Fists in the Dark

drama

Typology

feature

Czech title

Pěsti ve tmě

Runtime

98

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1986

Production year

1986

Premiere

01.03.1987

Language version

Czech

Director

Jaroslav Soukup

Screenplay

Jaroslav Vokřál, Jaroslav Soukup

Screenstory

Jaroslav Vokřál

Summary

At the start of his film career, screenwriter-director Jaroslav Soukup presented himself as an ambitious artist with a strong eye for genre films. In 1986, this sporting drama set in pre-war Prague became one notable result of his efforts. The story centres on real-life Czech boxing champion Vilda Jakub, who faced off against noted German boxer Kurt Schaller several times during the 1930s. The battles in the ring take on a political dimension: Vilda’s defeat would help underscore the image sought by Nazi Germany that the country is inherently superior. Marek Vašut offers a remarkable performance as the stubborn, incorruptible Vilda. Josef Nedorost plays his German opponent. The two great loves of Vilda’s life are played by Jana Krausová (as nurse Blanka) and Eliška Balzerová (as actor Ema Gabrielová).

Synopsis

It is 1936, and in Berlin, the Czech boxing champion Vilda loses to the German champion Schaller only because his manager Krakowski throws in the towel. The rightfully infuriated Vilda immediately returns to Prague. In the meantime, his girlfriend Blanka, a hospital nurse, has given preference to a married physician, Doctor Vícha. Vilda drowns his sorrows in drink. He has a quarrel with his coach Dědek the next day and leaves. Doctor Vícha hides the German anti-fascist Herrman, fleeing from the Nazis, in Blanka's flat. A functionary of the boxing union, Fiedler, offers Vilda, who is just loafing around, a rematch with Schaller in the famous Lucerna hall in Prague. The German would like to fight for the title of world champion in the United States, but his Berlin victory was not too convincing. Vilda again trains hard with Dědek, while Krakowski has become Schaller's manager. Vilda is visited by a Sudeten businessman Schulz, offering him forty thousand to lose. The boxer refuses. His sparring partner is now Tommy, whose excellent career was ruined by alcohol. The beautiful actress Ema Gabrielová brings an offer from her former lover Schaller to bring forward the date of the rematch. Vilda wants to think it over and, in the meantime, provides asylum for his friend Bristle, who is ashamed to leave for his wife in Beroun after his release from prison. Vilda agrees to the new term. Ema invites him over to her villa and the couple end up in bed. But Vilda is still committed to Blanka. He spots a foreign man in her flat and then sees her with Vícha in the cinema. Tommy prevents him from drinking again and moreover beats him in a training fight. Schaller arrives in Prague and stays with Ema. He tries to convince her that he has nothing in common with the Nazis. Ema, who is half Czech and half German, unsuccessfully wheedles Vilda to get defeated by Schaller. A Nazi in a leather coat threatens Ema with unpleasant consequences. Herrman leaves for safety. Vilda puts Bristle on the train to Beroun and then finds the businessman Schulz waiting in front of his door again, with offer now raised to one hundred thousand. Vilda throws him down the stairs. Ema warns Vilda for the last time just before the fight starts. The Czech boxer wins with a K.O. in the eighth round after a dramatic fight. Blanka listens to the live radio broadcast from the Lucerna hall and breaks up with Vícha. Ema is taken from the film studios by an unknown man. Krakowski explains to Vilda that he let him lose in Berlin in exchange for the Gestapo releasing his arrested brother. Vilda forgives him but he does not want to leave for the United States with Krakowski. During the celebrations of his victory, Vilda receives a message from Ema. He speedily sets off to her villa, searching for her all around the house, and finally finds her dead with cut veins in the bathroom. The police consider it to be suicide but Vilda senses that it was the Gestapo's work. He returns home, where Blanka is waiting for him. The lovers embrace. The closing title reads that on August 21, 1943, the regimental sergeant major Vilda Jakub was shot down as a member of a bomber crew in a patrol flight over the Bay of Biscay.

Note

The story was loosely inspired by the life of the boxer Vilda Jakš (1910–1943) who died as a member of the 311th RAF wing during the Second World War.

