The Hour of Life

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production year

1980—1981

Premiere

5 June 1981

Runtime

103 min

Category

film

Genre

historical

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Hodina života

Czech title

Hodina života

English title

The Hour of Life

Summary

In 1977, director Václav Matějka created a contemporary psychological drama Hodina pravdy (The Hour of Truth). The earlier film is in no way related to a similarly titled motion picture he made in 1981. Hodina života (The Hour of Life) is a politicised historical drama inspired by the real-life events of a textile workers’ strike organised in the eastern Bohemian town of Týnec, as seen through the eyes of the noted journalist and critic of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czech social democrat Josef Hybeš. The film depicts the dramatic events preceding Hybeš’s arrest in 1883 and the subsequent introduction of the demanded 11-hour work shift. The film, made according to the then ideological directives of the Barrandov Film Studios dramaturgy department, is credited for its descriptive representation of historical events and for the emotionally charged performance of Petr Štěpánek in the lead role.

Synopsis

In the end of 1883 in an east-bohemian village, Týnec, anarchists unsuccessfully attempted to shoot a local factory owner. The police used this occasion and arrested workers, mainly activists of the social democratic party. The old factory owner, paralysed by shock, leaves the city and the textile factory is taken over by a young and indebted entrepreneur, Ulrich. Hybeš, the editor of Vienna's Workers Gazette arrives in Týnec, allegedly to pick up revenues from the bookshop owner for workers calendars. In reality, he has to help reorganize the local weakened organization, which prepared a strike to shorten working hours to eleven hours per day. Shortly after his arrival, he meets Ulrich, his friend from early youth, but the flair for friendship is soon gone. Ulrich needs to quickly pay off his debts and forces his employees into slavish work. He sets the police against Hybeš, who have been following him anyway. Hybeš is in hiding and gets help from a worker girl, Andula, who is platonically in love with him. Ulrich ruthlessly gets rid of his employees – those who are ill, old, and also those who want to be organised. He plans to also introduce Sunday shifts. Hybeš skillfully escapes arrest, although a police superintendant Zellner, from Vienna, must be called because of him. Zellner intends to get him before the judge at any price. Workers go on strike, but the factory owner sacks them all and begins recruiting new weavers from the surroundings of the city. But they don't know how to cope with the machines. Money for the support of the strikers is confiscated by the police. Starving workers want to go back to work, but Hybeš knows that Ulrich is under pressure, as he can no longer get money from his creditors. In the end, Hybeš successfully negotiates on behalf of the workers with Ulrich, although he knows he will be arrested. Hybeš is escorted from Týnec to Prague, where he is sentenced according to the notorious Section 255, for secret conniving, to six months imprisonment. The wave of strikes across the entire monarchy forces the monarchy council to enact eleven hour working days in 1884.

Note

The film was made to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.

