The Tank Battalion

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1991

Production year

1990—1991

Premiere

29 May 1991

Runtime

77 min

Director

Vít Olmer

Category

film

Genre

comedy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Tankový prapor

Czech title

Tankový prapor

English title

The Tank Battalion

Synopsis

It is 1953. The military drilling of the seventh tank battalion is an upleasant nuisance for the soldiers doing their national service. But their superiors – Major Borovička, called Tiny Devil, Captain Matka and First Lieutenant Růžička – revel in nonsensical bullying. The only exception is First Lieutenant Pinkas, a former soldier at the Western front. Staff-Sergeant Danny Smiřický often dreams about his reserved love, Lizetka. But as soon as he sees Janinka, Pinkas' wife, reciting Wolker's poem The Letter Box during the rehearsal for the Fučík's Badge competition, he offers to escort her. They become lovers very soon. Borovička catches a soldier, Malina, in a prison cell having wild sex with Sergeant Babinčáková. He wants to let off steam on Danny who, however, claims that he will complain about the major. From then on, Tiny Devil hates Danny. The next military drill, overseen by a Soviet consultant, ends ingloriously. The short-sighted Maňas points the tank barrel at the podium where the battalion officers drink vodka with the consultant. Danny, fearing for Janinka, leaves the troop preliminarily. He is caught by Borovička and sentenced to prison. From there, he is reclaimed by doctor Mlejnek arguing that Smiřický is suffering from gonorrhoea. A party is held by those ending their national service. Danny sneaks away to say goodbye to Janička who loves him but does not want to leave her husband. The soldiers before them start singing derisive songs about the army. The officers respond by singing bolshevik tunes. Borovička, furious, pulls out his gun and starts shooting. He then runs out to bring reinforcements. Outside, he falls into a cesspit which the soldiers have uncovered, and drowns in the slops. Danny witnesses his degrading end. In front of Danny, Pinkas tears up the scathing reference previously written by Borovička about Danny. Danny sets off for home – to freedom? It is 1953, after all.

Note

The film is considered to be the first film of private filmmaking after 1945. Cooperation with the Czechoslovak Army was ensured by the headquarters of the Western Military District and the headquarters of the Military Drive 7368 Podbořany and the Military Drive 9967 Beroun.

Cast

Lukáš Vaculík

rotný Danny Smiřický

Roman Skamene

major Borovička zvaný Malinkatej ďábel

Simona Chytrová

Janinka Pinkasová

Vítězslav Jandák

kapitán Matka

Miroslav Donutil

nadporučík Růžička

Ivana Velichová

Lizetka Neumanová

Martina Adamcová

četařka Babinčáková

Jiří Kodeš

nadporučík Pinkas, Janiččin manžel

Vlastimil Zavřel

podporučík Malina

Martin Zounar

poručík Prouza

Martin Hron

poručík Hospodin

Milan Šimáček

rotný Josef Soudek

Zdeněk Vencl

četař Žloudek

Michal Kocourek

desátník Andělín Střevlíček

Bohdan Tůma

vojín Bamza

Stanislav Aubrecht

rotný Maňas

Václav Vydra

svobodník MUDr. Mlejnek

Michal Suchánek

voják Mengele

Michael Hofbauer

vojín Holený

Pavol Topoľský

rotný Peňáz

Miroslav Táborský

desátník Plíhal

Václav Čížkovský

četař Krajta

Milan Gunár

vojín Nagy

Eva Vidlařová

Růžičkova manželka

Elena Masariková

Hospodinova manželka

Hana Holešovská

Matkova manželka

mjr. Ivan Moravský

velitel

Zdeněk Krčál

tankista

Crew and creators

Director

Vít Olmer

Second Unit Director

Jan Křížek (druhá režie), Václav Hnát

Assistant Director

Adolf Hickl

Based on

Josef Škvorecký (Tankový prapor – román)

Director of Photography

Jan Malíř

Second Unit Photography

Milan Furman

Camera Operator

Aleš Pavlíček

Production Designer

Zbyněk Hloch

Assistent Production Designer

Milan Býček

Set Designer

Petr Gruber (vedoucí výpravy), Petr Novák (výprava) (rekvizitář), Jaroslav Pospíšil (rekvizitář)

Costume Designer

Jan Kropáček

Costumes

Dana Braťková (vedoucí kostymérka), Naďa Braťková, Hana Malátová

Assistant Film Editor

Růžena Hejsková

Sound Designer

Zbyněk Mikulík

Assistant Sound Designer

Tomáš Lylo

Special Effects

Jiří Berger (pyrotechnik), Jaroslav Kolman (pyrotechnik)

Production

Jiří Ježek

Unit Production Manager

Ivana Kvapilová, Pavel Šolc

Production Supervisor

Zuzana Křížová, Jana Veselá, Irena Fryčová, Svatava Bumanová (pokladní)

Consultant

Ing. Milan Kavalír, Oldřich Lacina, mjr. Ivan Moravský, mjr. Jaroslav Jiřík, Jaroslav Tomsa, Andrej Arnoutov

Cooperation

Michaela Hošnová (klapka), Jiří Cuřín (vrchní osvětlovač), Josef Heuler (vrchní osvětlovač), Ivo Gil (fotograf), Vladimír Bušta, Jaroslava Dlouhá, Martin Mikulík, Kája Průšová, Jiří Řezáč, Milan Ťoupalík, genmj. Jiří Brůj, genmj. Miroslav Hrbek, Československá armáda, Federální ministerstvo obrany České a Slovenské Federativní Republiky

Music

Music Composed by

Martin Kratochvíl

Songs

Blues starý ženský

Song Composer Petr Kalandra
Writer of Lyrics Josef Škvorecký
Singer Petr Kalandra

Zapadá slunéčko

Singer Miroslav Táborský

Studente Vonásku

Singer Miroslav Táborský

Směr Praha /Přes spáleniště, přes krvavé řeky/

Song Composer Ervín Toman
Writer of Lyrics Jan Mareš
Singer mužský sbor

Co jste, hasiči

Singer sbor

Havajská krásko snědá

Singer Miroslav Táborský

Říkali nám rudý teror

Singer Miroslav DonutilVítězslav Jandák

Rodné údolí /parafráze/

Singer sbor

Production info

Original Title

Tankový prapor

Czech Title

Tankový prapor

English Title

The Tank Battalion

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

comedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1991

Production Year

1990—1991

Production specifications

start of filming 7 November 1990
end of filming 3 February 1991

Premiere

premiere 29 May 1991 /unsuitable for youths/ (Palác kultury, Praha)

Distribution slogan

Comedy about life in our army in the early fifties, based on the novel of the same name by Josef Škvorecký. The first Czechoslovak privately made film after 1945.

Production

Bonton a. s., Česká státní pojišťovna (spolupráce), Geoindustria GMS (spolupráce), Caster s.r.o. (spolupráce)

Copyright Holders

Bonton a. s.

Distribution

Bonton a. s.

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

77 min

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,66

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 českých a slovenských filmů Bratislava

1991
Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
BONTON, a.s.