The Humour-Salesman

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1984

Production year

1983—1984

Premiere

1 December 1985

Runtime

102 min

Category

film

Genre

satire

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Prodavač humoru

Czech title

Prodavač humoru

English title

The Humour-Salesman

Summary

The last motion picture in the filmography of director Jiří Krejčík (1919–2013) is this satirical comedy criticising the downfall of culture and declining morals in socialist society. Right from the start of the era of “normalisation”, Krejčík was barred by the censorship apparatus from realising any works that might flow from his inner freedom of thought. He thus devoted most of his energy to television, only making cinema films infrequently (detective story Podezření [Suspicion, 1972], patriotic picture Božská Ema [The Divine Ema, 1979]). Prodavač humour (The Humour-Salesman), a drama made according to the novel by Roman Ráž, is centred on the head of a variety show agency, Jožin Petránek (Július Satinský). Given his fair-mindedness, Ráž has problems working with the committee that evaluates entertainers and artists. In the rough and chaotic world of showbusiness, where nepotism and manipulation reign, he cannot succeed... Evidence that Krejčík’s satire hit its mark is attested to by the fact that it was only released in limited distribution and could not be played on television until after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

Synopsis

Singers, musicians, acrobats and similar entertainers can perform only on the basis of membership of one of the art agencies. Thus everybody tries to pass the qualification committee's entry test. Jožin Petránek, director of the regional agency Joy, is member of such a committee. As a fair man, he declines favouritism and bribes; he even refuses to intercede for his own wife. His authoritative wife Anna condemns him for his high-principled approach. The quality level of the applicants varies. Petránek's superior Binko is most amused by the performance of an amateur magician Pospíšil - a waiter who once served the committee - and now ridicules Petránek in his act. Binko assigns a new female assistant Zuzana to Petránek. Petránek's elder daughter, Renáta, studies in Prague and his younger daughter, Jana, is going to take her A levels soon. The rejected artists threaten Jožin, while the accepted ones send him gifts. He rejects them, but Anna takes a gift from Pospíšil herself. The agency employees try to curry the director's favour. Petránek does not believe the recruiter Šoustek's claim that the music-hall group Traveling Humour, headed by the convivial Kandrt, is indeed so horrible that no one wants it. The assistant Zuzana is absolutely incompetent at work, but she makes use of her physical assets and Petránek soon yields to her seduction. Agent Vyhnálek recommends a French chanson singer, Madelaine, to the agency. The mesmerized Petránek takes her for dinner after her performance and the couple end up in a hotel together. The offended Zuzana rings Petránková. Anna finds her husband in bed with the singer who eventually turns to be Czech, and infers harsh consequences from that: Jožin is resolutely separated from bed and board and must sleep in a closet. He has problems at work, too. Relegated from the position of director, he becomes an ordinary recruiter and is replaced by Pospíšil who is capable of anything. Petránek's main responsibility now is to offer the group Traveling Humour. Pospíšil, whom Kandrt bribes with scarce goods, refuses all of Petránek's arguments that the program is unsaleable. The former boss has become just an unsuccessful recruiter to his colleagues. The police come to their flat, looking for Renáta. Petránek sets off for Prague, finding out out that his daughter left her studies and is staying with her lover, an underhand moneychanger who thinks Jožin is a customer. The father takes the daughter home almost by force. Tormented by his wife's reproaches, he eventually accepts Kandrt's bribe. The wife confiscates the money "for the household" and further financial deliveries then keep arriving regularly by mail. Renáta runs away from home. Petránek wants to show his younger daughter Jana how horrible the Travelling Humour is, but she instead falls in love with Kandrt's handsome but unscrupulous son, the singer Michal. Kandrt resolutely requires new contracts for his bribes, proved by money order stubs. Jožin meets Renáta who earns much more than himself, working as a petrol station attendant. The desperate Jožin swallows a tube of pills in his closet. He is saved by Jana, disappointed by her first big love - moreover, as it turned out, to a married man. Jožin goes for a business trip, trying to sell Kandrt's program at any cost. Although he gets only part of the required contracts, the group leader is satisfied. Both Kandrt and the director, Pospíšil, are therefore surprised when Petránek tells them that he is through with them, as well as their entire music-hall humbug.

Cast

Július Satinský

ředitel agentury Jožin Petránek

Nina Divíšková

účetní Anna, Petránkova žena

Yvetta Kornová

Jana, dcera Petránkových

Radoslava Boháčová

Renáta, dcera Petránkových

Pavel Zedníček

kouzelník-amatér Pospíšil

Dana Vlková

zpěvačka Madelaine Dupont

Ivan Vyskočil

komik Jura Kandrt

František Řehák

František Binko, Petránkův nadřízený

Jiří Pleskot

náborář Šoustek

Ondřej Vetchý

zpěvák Michal, Kandrtův syn

Helena Bártlová

úřednice Pěnkavová

Leoš Suchařípa

předseda komise Fabián

Jaroslav Mareš

agent Vyhnálek

Renata Stádníková

sekretářka Zuzana

Luděk Kopřiva

vedoucí kulturního domu

Jana Čubrová

Marcelka

Miriam Kantorková

matka Marcelky

Blanka Blahníková

bytná Renáty

Eva Kulichová

podnájemnice Helena

Michaela Dolinová

Michalova žena

Ladislav Křiváček

předseda JZD na Moravě

Jan Schmid

vedoucí pily

Zora Rozsypalová

žena v kravíně

Lena Birková

žena v kravíně

Uršula Kluková

žena v kravíně

Jana Marková

úřednice agentury Radost

Hana Militká

hubená úřednice

Jiřina Jelenská

opilá žena

Miroslav Vladyka

podpraporčík VB

Pavel Nový

vekslák

Oldřich Velen

ředitel továrny

Marián Labuda

muž ve sklípku

Jan Lorman

člen komise s dýmkou

Peter Opálený

člen komise

Gustav Oplustil

člen komise

Jaromír Kučera

člen komise s plnovousem

Julie Jurištová

dívka u pumpy

Alena Karešová

Binkova sekretářka

Václav Kotva

Ostrčil - Bystrozraký

Jan Kuželka

vedoucí vepřína

Lubomír Bryg

Černokněžník Široký

Edita Dindělová

Věra - Karkulka

Jiří Lábus

mladík s trombonem

Světlana Nálepková

komická zpěvačka

Michal Nesvadba

komický zpěvák

Roman Hájek

host na oslavě narozenin

Pavlína Mourková

host na oslavě narozenin

Jakub Šíle

host na oslavě narozenin

Jiří Kaňkovský

host na oslavě narozenin

Magda Reifová

dívka s lampionem

Zdeněk Kratochvíle

konferenciér

Věra Laňková

recitátorka

Blanka Lormanová

loutkoherečka

Jaroslav Králík

oplešatělý herec

Stanislav Chmelař

operní šmírák

Vladimír Gut

komický mim na zkouškách

Ota Robek

osvětový pracovník

Dagmar Vlčková

hadí žena/ONA

Jaroslav Brůha

tanečník/ON

Ivana Srncová

tanečnice/Havajanka

Karel Oprich

Havajan

Bedřich Vychodil

Havajan

Karel Zemánek

Havajan

Helena Dlasková

zpěvačka a muzikantka/členka Kandrtovy skupiny

Jana Koutová

zpěvačka a muzikantka

Vida Skalská

zpěvačka a muzikantka

Alena Staňková

zpěvačka a muzikantka

Martina Svobodová

zpěvačka a muzikantka

Jan Lorenc

zpěvák a muzikant

Jiří Nerad

pianista-saxofonista

Jan Doubrava

trumpetista-kytarista

Oldřich Hrůza

basista-kytarista

Karel Hovorka

zákazník veksláka

František Procházka (3)

kouzelník

Eva Středová

loutkoherečka-tanečnice

Jiří Středa

loutkoherec-tanečník

Miloš Zídek

loutkoherec-tanečník

Lenka Vlachová

členka Kandrtovy skupiny

Karel Smrž

člen Kandrtovy skupiny/muž s basou piva

Martina Hanáková

tanečnice-artistka v Kandrtově skupině/Havajanka

Marie Fišerová

tanečnice Slunečnice

Milan Forman

tanečník Slunečnice

Jan Hanžlík

tanečník Slunečnice

Marie Kujalová

tanečnice

Irena Strouhalová

tanečnice

Pavel Noha

člen pěveckého tria

Edward Tomas

člen pěveckého tria

Bohuš Šmidrkal

hudebník

Rudolf Kachlíř

žonglér

Miroslav Vajsar

Nanajec/stařík

Zuzana Skalická

dubl za Radoslavu Boháčovou

Teodor Slezák

kolečkář

Vratislav Volenec

hudební klaun

Marie Vartecká

postarší herečka

Jiří Černý (2)

