Night Riders

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production year

1980

Premiere

28 August 1981

Runtime

93 min

Category

film

Genre

drama

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Noční jezdci

Czech title

Noční jezdci

English title

Night Riders

Parallel title

Noční jazdci

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

Jozef Friňák

financ

Ladislav Kriška

financ

Jaroslav Tomsa

Dubbing Stano Dančiak
velitel četníků

Ján Matúš

hudebník

Viliam Maur

hudebník

Ján Selecký

hudebník

Anton Šašinka

hudebník

Ľuboš Šašinka

hudebník

Miroslav Danko

pohraničník

Emil Šárnik

pohraničník

Cyril Šedo

pohraničník

Vojtech Vida

pohraničník

Jan Kraus

jednoruký voják

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Martin Mahdal

Assistant Director

Marie Beránková

Screenplay

Tibor Vichta

Director of Photography

František Uldrich

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

Stunts

Miroslav Danko, Karol Kepko, Ladislav Lahoda, Emil Šárnik, Cyril Šedo, Vojtěch Vida

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),

Songs

Kde domov můj

Songwriter František Škroup

Nad Tatrou sa blýska

Songwriter lidová slovenská píseň

Neopúšťaj nás

Singer sbor

Zdrávas královna

Singer sbor

Production info

Original Title

Noční jezdci

Czech Title

Noční jezdci

English Title

Night Riders

Parallel Title

Noční jazdci

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

drama

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production Year

1980

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 1979
technical Screenplay approved 20 April 1980
start of filming 8 July 1980
end of filming 7 October 1980
projection approval 4 February 1981
the first film copy approved 31 March 1981

Premiere

premiere abroad 26 June 1981 (Bratislava, Slovensko)
premiere 28 August 1981 /suitable for youths/

Studio

Barrandov, Koliba Bratislava

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Drahoslava Makovičky, Drahoslav Makovička (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny), II. tvorivá skupina Moniky Gajdošovej, Monika Gajdošová (vedoucí II. tvorivé skupiny SFT Bratislava)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

93 min

Original length in metres

2 517 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Slovak

Dialogue languages

Czech, Slovak

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Slovak

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

Vítěz

Festival: 32. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´81

1981
62 měst / Czechoslovakia
Martin Hollý