Cast

Petr Štěpánek

redaktor Dělnických listů Josef Hybeš

Miroslav Zounar

dělník Benda

Zdena Hadrbolcová

Bendova žena

Zlata Adamovská

Andula, dcera Bendových

Jiří Štěpnička

továrník Rudolf Ulrich

Rudolf Jelínek

dělník Jan Pácalt

Jana Gýrová

Kateřina, Pácaltova žena

Ivan Vyskočil

dělník Eman Rozhoň

Ladislav Frej

velitel četníků Jellinek

Miloš Nedbal

továrník Weinlich

Ota Sklenčka

bankéř Gottschalk

Pavel Pavlovský

anarchista Dražan

Milan Riehs

prokurista Kolda

Zdeněk Martínek

dělník Jindřich Charvát

Bořivoj Navrátil

vrchní policejní inspektor Zellner

Oldřich Vízner

pokladní Suchý

Libuše Geprtová

prostitutka Běta

Alexej Gsöllhofer

účetní Just

Lenka Kodešová

Žofie, Ulrichova milenka

Bohuslav Ličman

mistr Kadlečák

Dana Bartůňková

dělnice Milada, Rozhoňova milá

Jiří Samek

tajný policista Lukáš

Svatopluk Skopal

železničář Sedlecký

Vladimír Ptáček

mistr Šticha

Marcel Vašinka

tajný policista Rechcígl

Václav Mareš

redaktor Dělnických listů Pecka

Jaroslava Tichá

tkadlena Kudrnová

Vladimír Pospíšil

dělník Kudrna

Nina Popelíková

žena u brány

Jan Kraus

dělník Jaroslav Zajíček

Mnislav Hofmann

mistr Tunkl

Barbora Štěpánová

dělnice Hanousková

Jiří Havel

mistr Cvikl

Bohuslav Čáp

zastavárník Tlamicha

Josef Šebek

anarchista Vondra

Michal Pešek

anarchista Bednář

Josef Kubíček

hostinský Kubeček

Karel Koloušek

strážmistr Jambor

Markéta Fišerová

dělnice Zajíčková

Miroslav Rous

notář

Milan Sandhaus

četník Konopáč

Ondřej Vetchý

dělník Vondra

Karel Vochoč

knihkupec Rejl

Lukáš Hraběta

Jirka

Miriam Hrušková

zpěvačka

Václav Kotva

stávkokaz

Iva Bittová

bardáma

Viktor Král

Honzík, Pácaltův syn

Vladimír Kratina

dělník Karel Beran

Vladimír Krátký

Richter

Jan Přeučil

barman Werner

Ivan Glanc

tkadlec

Marta Svobodová-Kolesová

tkadlena

Miloš Větvička

harmonikář

Eva Asterová

tanečnice

Marcela Černačová

tanečnice

Irena Hahnová

tanečnice

Jitka Havlíčková

tanečnice

Iveta Hubičková

tanečnice

Jan Klár

tanečník

Kristina Maarová

tanečnice

Alena Majerová

tanečnice

Ladislav Rajn

tanečník

Georgi Arsenjev

hudebník

Jiří Eger

hudebník

Karel Janoušek

hudebník

František Kříž

hudebník

Jiří Kubále

hudebník

Rudolf Kubánek

hudebník

Karel Munzar

hudebník

Zdenko Mužík

hudebník

Jiří Opršal

hudebník

Karel Pecián

hudebník

Otto Plocek

hudebník

Josef Pokluda

hudebník

Vlastimil Procházka

hudebník

Slavoj Procházka

hudebník

Miroslav Rošický

hudebník

Ota Semínko

hudebník

Alex Štěrba

hudebník

René Vácha

hudebník

Vladimír Vyskočil

hudebník

Ladislav Gerendáš

host ve vinárně

Vlastimila Vlková

stará žena na dvoře

Stanislava Coufalová

dívka v kupé

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Milan Vácha, Jiří Růžička st.

Assistant Director

Luděk Svoboda, Jan Dolejš

Script Supervisor

Lenka Němečková

Screenstory

Jiří S. Kupka

Shooting Script

Václav Matějka

Script Editor

Věra Kalábová

Director of Photography

Jiří Macháně

Second Unit Photography

Ota Kopřiva

Camera Operator

Ivan Šimůnek

Production Designer

Karel Lier

Assistent Production Designer

Libuše Jahodová

Set Designer

Milan Bábik, Jiří Matějka, Eva Slívová, Karel Vaňásek

Costume Designer

Jarmila Konečná

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Assistant Film Editor

Jan Svoboda, Jana Šimonová

Sound Designer

Jiří Hora

Production Manager

Karel Škop

Unit Production Manager

Jiří Holeček, Juraj Zach

Unit Production Manager

Adriena Váchová

Consultant

prof. PhDr. Ivan Krempa, DrSc., Bořivoj Indra

Cooperation

Lenka Rambousková (klapka), Jiří Kučera (fotograf)

Music

Music Composed by

Jiří Šust

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Štěpán Koníček)

Choreographer

Pavel Šmok

Songs

Kdo v městě něco znamená

Songwriter Jiří Šust
Writer of Lyrics Zdeněk Rytíř
Singer Hana Buštíková

Nejstrašnější v žití je

Singer Miriam Hrušková

Marjánko, Marjánko

Singer sbor

Production info

Original Title

Hodina života

Czech Title

Hodina života

English Title

The Hour of Life

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

historical

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1981

Production Year

1980—1981

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 1 October 1980
start of filming 9 October 1980
technical Screenplay approved 10 November 1980
end of filming 8 May 1981
projection approval 11 May 1981

Premiere

premiere 5 June 1981 /suitable for youths/

Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Miloše Brože, Miloš Brož (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

103 min

Original length in metres

2 795 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 22. mezinárodní festival neorealistických filmů Avellino

1982
Avellino / Italy
Václav Matějka

Vítěz

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

1982
Ústí nad Labem / Czechoslovakia
Jiří S. Kupka

Vítěz

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

1982
Ústí nad Labem / Czechoslovakia
Václav Matějka