Waiter, Scarper!

comedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

Vrchní, prchni

Runtime

85

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1980

Production year

1980

Premiere

09.01.1981

Language version

Czech

Director

Ladislav Smoljak

Screenplay

Zdeněk Svěrák

Screenstory

Zdeněk Svěrák

Summary

Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak’s films have been considered Czech national treasures since 1974 when their comedy Jáchyme, hoď ho do stroje! (Joachim, Put Him into the Machine!) premiered in cinemas. The veteran director Oldřich Lipský was at the helm while Svěrák and Smoljak, both prominent figures in the Jára Cimrman Theatre among other things, provided the script. “Jáchym” was among the duo’s films not linked to the theatre’s ensemble or the legacy of Jára Cimrman, its fictional Czech genius namesake. Although unrelated to the theatre’s repertoire, Na samotě u lesa (A Cottage Near the Woods), “Marečku, podejte mi pero!” (Marečku, podejte mi pero!, both 1976), Kulový blesk (Ball-Lighting, 1978) and Vrchní, prchni (Waiter, Scarper!, 1980) still benefit from the same kind of intelligent, sarcastic humour. Vrchní, prchni! is certainly one of the pinnacles of cinematographic collaboration between Svěrák and Smoljak; the former provided the script and the latter directed the tragicomedy. One of the best comedies of the 1970s and 1980s, it presents an iconic “home-bred” story, akin to that of Kristian (1939). Like Kristian, the inconspicuous bookseller Dalibor Vrána (whose insatiable appetite for women leaves him to pay alimony to numerous ex-wives), also spends his evenings living an elegant if secret double life. By chance he discovers that when he is wearing his violinist’s tailcoat people dining in restaurants are prone to mistake him for a waiter, allowing him to collect payments from them. As a fake waiter he begins to haunt restaurateurs across the country. Since the filmmakers never lost sight of morals, Dalibor is eventually caught… The timeless picture presents a character sliding into middle age, crushed by his dull everyday reality. His “overtime” work allows Vrána to find creative self-fulfilment which also brings him the extra money he has long craved. Yet he remains an unconditionally likeable character whose trickery seems like a harmless excess in the framework of the evident though innominate socialist reality. The solemn fabric of the story was enhanced by Svěrák’s bravura, brilliant observations and scripted lines, which became part of popular culture. Smoljak’s directing remains unobtrusive throughout, though it did not stop the authors from staging a grandiose silent-film-style chase on the colonnade in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) as a finale. Josef Abrhám is just as magnificent in the lead role.

Synopsis

The bookstore manager Dalibor Vrána leaves for a high school reunion. He is wearing his only suit that he does not like, because wearing it he looks like a waiter. On his way to the reunion, he calls at a restaurant. One of the guests mistakes him with the headwaiter and forces him to take money. Reunion party takes place in a luxury house of Vyskočil, an old schoolmate of them. Vyskočil advises Vrána on numerous tricks to cheat and make good money. Dalibor thinks that all his schoolmates have a much higher level of living than he has, since he has always been lacking money. After the party he makes an important decision: to start the way to a wealthy life. During the day he works in the bookstore and in the evenings he goes to different restaurants, and pretending to be a headwaiter, he collects money from the guests. He is very successful in doing so; soon he can pay off his debts to his neighbour Pařízek (to reimburse for flooding their apartment), and later he can afford to buy a new car to replace his old "velorex" (a cheap three wheel textile-finished car). He extends his activities outside Prague. But unfortunately, the news about a faked waiter have spread to the media. Despite Dalibor acts very carefully, reacting to unexpected circumstances, he is eventually caught by police. He meets his schoolmate Vyskočil in prison, spending there 8 years. While sitting in prison, he learned to play violin. Upon being released, he takes a job of a violin player in a symphonic orchestra. After passing final exams at a hotel-management school, his son becomes a head waiter in a quality hotel in the Giant Mountains.

Cast

Josef Abrhám

knihkupec Dalibor Vrána

Libuše Šafránková

Helenka, Vránova žena

Zdeněk Svěrák

soused Pařízek

Daniela Bakerová

Erna, Pařízkova žena

Eliška Balzerová

prodavačka Věra

Jiří Kodet

spolužák Rudy Vyskočil

Dagmar Patrasová

Manuela, Rudyho slečna

Karel Augusta

bratranec Ludva

Zuzana Fišerová

prodavačka Libuše Douchová

Jiří Hálek

profesor Přikryl

Jiří Lír

rozčílený host

Milada Ježková

Váchová

Ilja Racek

opilý muž u motorestu

Filip Smoljak

Evžen, syn Pařízkových

Miloslav Štibich

personalista Bechyně

Jana Altmannová

spolužačka Marková

Václav Mareš

spolužák Jelínek

Petr Popelka

spolužák Vaněk

Jana Březinová

spolužačka Jana Pecháčková

Jan Kašpar

vrchní U Žáby

Jan Hraběta

vrchní v Ústí nad Labem

Ivan Pokorný

vrchní v Rotisserii

Jiří Knot

vrchní ve Valdštejnské vinárně

Miroslav Vladyka

inženýr Robert

Bedřich Prokoš

otec inženýra

Pavel Havránek

vrchní v motorestu

Hana Čížková

plavovlasá zákaznice

Pavel Vondruška

klavírista

Jaroslav Weigel

číšník

František Olšovský

číšník

Ivan Wiesner

uhrovitý mladík

Jan Prokeš

číšník Pažout

Ilona Vaňková

slečna

David Smoljak

vedoucí výpravy

Jan Němeček

Honzík, syn Vránových

Aleš Jánský

Slávek, Vránův syn z prvního manželství

Lucie Horová

Květa, Vránova dcera z druhého manželství

Josef Koudelka

host v restauraci

Jaroslav Vozáb

ředitel Savoye ve Špindlerově Mlýně

Karel Šíp

Daliborův spolužák

Boris Rösner

vyšetřovatel Bačák

Jiří Bednář

spolužák Valenta

Helena Dubová

zmalovaná slečna

Milan Duchek

fotograf

Iva Hercíková

spolužačka Richterová

Milan Klacek

vrchní v Dubonnetu

Milena Koutná

spolužačka Winkelhoferová

Ludmila Krajíčková

spolužačka Vrzalová

Blažena Kramešová

spolužačka Procházková

Jan Kuželka

tlouštík

Vít Pešina

Kratochvíl

Zdeněk Skalický

vrchní ve vinárně

Josef Střecha

muž se šálou

Ladislav Trojan

otec nevěsty

Jana Vychodilová

matka nevěsty

Vlasta Žehrová

slečna číšníka v Rotisserii

Jan Vávra

příslušník VB

Gabriela Wilhelmová

teta inženýra

A. Šlajsová

matka inženýra

Jiří Pokora

číšník

Alexej Pyško

nadstrážmistr VB

Vladimír Žižka

hráč na bicí

Věra Kočišová

houslistka

Václav Kotva

svatebčan-strýček

Bohumil Fišer

zákazník v knihkupectví

Rudolf Svěcený

muž s cvikrem

Jan Němeček (dítě)

Jaroušek

Slávka Hamouzová

svatebčanka

Václav Eisenhamer

host ve vinárně

Terezie Smoljaková

sousedka Paseková

Dagmar Smoljaková

host Savoye ve Špindlerově Mlýně

Kateřina Smoljaková

dítě na spřezení

Alžběta Smoljaková

Tomášek, Věřin syn

Dubbing

Martin Velda

hlas uhrovitého mladíka

David Smoljak

hlas fotografa

Ivo Gübel

hlas muže se šálou

Ladislav Smoljak

hlas spolužáka

Běla Jurdová

hlas šatnářky ve Špindlerově Mlýně

Ivo Gübel

hlas číšníka v Karlových Varech

David Smoljak

hlas vrátného Savoye ve Špindlerově Mlýně

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Drahomíra Králová, Jan Kubišta

Assistant Director

Eliška Moulisová

Screenstory

Zdeněk Svěrák

Shooting Script

Ladislav Smoljak

Script Editor

Václav Šašek

Second Unit Photography

Václav Helliman

Camera Operator

Jiří Maxa

Production Designer

Jan Oliva

Set Designer

Karel Kočí

Costume Designer

Helena Dubová

Make-Up Artist

Vladimír Petřina

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Jiří Pavlík

Production Manager

Jan Balzer

Unit Production Manager

Daniela Stašková

Music

Music Composed by

Jaroslav Uhlíř

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Songs

Severní vítr, Holubí dům, Studentská halenka

Songwriter

Jaroslav Uhlíř (Severní vítr), Jaroslav Uhlíř (Holubí dům)

Writer of Lyrics

Zdeněk Svěrák (Severní vítr), Zdeněk Svěrák (Holubí dům)

Singer

Jaroslav Uhlíř (Severní vítr), Jiří Schelinger (Holubí dům), sbor (Studentská halenka)

Production info

Original Title

Vrchní, prchni

English Title

Waiter, Scarper!

Copyright

1980

Production Year

1980

Premiere

09.01.1981

Creative Group

Karel Valtera

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam, DVD, HD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 3. mezinárodní filmový festival Harare

1986
Harare / Zimbabwe

Vítěz

Festival: 10. mezinárodní festival humoru Chamrousse

1985
Chamrousse / France

Vítěz

Festival: 10. mezinárodní festival humoru Chamrousse

1985
Chamrousse / France
Zdeněk Svěrák

Vítěz

Festival: 15. mezinárodní festival humoristických filmů Gabrovo

1981
Gabrovo / Bulgaria
Ladislav Smoljak

Vítěz

Festival: 3. festival československé filmové veselohry Nové Město nad Metují

1981
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Ladislav Smoljak

Vítěz

Festival: 19. festival českých a slovenských filmů Kladno

1981
Kladno / Czechoslovakia
Josef Abrhám