Scalpel, Please!

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Skalpel, prosím

Runtime

114

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1985

Production year

1985

Premiere

01.03.1986

Language version

Czech

Director

Jiří Svoboda

Screenplay

Jiří Svoboda

Summary

This 1985 psychological drama from screenwriter-director Jiří Svoboda explores the notion of the doctor as a moral authority, who within the framework of their everyday work must face questions of life and death. The film is adapted from a novel by Valja Stýblová, in which the author draws upon her personal experiences as a former neurosurgeon. But the professional dilemmas of Svoboda’s lead character transcend ethics and touch upon wider questions of morality. The protagonist of this drama is an ageing professor, based at a Prague neurological clinic, who is haunted by issues concerning his own principles and values, and also by the case of a young patient, Víťa, afflicted with an inoperable tumour. The professor’s colleagues are also faced with a number of serious issues: Doctor Volejníková caused the death of a patient; and associate professor Krtek’s only daughter is dying of leukaemia. When Krtek decides to operate on little Víťa despite the prognosis, the old professor adopts his colleague’s optimism that the boy’s life might be saved after all. And so the ultimate lesson is that despite the obstacles, a life of devoted service to others is enough to produce a sense of hope … Svoboda’s professionally crafted classic drama adds flesh to the lead character through personal recollections and scenes from the experienced physician’s private life involving wife Jitka and son Ondřej. The director provides considerable space to the performers, especially to experienced leading actor Miroslav Macháček as the professor. Macháček also appeared in director Jiří Svoboda’s Jen o rodinných záležitostech (Family Matters, 1990). Jana Brejchová (Jitka) previously starred in the director’s Schůzka se stíny (An Encounter of Shadows, 1982) and Zánik samoty Berhof (The Downfall of the Secluded Berhof, 1983). The collaboration between Radoslav Brzobohatý (Krtek) and Radovan Lukavský (patient Mašek), who acted alongside Brejchová in An Encounter of Shadows, illustrates Svoboda’s ability to utilise proven performers. Young actor Zdeněk Jakub also appears in Svoboda’s Prokletí domu Hajnů (The Curse of the Hajns’ House, 1988).

Synopsis

A Prague neurosurgery clinic enjoys an excellent reputation. It is headed by a professor, a renowned professional who has much understanding and empathy for his patients, even after many decades spent at the clinic. His greatest support is his wife Jitka, who is a physician, too. A young village doctor brings the young Vítek Uzel (Knot in English) to the clinic. The boy has a tumour. The professor and his team find out that the tumour is too big and cannot be removed surgically. The boy's grandfather takes Vítek, nicknamed Knottie, home, firmly convinced that the boy is going to die soon. But the professor and his colleagues, as well as the students, keep thinking of the little boy, even though the entire clinic must keep on working. The professor performs an operation on his old friend Mikeš, and is successfull even despite great complications. The professor's best colleague, associate professor Krtek, learns that his only daughter is suffering from incurable, acute leucosis. Doctor Volejníková performs an operation on Mrs Benediktová but the patient dies. The colleagues uncompromisingly blame her for using a wrong procedure but the professor stands up for her, recommending her to choose another discipline. The Gypsy Carda unhopefully says goodbye to the professor, reconciled with his imminent death. Krtek decides to operate on the little Vítek. The surgery day is scheduled after the boy's preoperative tests. Krtek's daughter dies and the docent yields to depression. The surgery is thus left up to the professor. But the night before, he must perform a demanding operation on a patient who survived a car accident. The professor returns home and makes some coffee. He is, however, tired to death and the water boils over. Jitka, who returned earlier from her symposium, saves him from gas poisoning. The exhausted professor starts the boy's surgery but is gradually running out of strength. At a critical moment, associate professor Krtek appears in the operating theatre and successfully finishes the procedure. Vítek will live.

Note

The film was dedicated to the 17th assembly of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.

