Mystery of the Carpathian Castle

Oldřich Lipský, 1981

Film at Filmový přehled


When it comes to adapting Jules Verne adventure novels, the most acclaimed name in Czechoslovak cinema is that of director Karel Zeman. In spite of Zeman’s playful adaptations of Verne’s style of techno-optimism, his Vynález zkázy (The Deadly Invention, 1958), Ukradená vzducholoď (The Stolen Airship, 1966) and Na kometě (On the Comet, 1968) nonetheless remain faithful to the spirit of adventure and heroism found in the respective works. In 1981, screenwriter Jiří Brdečka and director Oldřich Lipský took a rather different, albeit similarly original path. Tajemství hradu v Karpatech (The Mystery of the Carpathian Castle, 1981) is conceived as a parody, similar in tone to the pair’s previous joint efforts, namely the fantastical western Limonádový Joe aneb Koňská opera (Lemonade Joe, 1966) and the detective comedy Adéla ještě nevečeřela (Adela Has Not Had Her Supper Yet, 1977). Verne’s original novel, The Carpathian Castle, first published in 1897, contains elements of fantastical science-fiction and adventure, as well as terrifying gothic horror. This combination so enchanted Lipský and Brdečka, that they transformed it into a parody fantasy with nods to classic vampire stories (Verne’s novel was published five years before Bram Stoker’s gothic horror novel Dracula). The protagonist of this film is the heroic Count Felix Teleke of Tölökö (Michal Dočolomanský). When he is accompanied by his faithful valet Ignác (Vlastimil Brodský) during a stay in the Carpathians, the pair come across the trail of the count’s lost lover, opera singer Salsa Verde (Evelyna Steimarová). They discover that the diva has been abducted by the fiendish baron Gorc of Gorceny (Miloš Kopecký), whose castle home is filled with the bizarre inventions of the mad scientist Orfanik (Rudolf Hrušínský). The inventions are put to use during Teleke’s skirmishes with his demonic counterpart. Lipský and Brdečka’s film is regarded as one of the most popular Czechoslovak comedies of the 1980s, surpassing even the imaginativeness of Adéla ještě nevečeřela – both films have similar casts, as well as the creative participation of legendary surrealist filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, who, among other things, was responsible for the film’s stunning props.
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Film data

About a film

Production year 1981
Countries Czechoslovakia
Categories film
Genres comedy
Form feature
Duration 97 min
Director Oldřich Lipský
Cast Michal Dočolomanský, Evelyna Steimarová, Vlastimil Brodský, Jan Hartl, Rudolf Hrušínský, Miloš Kopecký
Director of photography Viktor Růžička
Screenplay Jiří Brdečka, Oldřich Lipský
Editor Miroslav Hájek
Production designer Jan Zázvorka, Vladimír Labský
Artist Jan Švankmajer, Adam Hoffmeister
Music Luboš Fišer
Sound designer Jiří Lenoch