South-West Passage

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production year

1988

Premiere

1 November 1989

Runtime

84 min

Category

film

Genre

adventure

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Cesta na jihozápad

Czech title

Cesta na jihozápad

English title

South-West Passage

Summary

Screenwriter Jiří Křižan wrote the screenplay to this adventure film for young audiences according to a short story by Jack London, and director Zdenek Sirový undertook its realisation in 1989. The authors had already worked together on another London project, the short film stories Kaňon samé zlato (A Canyon Full of Gold, 1970), Poslední výstřel Davida Sandela (David Sandel's Last Shot, 1971) and Claim na Hluchém potoku (The Claim at the Deaf Creek, 1971). The protagonist of this gripping story, the outdoor shots for which were filmed in the Altai Mountains during the Soviet era, is 14-year-old Ben. The teenaged boy, who has to do menial work in a camp full of rough gold diggers, experiences all kinds of adventures on his journey to the Southwest – to civilisation. Sirový entrusted the lead role in this straightforward genre film to the then 16-year-old Jiří Strach. Another future Czech director, Jan Hřebejk, appears briefly on the screen in the role of a young man in a funeral cortege.

Synopsis

The fourteen-year old Ben is saved from freezing to death by the Indian chief Dog's Tail. From now on, he must always serve the man who wins in cards in a camp of gold panners. Panner O'Brian plays with marked cards and he thus wins Ben all the time. The Dog's Tail tells Chett Adams about O'Brian's cheating, and Chett wins a big sum of money from him. He begins to take care of Ben, and when he must leave with his gang, he leaves five hundred dollars with the local shopkeeper Fitzpatrick so that the boy could leave for school in the South-West. Old man Jones arrives at the camp in a canoe. He is afraid of Tony Perrault's gang. He must transport a case to the relatives of his late companion. Ben decides to leave with him. The shopkeeper Fitzpatrick gives him the money left by Chett. Tony's gang wants to get hold of the Jones' case. The thugs lie in wait for Jones and Ben above a cataract. They shoot the old Jones dead, but Ben manages to pass through the cataract and buries the case in the sand on the shore. When the thugs catch up with him, they want to torture him to make him speak, but Chett helps him escape at night. The thugs get into a quarrel. Tony sets off after the boy but Chett shoots him dead. In turn, he is killed by Jeff, another member of the gang. Ben falls from his horse and the case breaks open to reveal only a few family photographs. The Dog's Tail tells Ben that Chett turned into a desperado only to fairly avenge his father. The old Indian and the boy separate and Ben moves on to the South-West.

Cast

Jiří Strach

Ben Collins

Milan Sandhaus

děda Jones

Jiří Schmitzer

pistolník Chett Adams

Zdeněk Podhůrský

bandita Tony Perrault

Oldřich Vlach

bandita Bill

Ivan Palúch

Dubbing Alois Švehlík
jednoruký bandita Jeff

Petr Čepek

zlatokop O'Brian

Gustav Opočenský

Dubbing Lubor Tokoš
Indián Topahekuahah zvaný Psí ocas

Jan Přeučil

obchodník Fitzpatrick

Jiří Krytinář

trpaslík s kobrou

Jan Vlasák

hráč kostek

Petr Pospíchal

hráč karet

Radan Rusev

hráč karet

Tomáš Jančařík

muž v hospodě

Jan Kraus

muž v hospodě

Oldřich Velen

muž v hospodě

Karel Sekera

muž v hospodě

Jan Kiss

muž v hospodě

Eugen Jegorov

muž v hospodě

Rudolf Kalina

muž v hospodě

Peter Kršák

muž v hospodě

David Novotný

muž v hospodě

Josef Vyleťal

muž v hospodě

Jan Hřebejk

muž v pohřebním průvodu

Jiří Patočka

muž v pohřebním průvodu

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Petr Makovička

Continuity

Hana Daňková

Screenstory

Jiří Křižan

Based on

Jack London

Screenplay

Jiří Křižan

Dramaturg

Jan Gogola

Director of Photography

Jiří Kolín

Second Unit Photography

Asen Šopov

Camera Operator

Miloš Mališka, Miroslav Makarov

Production Designer

Petr Smola

Assistent Production Designer

Luděk Kouřil

Set Designer

Navrátil Jaroslav (2), Bohuslav Peloušek, Josef Vojtášek

Sound Designer

Radomír Koutek, Jitka Zvirocká (zvukové efekty)

Assistant Sound Designer

Ladislav Podmela, Ladislav Procházka

Production Manager

Kamil Spáčil

Unit Production Manager

František Šumbera, Kamila Vedrová, Jiří Zemanec

Unit Production Manager

Jakub Kolín

Cooperation

Pavel Juráček (poradce při natáčení), Renata Bobková (klapka), Otto Kamenský (fotograf), P. Kosková (fotografka), letci z Gornoaltajska, požárníci z Gornoaltajska, zaměstnanci Filmového studia Sverdlovsk, Vlasta Bambuchová, Michal Brix, Jan Buchar, Josef Černý, MUDr. Karel Grepl, MUDr. Naďa Háblová, Jaroslav Hálek, Jiří Kasan, Jiří Kraus, Eduard Mašek, Dalibor Musil, Ladislav Němeček, Vojtěch Omasta, Břetislav Ruboš, Jiří Sušanka, Michal Štěrba, Josef Žirovnický

Music

Music Composed by

Ondřej Soukup

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Mario Klemens)

Songs

Farewell Song

Songwriter Ondřej Soukup
Writer of Lyrics Zdeněk Majer
Singer Zuzana Michnová

Production info

Original Title

Cesta na jihozápad

Czech Title

Cesta na jihozápad

English Title

South-West Passage

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

adventure

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1989

Production Year

1988

Production specifications

start of filming 16 July 1988
end of filming 12 October 1988
the first film copy approved 23 February 1989
projection approval 24 February 1989

Premiere

premiere 1 November 1989 /suitable for youths/

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

84 min

Original length in metres

2 391 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

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 29. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1989
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 21. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov

1989
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Strach

Vítěz

Festival: 29. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1989
Zlín / Czechoslovakia
Jiří Schmitzer

Vítěz

Festival: 29. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

1989
Zlín / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Exhibition: 21. národní přehlídka filmů pro děti Ostrov

1989
Ostrov nad Ohří / Czechoslovakia