The Blue Star Hotel

Martin Frič

About film

Although the number of films produced in Czechoslovakia decreased significantly during the Protectorate, the number of people seeking distraction in cinemas increased considerably. Popular were adaptations of classic Czech literary works, sentimental stories, costume dramas and star-studded social comedies offering a break from the problems related to the ongoing war. The most successful films were often made by Martin Frič, whose name was a guarantee of high-quality filmmaking and excellent direction.

In September 1939, Frič’s Kristian with Oldřich Nový and Nataša Gollová was a resounding success. For Kristian and School is the Foundation of Life (Škola základ života, 1939), Frič received the National Award. He bet on the chemistry and increasing popularity of both actors again in Eva Fools Around (Eva tropí hlouposti, 1939). A few years later, one of the busiest Protectorate directors cast the star couple in another comedy which is reprised to this day.

The Blue Star Hotel (Hotel modrá hvězda, 1941) or Hotel Blauer Stern, in German, can be perceived as a second adaptation of a story by Marie Svobodová or a remake of German comedy The Amorous Hotel (Das verliebte Hotel, 1933) with Anny Ondráková.

The 1933 film was made by Karel Lamač, whom Frič admired and to whom he owed his film career to a certain extent. Václav Wasserman, Lamač’s frequent collaborator, worked alongside Frič while adapting the original story for the purposes of the new film (the script was also co-written by Fany Vavřincová (uncredited), who also wrote Eva Fools Around).

The plot is the same in both cases. An impoverished young woman finds out she has inherited a hotel. She incorrectly assumes that it’s a premium asset in the city centre. But in fact it’s a rather shabby hotel of the same name on the city outskirts. The assiduous and ambitious hero eventually manages to save the decaying hotel and win the heart of a wealthy gentleman who leaves his lavish fiancée because of her.

The film combining elements of conversational comedies, sentimental romances and American slapstick appealed to the audiences with a plot filled with various comedic confusions and misunderstandings and a star-studded cast. Leading actors Nataša Gollová and Oldřich Nový are complemented by many other big names: Adina Mandlová, Theodor Pištěk, Ladislav Pešek, Jan Pivec, Ferenc Futurista and František Filipovský.

First Republic comedies often, more or less organically, included several songs. It was assumed that the audiences would want to listen to these songs at home. For this purpose, the songs were released on vinyl. This trend continued during the Protectorate. A song titled Slunečnice (Sunflower) written by Josef Gruss and performed by Inka Zemánková became a hit.

The film was first screened at the end of July at the second and final edition of the Film Harvest Zlín. At the festival, Nataša Gollová won the National Award for her performance in The Blue Star Hotel and three other films (May Fairy Tale [Pohádka Máje, 1940], Sweet Person [Roztomilý člověk, 1941) and The Glove [Rukavička, 1941]). Reception of the period press was generally favourable and enthusiastic (“the funniest and wittiest film of recent times”)[1]. The reviewers focused mainly on Martin Frič’s directing skills (“made […] effectively but also wittily and with heart”)[2] and the performance of Oldřich Nový who, according to Bedřich Rádl, once again shined thanks to his “comedic brilliance and refined humour using halftones in diction and facial expressions”.[3]

Martin Frič continued making social and historical comedies and occasional dramas until the end of the German occupation. In total, he managed to complete eighteen titles. But only a few of them are as popular as The Blue Star Hotel, as evidenced by its recent digital restoration completed in 2021 with the help of the National Film Archive and the Karlovy Vary IFF in the Universal Production Partners and Soundsquare Studios in Prague.

Martin Šrajer


[1] Hotel Modrá hvězda. Filmová kartotéka, no. 35, 1941, p. 1.

[2] ibid.

[3] Bedřich Rádl, Hotel Modrá hvězda. Kinorevue, y. VIII., no. 1 (20th August), 1941, p. 5.

Filmographic data

Martin Frič

Václav Wasserman, Martin Frič

Ferdinand Pečenka

Sláva Eman Nováček

Nataša Gollová, Oldřich Nový, Adina Mandlová, Karel Černý, Theodor Pištěk, Ladislav Pešek, Jan Pivec, Antonín Novotný, Ferenc Futurista a další

Lucernafilm, 93 min.


“A pleasant surprise was the première of another Frič’s comedy, The Blue Star Hotel, reminding one of crazy comedies such as Eva Fools Around (Eva tropí hlouposti) and Sweet Person (Roztomilý člověk). Frič had already proven his directing abilities in films of this genre, but this time, he managed to give the main characters of the comedy an unusually warm touch, fascinating gentleness and, at the same time, perfect naturalness, and so we are happy to forgive him for some directing unoriginality, improbable situations, and minor technical faults.”

-al, Národní politika 59, 2. 8. 1941, No. 213, p. 6.


“The comedy The Blue Star Hotel is the funniest and most brilliant film of late. Unlike Sweet Person, which contains several artificially constructed situations and many heavy-footed passages, this film is an example of lightness, naturalness, and funny language and acts.”

Lidové noviny 49, 29. 8. 1941, No. 439, p. 9.


“Director Frič gave the film a fast pace and never went beyond what was tasteful, which didn’t exactly use to be the strength of Czech film. Generally, he made a comedy that will meet its purpose: to entertain the viewers. The film is also largely entertaining due to the actors, with Nataša Gollová having played her part virtuosically. Oldřich Nový has improved compared to his previous films.”

Nedělní list, 3. 8. 1941. 


Václav Wasserman’s explication

Even though the story is about the famous “Blue Star Hotel”, I won’t be speaking about the history of this old Prague building that, in its time, accommodated several prominent figures – but about the history of the film comedy. Currently filmed by director M. Frič, the film even centres around two “Blue Star Hotels”. But this won’t be my topic either. I am more interested in the story of transformations of a film subject matter – until it’s finally filmed in its original form. I started working on a theatre version of the central idea some ten years ago. Then I thought that it would make a good film; together with one of my colleagues, who is already a very good and sought-after screenwriter today, I made a film synopsis. This synopsis was passed to a female colleague of mine, who added remarks on the main female character. Then together with another colleague, I made a sequence of film scenes and having received the form of a film, the story was sent to a member of Anny Ondráková’s basic filmmaking team in Berlin. Anny liked the subject matter very much, but the filming only started much later. About two years later, director Karel Lamač bought the story from me for a German film. And only a year after that, the filming started – indeed with Anny Ondráková playing the main role. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to watch the film then, but Lamač once told me that he had to modify the subject matter a lot to suit him – and this bothered me! Several years later, I took that subject matter out again – I dusted it off, as they say – and gave it to a female colleague of mine, responsible for “women's issues”, to make a short story of it. When the short story was written, I took the matter again – and made it into a screenplay. This time in the form originally intended. And with new actors: Nataša Gollová, Adina Mandlová, and Oldřich Nový, who were complemented by three merry actors: Pešek, Pivec, Novotný. And, as I have already said, the film is directed by M. Frič.

One might criticize me for not bringing new ideas and coming back to old ones. But no one can blame a filmmaker for wanting to see his idea – his child – his way, albeit dressed into a flattering dress made by the women's novels author Marie Svobodová. I am looking forward to my little daughter “Blue Star” even in this dress and I wish her all the best coming to the cinemas.

Pressa 20. 5. 1941, No. 96, p. 2.