Film online

Cast

Marek Vašut

boxer Vilda Jakub, mistr ČSR

Josef Nedorost

boxer Kurt Schaller, mistr Německa

Eliška Balzerová

filmová herečka Ema Gabrielová

Ferdinand Krůta

trenér Kadlec zvaný Dědek

Josef Vinklář

manažer Krakowski

Pavel Nový

Tommy, bývalý boxer

Jana Krausová

zdravotní sestra Blanka Adamová

Čestmír Řanda

Fiedler, činovník boxerské Unie

Robert Vrchota

vrchní ve vinárně

Karel Heřmánek

Fous, Vildův kamarád

Władysław Kowalski

docent Vícha

Oldřich Slavík

obchodník Albert Schulz

Josef Štefl

MUDr. Klaus Herrman, německý lékař

František Kovár

emisar gestapa

Jerzy Bończak

emisar gestapa

Zdeněk Ornest

filmový režisér

Karel Zamrazil

ringový rozhodčí v Lucerně

Jan Polívka

nemocniční zřízenec

Jan Tesarz

hlavní pořadatel v Berlíně

Ivo Niederle

provokatér ve výčepu

Josef Patočka

činovník u váhy

Václav Neužil

recepční

Antonín Molčík

rozhlasový reportér

Jiří Klem

filmový herec

Jan Novotný

novinář

Igor Smržík

novinář

Zbyněk Krákora

novinář

Ladislav Kocourek

novinář

Blanka Zelinková

Fousova žena

Pavel Cechl

sekundant

Emil Sazama

reportér boxu

Zdeněk Mahdal

emisar gestapa

Alfred Strejček

časoměřič

Jaroslav Pešice

časoměřič

Aurélio Toyo Perez

černý boxer, obr z Martiniku

Lena Birková

služebná u Gabrielové

Miloš Vávra

muž z Unie

Václav Burkert

muž z Unie

Hovorka Karel ml.

muž z Unie

Jiří Kasík

muž z Unie

František Morávek (2)

muž z Unie

Milan Pěkný

muž z Unie

Jaroslava Pokorná

vrchní sestra

Rostislav Osička

boxer, Vildův sparingpartner

Jaroslav Luks

hostinský Josef Kolman

Eduard Pavlíček

číšník z tančírny

Jiří Samek

policejní inspektor

Oldřich Janovský

produkční

Ladislav Lahoda

kriminalista

Stanislav Šimek

kriminalista

Gaston Šubert

policejní lékař

Zdeněk Podhůrský

řidič kriminalistů

Jaroslav Pešice

osvětlovač

Václav Svoboda

český reportér

Gerhard Sgalitzer

německý reportér

Jiří Novotný

fotograf

Ludvík Wolf

fotograf

Renata Babungo

tanečnice

Jan Gariš

tanečník

Rimma Charvátová

tanečnice

Jan Kolomazník

tanečník

Mojmír Miler

tanečník

Radoslav Ostrůvek

tanečník

Livi Zajedová

tanečnice

Zdena Zimová

tanečnice

Zdeněk Grosman

hudebník

Jiří Gilík

hudebník

Luboš Hajný

hudebník

Jiří Med

hudebník

Michal Pospíšil (hudebník)

hudebník

Ladislav Šindler

hudebník

Rudolf Wiederman

hudebník

Zdeněk Barták

klavírista

Jiří Matolín

zpěvák

Dubbing

František Němec

hlas emisara

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Tomáš Tintěra, Andrzej Reiter

Assistant Director

Václav Křístek, Jiří Moravčík, Barbora Bílková

Shooting Script

Jaroslav Soukup

Camera Operator

Jiří Zavřel, Petr Hojda

Production Designer

Jiří Matolín

Set Designer

Jaroslav Česal, Vladimír Ježek, Karel Kočí, Petr Průša, Josef Večerek

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Alexandr Vrbata

Unit Production Manager

Rudolf Mos, Zdeněk Krištof, Ivo Pitrák

Unit Production Manager

Božena Novotná, Václav Václavík

Consultant

Jaroslav Tomsa, František Malinský (box)

Cooperation

Jitka Petříková, Eva Horázná, Milan Pecák, Jindřich Kočí, boxerský oddíl TJ Praga, boxerský oddíl Uhelné sklady Praha, boxerský oddíl Rudá hvězda Ústí nad Labem, Milan Matějka, Ludvík Kučera, Věra Flaková, Kateřina Pavelková, Olga Rosenfelderová, Miloš Schmiedberger (2), František Morávek (2), Karel Zamrazil, Emil Sazama, František Capl, Jiří Kasík, Zdeněk Cmíral, Václav Panzner, Ladislav Řehák, Jaromír Andert, Rostislav Osička

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Barták

Music Performed by

Václav Týfa , FISYO, Originální pražský synkopický orchestr

Music Conducted by

Štěpán Koníček (FISYO), Pavel Klikar (Originální pražský synkopický orchestr)

Songs

Sám s děvčetem v dešti, Oči čokoládové, Jen pro ten dnešní den, Proč obraz tvůj nedá srdci spát, Celý den si zpívám

Songwriter

Kamil Běhounek (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), Jiří Mihule (Oči čokoládové), Sláva Emanuel Nováček (Jen pro ten dnešní den), Sláva Emanuel Nováček (Proč obraz tvůj nedá srdci spát), Sláva Emanuel Nováček (Celý den si zpívám)

Writer of Lyrics

Karel Kozel (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), František Kudrna (Oči čokoládové), K. M. Walló (Proč obraz tvůj nedá srdci spát), Josef Gruss (Celý den si zpívám)

Singer

Ondřej Havelka (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), Jitka Nováková (Sám s děvčetem v dešti), Ondřej Havelka (Oči čokoládové), Jiří Matolín [dab] (Proč obraz tvůj nedá srdci spát), Ondřej Havelka (Proč obraz tvůj nedá srdci spát), Ondřej Havelka (Celý den si zpívám)

Production info

Original Title

Pěsti ve tmě

English Title

Fists in the Dark

Copyright

1986

Production Year

1986

Premiere

01.03.1987

Creative Group

Miloslav Vydra

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 38. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´87

1987
77 měst / Czechoslovakia
Jaroslav Soukup

Vítěz

Festival: 25. festival českých a slovenských filmů Bratislava

1987
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia