Don’t Play Around with Devils

fairytale

Typology

feature

Czech title

S čerty nejsou žerty

Runtime

90

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1984

Production year

1984

Premiere

01.10.1985

Language version

Czech

Director

Hynek Bočan

Screenplay

Jiří Just, Hynek Bočan

Screenstory

Irena Šlapáková

Summary

Božena Němcová´s fairytale Čertův švagr (The Devil´s Brother-in-Law) has inspired several film adaptations. As well as two films for television (a 1969 production directed by Věra Jordánová and a 1984 outing by Vlasta Janečková), its storyline was also used to create S čerty nejsou žerty (Don’t Play Around with Devils, 1984), a diabolic comedy directed by Hynek Bočan. The screenplay, written in collaboration with Jiří Just, derives much of its comedy from an appealing depiction of Hell and its fiendishly entertaining inhabitants. The mightiest figure in the underworld is Prince Lucifer XIV. He uses his dark powers to help the young hero of the tale, Petr the miller, find happiness. In doing so, he must vanquish the greedy Dorota, who tries to take over the old mill, and then punish the rapacious governor who has ruined the princedom. He also helps his young protégé to become rich and to obtain the love of Adélka, the beautiful daughter of a local prince… In Bočan’s successful reworking of the fairytale, the devils do not merely serve as agents of darkness or comical fools but also as custodians of justice who help the people stand up against their evil and greedy adversaries. However, the true hero of this merry tale is the young miller Petr, who achieves happiness not only by means of a magical coat producing an endless supply of gold coins, but also because of his bravery and cunning. Don’t Play Around with Devils was a popular fantasy film among children thanks to intelligent humour that did not underestimate its audience. The narrative employs a traditional fairytale morality unhampered by considerations of age, sex, social status or background. Cameraman Jaromír Šofr and composer Jaroslav Uhlíř also made significant contributions to the film’s success. The versatile Vladimír Dlouhý starred as Petr. Karel Heřmánek (Lucifer XIV) and Ondřej Vetchý (Janek) played the devils with obvious zeal. Petr Nárožný also stole a scene as the nettlesome corporal who tries in vain to turn Petr and Janek into soldiers.

Synopsis

The miller Máchal lives in a principality with his family. But then, war breaks out and lasts for ten years. The miller is left a widower and tends to the mill with his son Petr. The reigning prince is suddenly impoverished. What the wars have not consumed was stolen by the greedy administrator or wasted by the pretty but selfish princess Angelika on her dresses. Her sister Adéla is pretty, too, but she is modest and kind. The château cook Dorota wooes the caretaker who advises her to marry the wealthy miller. The aging man gets fooled and indeed marries the greedy Dorota. She then immediately fires all the mill helpers in spite of Petr's protests and moreover forces the worn out miller to dance at a village hop. The man collapses and dies. Dorota even tries to get rid off the heir to the mill, Petr. The administrator gets her a warrant to arrest Petr based on false accusations. The Prince of Darkness, Lucifer XIV, has had enough of Dorota's sins and sends out the devil Black Horse to kidnap her to his kingdom. Dorota protects herself with feathers which the devils fear and also lets Petr's grandmother be kidnapped instead of herself. On his escape from the soldiers, Petr saves the life of the princesses whose horses stampeded. He is arrested and sentenced to military service in no time. The innocent grandmother must meanwhile work off the mistake of the confused devil whom she named Janek (Mulish). Janek returns to the world upon her intercession, but he fails once again. He gets drunk in a pub and a corporal recruits him into the army. Petr and Janek become friends and help each other against the bullying of the evil corporal. The ball where Angelína is to pick up a rich bridegroom does not turn out well and the offended wooers moreover threaten the prince with war. Petr helps Janek get the miller Dorota to hell. The grandmother gets back to earth in return and Petr gains the old coat which can create golden coins by magic. But as soon as the young miller puts the coat on, he acquires a dirty and devilish look. He distributes money to the poor and even the disguised prince comes to get support. Petr, however, recognizes him, promising him the the missing thousands in exchange for the princess's hand. Janek takes both the evil corporal and the sinful administrator to hell. Angelína rejects marrying the tattered Petr. But he saves up some spare money by his magic and takes off the coat which thus loses its magic powers. He then visits the château as a handsome youth. Angelína does not disdain him this time, but Petr prefers to marry Adéla. Angelína becomes the bride of the very Lucifer.

Note

The suggestive scenes from hell were filmed in a cave resulting from mining sandstone which, at the time, served as a potatoe cellar for the Soviet occupation army. The soldiers, however, agreed to the filming and temporarily removed the potatoes.The place was relatively small and the sense of space was achieved by using a wide-angle lens.

