Segment 1: Kdyby ty muziky nebyly / If Only They Ain't Had Them Bands
Segment 2: Konkurs / Audition

Pseudo documentary

28. 2. 1964, Prague, Czechoslovakia

80 min. (If there were no music – 33 min., Audition/Talent competition – 47 min.)


© 1963 Film studio Barrandov

“In “Audition” Forman has discovered his original style based on high quality work with non-actors and an ironic sense of humor reflecting the absurdity of everyday life, where ordinary people become ordinary heroes.”

(Tomas Odaha,

The first part of the film “Audition” takes us to the rehearsal of a provincial brass band. The authoritarian band master orders his company of amateur musicians around. Among them is Vlada, a shy, young trombonist who is thinking of skipping an upcoming orchestra festival because he wants to watch a motorcycle race that is going to take place at the same time.

The second part of the film follows several teenage singers as they audition for the Semafor Theatre along with hundreds of other teenage girls.

About the movie

“Audition” consists of two short films that were released together as one feature film. The first segment “If there were no music” features a short anecdotal plot about two young musicians from rival brass bands. Both young men would rather watch a motorcycle race than play a concert with their bands. In the end, they decide to miss an important concert festival to watch the race.

Both Blumental (the trumpeter) and Vlada (the trombonist) are fired from their bands for this “betrayal.” However, they quickly find new jobs by simply switching bands.

The second segment called “The Audition/Talent Competition” is a fake documentary about an audition at the popular Czechoslovak theatre The Semafor (The Traffic-light). This simple story introduces a young pedicurist who wants to leave work so that she can audition. To solve her problem, she pretends that she’s been called to attend a trial.

A young semi-professional singer named Vera also auditions for the part. Despite her advanced singing ability, she suffers bad stage fright and isn’t able to sing a single note. The young pedicurist manages to sing, but her performance is ridiculous. When she returns to work she is accused of lying.

Mr. Sebor and Mr. Bor, producers from Barrandov Film Studios, found the material shot at the audition so interesting that they decided to give Forman another chance to make a second short movie so that these two segments could be released together as one full-length film.

Both films function almost like a documentary even though they are mostly staged. Characters are depicted as ordinary people who talk and act naturally, which may sometimes seem ridiculous and funny, but is also very touching. Both films present a sense of the sixties generation – of the havenless youngsters imprisoned in the authoritarian society created by their parents.


  • Forman cast his future second wife, the singer Vera Kresadlova in the role of Vera.
  • “Audition” was shot with Forman’s personal 16 mm Pentaflex movie camera and the sound was recorded on a Grundig tape recorder. There was no post synchronization and the crew even didn’t have a clapperboard while shooting. The editor of the movie, Miroslav Hajek was given tons of film stock and tapes. However, he managed to edit the movie successfully and put the motion pictures and the sound together.
  • “If there were no music” was already filmed with a professional 35 mm movie camera borrowed from Barrandov Studios.

Milos Forman about the movie

  • “We had just started to prepare a documentary movie about the Semafor Theatre at that time. That theatre had become a smash hit in Prague. We were walking to and fro in the building shooting things going around. The theatre was just auditioning for a new singer. The power of the microphone seemed amazing to me. Those girls in the audition were coming in front of it as if it was a magic wand, which could endow them with beauty and a fabulous voice. Ordinary and stupid girls were flaunting and showing off, those without any musical ear whatsoever were howling and the shy ones suffering from stage fright were suffering even more while listening to the remarks of the judges. The atmosphere was rather unpleasant sometimes. Young women were unveiling their ambitions so shamelessly that it made me feel embarrassed. That was the moment when I decided to make a movie about this audition which I didn’t want to be ashamed of, and which would force my audience to watch the cruel performances as well.“
  • About the casting of Vera Kresadlova (future second wife of Milos Forman): “Finally a girl trio came up and started singing “Locomotion”. I couldn’t take my eyes off one of them – a tall dark girl with pursed lips. I found out her telephone number and asked her whether she would like to be cast in my film. She said we had to talk about it first. We had an appointment in a café. She looked fabulous, but she made it clear that despite her age (she was just eighteen at the time) she was not going to be duped. She accepted my offer calmly and I could see she wanted to be talked into it. I was trying to do my best and she said yes in the end, but her condition was to take the whole band to the movie shoot. Vera really fit the casting in that film, and even though it was just fiction she managed to perform as a singer in real life at the Semafor Theatre afterwards. Slowly but surely she also ceased to resist my invitations, we started to date and after a while she moved to my place".



Sense of Cinema (Darragh O’Donoghue)
Cinematic Sojourns

Czech (Tomáš Odaha)


1st Part: If Only They Ain't Had Them Bands

Czechoslovakia (today’s Czech Republic)

  • Kolin

  • Cemetery
    • The commemoration ceremony at Kmoch’s grave for the opening of the Brass Band Music Festival “Kmoch’s Kolin”.
  • Amphitheatre, Kmoch’s Island
    • The Concerts at festival “Kmoch’s Kolin”.
  • Athletic Stadium
    • The Trombonist Vlada and trumpeter Blumental watch a motorcycle race.
  • Behind the City
    • Kolin’s youth enjoy a motorcycle race behind the city. Trombonist Vlada and trumpeter Blumental are there.
  • City Community Center in Zamecka Street
    • The rehearsal room for Kmoch’s Music Kolin.
  • Fire Brigade Kolin, Polepska Street
    • The rehearsal room of Brass Band Music Company Band of Public Fire Brigade Kolin.
  • Solopysky at Kutna Hora

  • Local Pub
    • Trombonist Vlada is plays with the Brass Band Music Company Band of Public Fire Brigade Kolin at a party.

2nd Part: Audition

Czechoslovakia (today’s Czech Republic)

  • Prague

  • Passage Alfa in Wenceslas Square
    • People push at the entrance of the theatre (Entrance to the Semafor Theatre).
    • Public ice-skating at the beginning of the movie (Ice Ring behind the Semafor Theatre).
  • The Semafor Theatre in Passage Alfa in Wenceslas Square
    • People enter the theatre and gather at the box office (Theatre Foyer).
    • A dancer fixes her hair during the rehearsal (Dressing Room).
    • A dancer in net stockings goes to the hall (Backstage Staircase).
    • A dancer in net stockings enters the hall and sits with other candidates in the auditorium (Auditorium).
    • Jiri Suchy and Jiri Slitr rehearse before the performance (Stage).
    • The girls sing accompanied by Jiri Slitr on piano. Jiri Suchy and Pavlina Filipovska and Hana Hegerova watch (Rehearsal Room).

Technical information

If Only They Ain't Had Them Bands
35 mm
Aspect ratio: 1,37:1
Sound mix: mono
Black and white

Audition / Talent Competition
35 mm (film negative 16 mm)
Aspect ratio: 1,37:1
Sound mix: mono
Black and white


Barrandov Film Studios presents
Story and Screenplay by Milos Forman, Ivan Passer
Continuity Lilian Havlickova
Assistant Editor Jitka Sulcova
Film Editor Miroslav Hajek
Director of Photography Miroslav Ondricek
Directed by Milos Forman
Production Unit Vadimir Bor, Jiri Sebor
1st Part The Glory of the Brass Bands


Kmoch brass-band leader Jan Vostrcil
Firemen's brass-band leader Vladimir Zeman
Vlada Vladimir Pucholt
Vasek Blumental Vaclav Blumenfeld
Orchestras Kmoch orchestra Kolin and Band music of public firemen´s unit of Kolin
Conductors Jan Vostrcil, Frantisek Zeman
Assistants Production Manager Jaroslav Vlk, Jiri Ulrich
Camera Operator Karel Hejsek
Second Assistant Director Bozena Abrhamova
First Assistant Director Ivan Passer
Sound Adolf Böhm
Production Manager Rudolf Hajek
2nd Part Audition


himself Jiri Suchy
himself Jiri Slitr
Chiropodist Marketa Krotka
herself Vera Kresadlova
Friend of chiropodist Ladislav Jakim
himself Petr Brozek
himself Karel Mares
himself Vladislav Hrabanek
himself Jiri Planner

Supporting cast

Hana Hegerova, Pavlina Filipovska, Sylva Danickova, Jana Malknechtova, Pavel Sedlacek, Renata Tumova, Eva Pospisilova, Bohumir Palecek, Eva Stranska, Bohunka Sladka, Zorka Zahalkova, Majka Gillarova, Zuzana Oprsalova, Zdenka Lorencova, Dana Urbankova
Song "Blue Stockings" Music by Jiri Slitr, Lyrics by Jiri Suchy
Music Played by Ferdinand Havlik´s Orchestra
Krystal Ensemble of Petr Brozek
Camera Assistant Emil Hora
Sound Assistant Lubos Zajic
Still Photographer Jaromir Komarek
Sound Effects Bohumil Brunclik
Gaffer Zdenek Bittner
First Assistant Director Tomas Kulik
Assistant Production Manager Ladislav Drazan, Zdenka Cerna
Sound Josef Vlcek
Production Manager Milos Bergl
The movie was filmed on 16mm filmmaterial  in autenthic sorroundings.
Processed at the Film Laboratories in Prague and Gottwaldov.
© 1963 Barrandov Film Studios