člen dueta

Hana Rajská

členka dueta

Zdeněk Čermák

hudebník

Lubomír Hnát

hudebník

Jaroslav Kára

hudebník

Ota Kmínek

hudebník

Jiří Pertl

hudebník

Miroslav Wainer

bubeník

Stanislav Herda

hudebník ve vinárně

Gustav Konárek

hudebník ve vinárně

Karel Pullmann

hudebník ve vinárně

Zdeněk Turek

hráč na bicí

Václav Novák (hudebník)

kytarista

Pavel Král

karatista

Jan Novák (kaskadér)

karatista

Blanka Velcová

karatistka

Pavel Veselý

tanečník

Jiří Krejčík

muž u stanice metra

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Josef Loučím, Věra Ticháčková

Assistant Director

Kryštof Hanzlík

Based on

Roman Ráž (Prodavač humoru – román)

Shooting Script

Jiří Krejčík

Dramaturg

Vladimír Bor

Director of Photography

Viktor Růžička

Second Unit Photography

Oldřich Kovář

Camera Operator

Ivan Šimůnek

Production Designer

Přemek Longa

Assistent Production Designer

Martin Malý

Set Designer

Jaroslav Chytrý, Karel Smrž, Zdena Suchomelová

Costume Designer

Běla Suchá

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Assistant Film Editor

Magda Hájková, Alena Chvojková

Sound Designer

Antonín Kravka

Special Effects

Igor Ševčík, Ludvík Malý

Production Manager

Jan Syrový, Vladimír Vojta

Unit Production Manager

Věra Lukášová, Helena Landovská, Lev Veltrubský

Cooperation

Ivana Vlčková (klapka), Miloslav Mirvald (fotograf)

Music

Music Composed by

Michael Kocáb, Jiří Kolafa (hudební zvuky), Pavel Vaculík (estrádní výstupy)

Selected Music

Ruggiero Leoncavallo (Komedianti /I Pagliacci/), Georges Bizet (Carmen /Toreadore smělý/)

Music Performed by

Michael Kocáb, FISYO (Music Conducted by Mario Klemens)

Choreographer

Jaroslav Brůha

Songs

Francouzský šanson

Songwriter Pavel Vaculík
Singer Dana Vlková [dab]Eva Novotná (2)

Vesele, jen vesele

Songwriter Bedřich Nikodém
Writer of Lyrics František Jírů
Singer sbor

Bramborová placka

Songwriter Josef Stelibský
Writer of Lyrics Jaroslav MottlKarel Melíšek
Singer ženský hlas

To se nikdo nedoví

Songwriter Zdeněk Marat
Writer of Lyrics Zdeněk Borovec
Singer duo

Bída s nouzí /Threw Away Rose/

Songwriter Merle Haggard
Writer of Lyrics Miroslav Hoffmann

Když jsi byl malý chlapec, špuntík maličký

Singer ženský hlas

Jaká jsem

Songwriter Karel Vágner
Writer of Lyrics Pavel Žák
Singer Jana Čubrová

Díru v hlavě mám

Singer mužské hlasy

Na Marjánce

Songwriter Josef Heřman Zefi
Writer of Lyrics Josef Heřman Zefi
Singer Jaroslava Kretschmerovásbor

Byla to estráda

Singer Ivan Vyskočilsbor

Můj koníček

Songwriter Michal PavlíčekMichael Kocáb
Writer of Lyrics František Ringo Čech
Singer Pražský výběr

Barbara

Songwriter Zdeněk Barták
Writer of Lyrics Jiří Štědroň
Singer Ondřej Vetchý [dab]Jiří Štědroňženský sbor

U Zvonu je candrbál

Songwriter Alois Tichý
Writer of Lyrics Alois Tichý
Singer ženský sbor

Production info

Original Title

Prodavač humoru

Czech Title

Prodavač humoru

English Title

The Humour-Salesman

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

satire

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1984

Production Year

1983—1984

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 2 February 1983
start of filming 16 February 1983
technical Screenplay approved 10 June 1983
end of filming 30 August 1984
projection approval 7 September 1984

Premiere

premiere 1 December 1985 /unsuitable for youths/

Creative Group

1. dramaturgicko-výrobní skupina, Jiří Blažek (vedoucí 1. dramaturgicko-výrobní skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

102 min

Original length in metres

2 935 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