Cast

Vladimír Dlouhý

Petr Máchal

Ondřej Vetchý

čert Vraník zvaný Janek

Jana Dítětová

Anna Máchalová, Petrova babička

František Vicena

mlynář František Máchal, Petrův otec

Jaroslava Kretschmerová

kuchařka Dorota, mlynářova žena

Viktor Preiss

správce

Karel Heřmánek

pekelný kníže Lucifer XIV.

Josef Kemr

kníže Josef Sličný

Dana Bartůňková

Angelína, starší dcera knížete

Monika Pelcová

Adéla, mladší dcera knížete

Václav Vydra

princ strašpytel

Vladimír Hrubý

čert Drápal

Gregorij Dymič

čert Myš

Ladislav Gerendáš

čert Kočka

Vlastimil Bedrna

čert degradovaný na králíka

Jan Bubeník

čert

Pavel Klapetek

čert

Václav Krejčí

čert Netopýr

Jiří Růžička

čert Bachor

Luboš Ocásek

čert

Mil. Polinský

čert

Pavel Kolár

čert

Jan Šimek

čert

Zdeněk Blažek

rychtář

Vladimír Švabík

hospodský

Jan Skopeček

starý lokaj

Pavel Spálený (2)

tlustý lokaj

Roman Holý

malý princ

David Schneider

růžový princ

Miro Grisa

princ

Stanislav Winter

zrzavý princ

Jana Robenková

učitelová

Martin Hron

čeledín

Jaroslav Luks

šermíř

Pavel Cajzl

chasník

Karel Habart

chasník

Richard Maška

chasník

Michal Roneš

chasník

Jan Kreidl

kuchtík

Zuzana Talpová

pomocnice v kuchyni

Jiří Kraus

mladý lokaj

Pavel Jiras

vesničan v hospodě

Milan Charvát

poddůstojník

Stanislav Oubram

poddůstojník

Jiří Schmiedt

poddůstojník

Jiří Pomeje

chasník

Ludmila Vybíralová

hudebnice

Zdeněk Pok

hudebník

Arnošt Richter

hudebník

Vratislav Richter

hudebník

Jiří Šťastný (2)

hudebník

Petr Drozda

kaskadér

František Jákl

kaskadér

Miroslav Jíra

kaskadér

Jindřich Sejk

kaskadér

Commentary

Dubbing

Naďa Konvalinková

hlas Adély

Mirko Musil

hlas hospodského

Radan Rusev

hlas vesničana

Crew and creators

Director

Hynek Bočan

Second Unit Director

Jiří Růžička st.

Assistant Director

Magdalena Mikešová, Jitka Tošilová

Based on

Božena Němcová (Čertův švagr – pohádka)

Shooting Script

Hynek Bočan

Second Unit Photography

Martin Grošup

Camera Operator

Antonín Mařík

Production Designer

Zbyněk Hloch

Set Designer

Jaroslav Čermák, Miroslav Fára, Jaroslav Česal, Karel Kočí

Film Editor

Dalibor Lipský

Sound Designer

Karel Martínek

Production Manager

Jiří Beránek

Unit Production Manager

Vlasta Synkulová, Miloš Zajdl

Unit Production Manager

Luděk Blažek

Consultant

Zbyšek Svoboda, Václav Luks (šerm), František Michálek

Cooperation

Petr Rychetský (pyroefekty), Karel Pánek (zvláštní efekty), Václav Štádler, skupina Regius (historický šerm), Alice Ronovská, Martin Malý, Erika Vojáčková, Miloš Schmiedberger, Jaromír Franta

Music

Music Composed by

Jaroslav Uhlíř

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO)

Songs

Větře, větříčku, Ta naše hospoda

Songwriter

Jaroslav Uhlíř (Větře, větříčku), Jaroslav Uhlíř (Ta naše hospoda)

Writer of Lyrics

Zdeněk Svěrák (Větře, větříčku), Zdeněk Svěrák (Ta naše hospoda)

Singer

Monika Pelcová [dab] (Větře, větříčku), Ivana Andrlová (Větře, větříčku), sbor (Ta naše hospoda)

Choreographer

Václav Luks (šerm)

Production info

Original Title

S čerty nejsou žerty

English Title

Don’t Play Around with Devils

Working Title

Čertův švagr

Copyright

1984

Production Year

1984

Premiere

01.10.1985

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD, HD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 16. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti Chicago

1986
Chicago / United States of America

Vítěz

Festival: 7. mezinárodní filmový festival pro děti a mládež Tomar

1986
Tomar / Portugal

Vítěz

Festival: 23. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti a mládež Gijón

1985
Gijón / Spain

Vítěz

Festival: 25. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1985
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 17. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov nad Ohří

1985
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia
Ondřej Vetchý

Vítěz

Festival: 25. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1985
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 17. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov nad Ohří

1985
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 11. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti Frankfurt nad Mohanem

1985
Frankfurt nad Mohanem / Federal Republic of Germany

Vítěz

Exhibition: 17. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov nad Ohří

1985
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia