The Three Veterans

fairytale

Typology

feature

Czech title

Tři veteráni

Runtime

93

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1983

Production year

1983

Premiere

01.07.1984

Language version

Czech

Director

Oldřich Lipský

Screenplay

Zdeněk Svěrák, Oldřich Lipský

Summary

This penultimate film from director Oldřich Lipský is a loose adaptation of a short story of the same name by actor and author Jan Werich (it is found in Werich’s 1960 anthology novel Fimfárum). Tři veteráni (The Three Veterans), a fairytale released in 1983, tells the story of three soldiers, discharged with honours, who now have to learn to appreciate the magical gift of life all over again. Lipský and screenwriter Zdeňek Svěrák team up again for this project, having previously joined forces on Jáchyme, hoď ho do stroje! (Joachim, Throw Him into the Machine!, 1974), “Marečku, podejte mi pero!” (“Mareček, Pass Me the Pen!”, 1976) and Ať žijí duchové! (Long Live the Ghosts!, 1977). However, in this case, the playful literary source is bolstered with a classic story, making much use of situational and verbal comedy, and also possessing a strong moral. After being released from the army, artilleryman Pankrác, military cook Servác and dragoon Bimbác wander the world aimlessly. But a chance for redemption comes when three elves give them three magical items: a hat, a purse and a harp. However, inside the small kingdom of Monte Albo the three comrades become ensnared by the beautiful but evil princess Bosana and her greedy father. Pride comes before a fall as the three travellers lose their precious gifts. But the elves offer an opportunity for the thieves to receive their just due... Asides from a witty script, this timeless film from Oldřich Lipský also benefits from several outstanding performances: Rudolf Hrušínský (Pankrác), Petr Čepek (Bimbác) and Josef Somr (Servác). The director also cast countless favourite performers in many smaller roles, including Július Satinský, Milan Lasica, Miloš Kopecký and Lubomír Lipský. But perhaps the greatest attraction of this entertaining fairytale is the long nose that grows on Bosana (Mahulna Bočanová) as a form of punishment, and which swells so pervasively that it soon breaches the borders of neighbouring lands, causing international political tensions in the process. As with Lipský’s detective comedy Adéla ještě nevečeřela (Adela Hasn’t Had Her Supper Yet, 1977) and the Jules Verne adventure Tajemství hradu v Karpatech (The Mystery of the Carpathian Castle, 1981) special effects come by way of iconic filmmaker and artist Jan Švankmajer.

Synopsis

Three veterans - a cannoneer called Pankrác, a dragoon called Bimbác and a cook by the name of Servác - are awarded medals as a farewell to the army. They wander through the world, spending their mercenaries' pay. They do not believe a beggar with a barrel organ, clad in the remains of a uniform, who tells them that fame and the medals' value are only fleeting. They spend all their money, and one time fall asleep in a forest by a fire. They are woken up one by one by kind elves who give them each magical gifts. In the morning, Pankrác has a red top hat which can create things by magic, Bimbác has a small harp which can "twang up" servants, and Servác has a bottomless pouch producing golden coins. The clear-headed veterans Servác and Pankrác want to enjoy the money, but Bimbác would like to battle with the magical soldiers again. His friends thus decide to calm him down by marrying him off. Journeying, they arrive at the kingdom called Monte Alba. On the border, Bimbác falls in love with the beautiful princess Bosana whose portraits are painted by a customs officer. The dirty kingdom is inhabited by lazy people covered in flies and reigned over by the cunning king Pikola. His daughter Bosana is not only beautiful but also treacherous. She deprives the veterans of their magical gifts and sets the population against them. The three friends manage to escape and get three baby apples from the "nose-growing" tree and three baby pears with the help of the elves. The veterans, disguised in oriental dresses, then slip the apples to the king and the sweet-toothed Bosana eats them in no time. But instead of the promised beauty, a nose as long as her arm starts growing on her face. It gets longer and longer and even causes a war threat from the neighbouring lands. The veterans, disguised as three wise men, heal the princess with the pears - but she must, of course, first return them the stolen things. When the veterans subsequently begin thinking only of themselves, make no one happy and almost start fighting with each other, the elves take the gifts away from them. The three men must realize that money cannot buy the most precious things - joy, friendship and peace.

Note

According to information provided by the script editor Marcela Pittermannová, the script should have been written by Jiří Brdečka. The work was taken over by Zdeněk Svěrák after Brdečka´s sudden death.

Cast

Rudolf Hrušínský

bývalý dělostřelec Pankrác

Petr Čepek

bývalý dragoun Bimbác

Josef Somr

bývalý vojenský kuchař Servác

Vida Skalská

princezna Bosana

Július Satinský

král Pikola

Miloš Kopecký

skřítek

Lubomír Lipský

skřítek

Jiří Kaftan

skřítek

Milan Lasica

celník

Jiří Hálek

generál/učitel

Vladimír Hrubý

veterán s flašinetem

Ladislav Gerendáš

hoteliér Sup

Jaroslav Vozáb

kastelán

Tomáš Vacek

flyboy Eda

Ivan Pokorný

písař

Jaroslav Páleník

kočí Hans

Jiří Knot

velitel domobrany

Vladimír Hrabánek

velitel stráže

Mirko Musil

krčmář

Lena Birková

žena s hrncem horké vody

René Gabzdyl

zarostlý muž

Olga Jungová

břišní tanečnice

Jiří Krytinář

čistič bot

Milan Riehs

starosta na mostě

Zdeněk Sklenář

kluk

Radovan Versigan

učitel

Josef Balog

hudebník

Zdeněk Bulín

hudebník

Karel Braniš

hudebník

František Doksanský

hudebník

Vojtěch Demeter

hudebník

Václav Fugner

hudebník

Vladimír Goga

hudebník

Juraj Grunza

hudebník

Gejza Grunza

hudebník

Pavel Hájek

hudebník

Stanislav Halbich

hudebník

Jan Král

hudebník

Miroslav Nováček

hudebník

Josef Peterka (2)

hudebník

Jaroslav Skopový

hudebník

Jan Šimek

hudebník

Josef Štěpánek

hudebník

František Šůcha

hudebník

Milan Veseleňák

hudebník

Slavomil Vrzal

hudebník

Ivan Anthon

loutkoherec

Eva Hrušková

loutkoherečka

Ivana Kašparová

loutkoherečka

Jaroslav Moravec (2)

loutkoherec

Karel Smrž

host v hostinci

Wolfgang Emmrich

Hans-Hasso Steube

Paul Jaster

Květoslav Štora

dubl za Petra Čepka

Květoslav Grobař

dubl za Josefa Somra

Rudolf Strejček

dubl za Rudolfa Hrušínského

Karel Engel

kaskadér

František Jákl

kaskadér

Dušan Junas

kaskadér

Jaroslav Klenot

kaskadér

Jan Kriesman

kaskadér

Zdeněk Krumpl

kaskadér

Ladislav Lahoda

kaskadér

Petr Plesník

kaskadér

Jindřich Sejk

kaskadér

Jaroslav Tomsa

kaskadér

Karel Vítek

kaskadér

Vlastimila Vlková

vesničanka

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Aleš Dospiva, Stanislava Hutková

Assistant Director

Marie Hejzlarová

Based on

Jan Werich (Tři veteráni – pohádka z knihy Fimfárum)

Shooting Script

Oldřich Lipský

Script Editor

Kristián Suda

Second Unit Photography

Jan Hanzal

Camera Operator

F. A. Brabec

Production Designer

Milan Nejedlý

Art Director

Jan Švankmajer

Set Designer

Dvořák Josef (výprava), Petr Matouš, Richard Staněk, Petr Průša

Costume Designer

Irena Greifová

Film Editor

Dalibor Lipský

Sound Designer

Jiří Lenoch

Production Manager

Karel Škop

Unit Production Manager

Juraj Zach, Vlasta Synkulová, Ivo Pitrák

Unit Production Manager

Jiří Potsch

Music

Music Composed by

Jaroslav Uhlíř

Selected Music

Johann Strauss ml. (Na krásném modrém Dunaji)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Mario Klemens (FISYO)

Songs

Není nutno, Měla babka čtyři jablka

Songwriter

Jaroslav Uhlíř (Není nutno)

Writer of Lyrics

Zdeněk Svěrák (Není nutno)

Singer

sbor (Není nutno), Július Satinský (Měla babka čtyři jablka)

Production info

Original Title

Tři veteráni

English Title

The Three Veterans

Copyright

1983

Production Year

1983

Premiere

01.07.1984

Creative Group

Stanislav Rudolf

Technical info

Format

35mm , Betacam, DVD, HD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 30. dětský filmový a televizní festival Oty Hofmana Ostrov

1998
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czech Republic

Vítěz

Event: Divácká anketa časopisu Audio Video Revue Zlatá kazeta 1995

1996
Praha / Czech Republic

Vítěz

Festival: 24. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1984
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 16. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov nad Ohří

1984
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 5. mezinárodní festival fantastických filmů a sci-fi filmů IMAGFIC Madrid

1984
Madrid / Spain

Vítěz

Festival: 24. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1984
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 6. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Nové Město nad Metují

1984
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Zdeněk Svěrák

Vítěz

Festival: 24. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1984
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 6. festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Nové Město nad Metují

1984
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia
Oldřich Lipský

Vítěz

Festival: 35. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´84

1984
70 měst / Czechoslovakia
Oldřich Lipský