and editors Pernata and Remeš, and of course also Šimandl. Šimandl hands the captain a scrap of paper from a telex with four names on it: Dr Kyselý, Prof Tereba, Dr Bílek and MSc Machoň. Brandl explains to Marha that these are the names of scientists who have secretly emigrated from the country, and invites him to the agency for a meeting. Finally he takes Marha to the archive where someone knocks the police captain unconscious and sets the archive on fire. The captain is saved by the night porter. At the hospital, Marha realises that somebody has stolen the piece of paper from the telex with the names on it. He must keep running the investigation from his hospital bed. Remeš informs the police lieutenant Filipec that he suspects Pernata, who was Mrs Šimandl's lover, of the murder. She had accidentally found out that Pernata was organising the scientists' escape from the country and was blackmailing him. Remeš claims he can obtain evidence from Pernata's collaborators in Vienna. He is given permission to travel abroad and is free to leave the next day. Šimandl presses Remeš for the money he promised to his wife. Remeš asks him to come back the next day, but the police intervene immediately. Remeš's ploy fails; he will not be able to escape abroad.

Film online

Cast

František Němec

kriminalista kapitán Jindřich Marha

Luděk Munzar

redaktor Remeš

Eduard Cupák

redaktor Václav Pernata

Josef Somr

instalatér Antonín Šimandl

Oldřich Vlach

kriminalista nadporučík Smutný

Jiří Pleskot

náměstek ředitele dr. Brandl

Jaroslav Drbohlav

poručík Filipec

Alena Procházková

Lýdie Mouchová, kolegyně Šimandlové

Jiří Zahajský

řidič VB Karlíček

Adolf Filip

redaktor Forst

Bohumila Dolejšová

Eva, Marhova žena

Ladislav Lakomý

Vaculík, Šimandlův kamarád

Jiří Bruder

policejní lékař MUDr. Krecar

Robert Vrchota

denní vrátný

Karel Koloušek

noční vrátný

Karel Hábl

MUDr. Caudr, Pernatův kamarád

Ilona Jirotková

Věra Šimandlová

Božena Böhmová

bufetářka

Ema Skálová

šatnářka

Bohumil Šmída

Moucha, otec Lýdie

Ivan Hruška

příslušník VB

Vladimír Navrátil

příslušník VB

Zdeněk Blažek

majitel agentury Wienapress Jastrebski

Jiří Lír

směnař

Zdeněk Braunschläger

novinář Drbohlav ze Svobodného slova

Karel Hovorka

číšník

Václav Štekl

číšník

Vlastimil Zavřel

kriminalista

M. Březina

kriminalista

Josef Střecha

kriminalista

Zbyněk Šmíd

kriminalista

Jaroslav Tichý

kriminalista

Miloš Vavruška

kriminalista

Jiřina Zemanová

nájemnice

Zdeněk Hess

vědec

Milan Charvát

novinář Kurt Habler z Wienapressu

Otto Lackovič

výčepní Kiš

František Kubíček

karbaník Franta

Tomáš Kožíšek

Petr, Marhův syn

Vladimír Ptáček

kriminalista

Bert Schneider

kriminální technik Syřiště

Jana Vacíková

tlumočnice

Raoul Schránil

tlumočník

Marta Srovnalová

žena u vrátnice

Dubbing

Mirko Musil

hlas směnaře

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Karel Brchel

Assistant Director

Robert Vacík, Magda Vodičková

Based on

Václav Erben (Efektivně mrtvá žena – román)

Screenplay

Jiří Hanibal

Shooting Script

Jiří Hanibal

Script Editor

Karel Cop

Second Unit Photography

Kamil Kadeřábek

Camera Operator

Michal Hvozdák

Production Designer

Jaroslav Krška

Set Designer

Rudolf Beneš, Josef Calta, Petr Matouš

Costume Designer

Lída Novotná

Film Editor

Zdeněk Stehlík

Sound Designer

Jiří Lenoch

Production Manager

Jiří Pokorný

Unit Production Manager

Jan Milič, Vlasta Synkulová

Unit Production Manager

Pavel Brunclík

Consultant

pplk. Jaroslav Beneš

Music

Music Composed by

Jan Hrábek

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Jan Hrábek (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Čas pracuje pro vraha

English Title

Time Works for the Murderer

Copyright

1979

Production Year

1979

Premiere

01.02.1980

Creative Group

Drahoslav Makovička

Technical info

Format

35mm , HD

Versions

Czech