Film online

Cast

Jana Brejchová

lékařka Jitka, profesorova žena

Barbara Brylska

asistentka MUDr. Volejníková

Radoslav Brzobohatý

docent František Krtek

Ondřej Pavelka

Ondra, profesorův syn

Jana Krausová

Helena Vyskočilová, Ondrova milenk

Emma Černá

asistentka MUDr. Hladká

Daniel Krcho

MUDr. Jirka Zelený

Radovan Lukavský

pacient Míťa Mikeš

Věra Galatíková

sekretářka Růžková

Štefan Mišovic

lesník Josef Uzel

Jakub Zdeněk

Uzlův vnuk Vítek zvaný Uzlík

Václav Mareš

docent Růžička

František Řehák

primář MUDr. Ruml

Eva Hudečková

mladá lékařka

Helga Matulová

televizní redaktorka

Marie Durnová

sálová sestra Zita

Josef Abrhám

generální ředitel, otec pacientky

Jana Vychodilová

vrchní sestra Elvíra

Eva Kulichová

Jana, Krtkova dcera

József Ropog

starý cikán Carda

Ladislav Goral

Cardův příbuzný

Alena Siváková

Cardova příbuzná

Michal Ličartovský

Cardův příbuzný

Mária Čižárová

Cardova příbuzná

Luboš Veselý

Velecký

Josef Šebek

vedoucí převozového vozu

Zora Ulla Keslerová

zdravotní sestra

Svatopluk Matyáš

MUDr. Voráček

Lenka Machoninová

pacientka Benediktová

Ladislav Křiváček

manžel Benediktové

Rudolf A. Rosenfelder

řidič sanitky

Rostislav Kuba

opilý řidič Čapek

Petra Jindrová

studentka

Václav Helliman

kameraman

Jaroslav Plas

patolog

MUDr. Michal Tichý

anesteziolog

MUDr. Vladimír Zábrodský

anesteziolog

Vladimír Beneš

mladý pacient s leukémií

Eduard Spáčil

hudebník

Ivan Dominák

hudebník

Monika Franková

tanečnice

Soňa Macková

tanečnice

Martin Pastor

tanečník

Evžen Drtina

tanečník

Patrik Nývlt

tanečník

Dana Samková

tanečnice

Milan Kříž

tanečník

Lenka Maňasová

tanečnice

Helena Karasová

tanečnice

Soňa Obernauerová

tanečnice

Pavel Vaněk

tanečník

Jana Hauptmannová

kaskadérka

Arnošt Böhm

kaskadér

Dubbing

Libuše Švormová

hlas Volejníkové

Jiří Němeček

hlas Cardy

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Hana Hanušová

Assistant Director

Zora Vondráčková, Marie Brodilová

Based on

Valja Stýblová (Skalpel, prosím – román)

Screenplay

Jiří Svoboda

Script Editor

Václav Šašek

Second Unit Photography

Václav Helliman

Camera Operator

Jiří Maxa

Production Designer

Jaromír Švarc

Art Director

Jan Švankmajer

Set Designer

Karel Kracík, Milan Šefrna, Miloš Sršeň

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Sound Designer

Jiří Moudrý

Production Manager

Petr Čapek

Unit Production Manager

Josef Štambach, Hana Jarošová

Unit Production Manager

Vláčil František ml.

Consultant

prof. Vladimír Beneš, Jaroslav Plas, Vladimír Zábrodský

Cooperation

Jarmila Holubová, Jana Šimonová, Anna Mejtská, Petr Václavek, Zdeněk Vávra

Music

Music Composed by

Jozef Revallo

Music Performed by

Jozef Revallo

Production info

Original Title

Skalpel, prosím

English Title

Scalpel, Please!

Copyright

1985

Production Year

1985

Premiere

01.03.1986

Creative Group

Miloslav Vydra

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 12. mezinárodní festival zdravotnických filmů a filmů Červeného kříže Varna

1987
Varna / Bulgaria

Vítěz

Festival: 37. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´86

1986
75 měst / Czechoslovakia
Valja Stýblová

Vítěz

Festival: 37. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´86

1986
75 měst / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Svoboda

Vítěz

Festival: 37. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´86

1986
75 měst / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 13. celostátní festival zdravotnických filmů Podbořany

1986
Podobřany / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 24. festival českých a slovenských filmů Mariánské Lázně

1986
Mariánské Lázně / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní filmový festival Moskva

1985
Moskva / Russia
Jiří Svoboda

Vítěz

Festival: 14. mezinárodní filmový festival Moskva

1985
Moskva / Russia