Night Riders

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Noční jezdci

Runtime

93

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production year

1981

Premiere

28.08.1981

Language version

Czech

Director

Martin Hollý

Summary

Early twentieth century history is the terrain of director Martin Hollý in this 1981 motion picture co-produced by the Barrandov (Prague) and Koliba (Slovakia) film studios. Noční jezdci (Night Riders) tell the story of former Czech legionnaires, who serve in border patrols on the Slovak-Polish border in 1920. Police constable Eda Halva (Radoslav Brzobohatý) arrives in a remote village to deal with local horse smugglers. The honourable war veteran gains a mortal adversary in Marek Orban (Michal Dočolomanský), who wants to use the proceeds from horse smuggling to move the entire village to America. Unfortunately, his hopes are dashed in a series of bloody skirmishes that turn out to be entirely needless in the light of later “big” historical events. Beautiful mountain locales, an unusual, almost western-like plot, and great acting performances feature in this genre drama.

Synopsis

It is shortly after the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic. A veteran of the Italian legions, Halva, visits his former co-soldiers and recruits them for service at the customs post on the Slovak-Polish border. Accompanied by his wife Eva and twenty customs officers, Halva arrives at a village with only seventy inhabitants. They are welcomed by the burning building of the customs house. A group of five villagers headed by Marek Orban operates in the surroundings, smuggling horses from Poland. Marek has convinced all his fellow-citizens to move from the backwoods valley to the United States for work. They want to get the money for the passenger tickets by smuggling. In the local church, the priest teaches the villagers English. The arrival of the officers thus does not please anybody. People hurry with their departure. They did not sow the fields this year any more, they sold their cattle and killed the poultry. The excise officers build a new customs building, and even the smugglers get engaged. They are competent carpenters and they completely tire Halva's soldiers. The reason becomes clear in the morning - they drove another herd of horses across the border at night, right under the officer's' noses. Halva is in a rage and deploys guards everywhere. The excise officer Bílý catches Imro stealing food supplies, but the hot-tempered smuggler shoots him dead in an ambush for having been "ridiculed". Imro's wife delivers a son. The schooled hospital attendant Halvová makes the midwife wash her hands with disinfectant. The child, however, dies overnight and the superstitious villagers accuse Halvová of its death. The desperate woman leaves for Prague. One horse after another meanwhile dies in the steep Black Dale where no guards were installed. The remaining animals are shot by the humiliated Halva. The dream of going to America vanishes. The smugglers disappear from the village after a fight between Orban and Halva where neither of them is the winner. The villagers set off to a procession to Poland. On the way back, they smuggle vodka in a sculpture of the Virgin Mary. Marek's group with horses wants to pass across the border behind them in alignment. Five people die in the ensuing shootout: three smugglers and two excise officers, and only Orban manages to escape. The massacre has quite an ironic ending. The village and its environs are surrendered to Poland according to the great powers' treaty. Halva's unit leaves. Only the tireless Marek Orban has no idea that he now smuggles horses from Poland to Poland.

Cast

Radoslav Brzobohatý

vrchní respicient strážmistr Eda Halva

Michal Dočolomanský

vůdce pašeráků Marek Orban

Leopold Haverl

celník Babušek

Jozef Adamovič

pašerák Imro Jakuvec

Soňa Valentová

Eva, Halvova žena

Petr Čepek

financ Janoušek, bývalý dřevorubec

Jiří Krampol

financ Borovička

Petr Skarke

financ Resl, bývalý uvaděč v kině

Pavel Zedníček

financ Fořt, bývalý číšník

Jiří Kodeš

financ Jan Bílý

Ivan Palúch

pašerák Paľo Šebo-Macúch

Karol Čálik

pašerák Štefan Hnácik

Ľubomír Paulovič

pašerák Ondro Krtinec

Ján Mildner

starý Jakuvec

Ondrej Jariabek

Jakub Hreňo

Hana Gregorová

Žofka, Imrova žena

Anton Gýmerský

krčmář Laco

Adam Matejka

starý Hnácik

Ján Greššo

dr. Jambor

Štefan Mišovic

inspektor kapitán Hrma

Jitka Klaudová

Hanka

Anton Trón

financ

Jozef Friňák

financ

Ladislav Kriška

financ

Peter Lejko

financ

Jaroslav Tomsa

velitel četníků

Ján Matúš

hudebník

Viliam Maur

hudebník

Ján Selecký

hudebník

Anton Šašinka

hudebník

Ľuboš Šašinka

hudebník

Miroslav Danko

kaskadér-pohraničník

Emil Šárnik

kaskadér-pohraničník

Cyril Šedo

kaskadér-pohraničník

Vojtech Vida

kaskadér-pohraničník

Karol Kepko

kaskadér

Ladislav Lahoda

kaskadér

Jan Kraus

jednoruký voják

Dubbing

Stano Dančiak

hlas velitele četníků

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Martin Mahdal

Assistant Director

Marie Beránková

Screenplay

Tibor Vichta

Second Unit Photography

Vladimír Smutný

Camera Operator

Jiří Pechar

Production Designer

Juraj Červík

Set Designer

Stanislav Možný, Karel Kracík

Costume Designer

Milan Čorba

Sound Designer

Milan Strojný

Production Manager

Igor Fábry, Blažej Vráb

Unit Production Manager

Dušan Plvan, Martin Štubniak, Rudolf Mos, Jozef Prochác, Janda Jan (výroba)

Consultant

Jaroslav Tomsa

Cooperation

Správa Tatranského národního parku, Horská služba ve Vysokých Tatrách

Music

Music Composed by

Svetozár Stračina

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Songs

Kde domov můj, Nad Tatrou sa blýska, Neopúšťaj nás, Zdrávas královna

Songwriter

František Škroup (Kde domov můj), lidová slovenská píseň (Nad Tatrou sa blýska)

Singer

sbor (Neopúšťaj nás), sbor (Zdrávas královna)

Production info

Original Title

Noční jezdci

English Title

Night Riders

Parallel Title

Noční jazdci

Copyright

1981

Production Year

1981

Premiere

28.08.1981

Technical info

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 20. festival českých a slovenských filmů Ústí nad Labem

1982
Ústí nad Labem / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 32. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´81

1981
62 měst / Czechoslovakia
Martin Hollý

Vítěz

Festival: 32. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´81

1981
62 měst / Czechoslovakia