“You simply must love Jiri Slitr as a Lawyer. Jiri Suchy is really still charmingly shy, Eva Pilarova’s Vanilka is more resolute than romantic, and Hana Hegerova’s Aunt is an amazing elegant lady.“
Uli and Vanilka are about to get divorced, when they receive a message from their aunt in Liverpool that informs them that she has left one million pounds to their future child. This future fortune makes their problems seem unimportant. This TV adaptation of the jazz opera “A Well Paid Walk” by Jiri Slitr and Jiri Suchy was originally performed at the Semafor Theatre in Prague in the sixties.
About the movie
The libretto of the opera is a simple morality tale about love and money. A young divorcing couple is surprised by a message about an inheritance from their aunt in Liverpool that has been left to their future child. The problem is they don’t have a child yet. However, they think that one million pounds is a good enough reason to stay together.
A sly divorce lawyer tries to seduce Vanilka, but Vanilka thinks that the young postman Peter may actually be ”nice enough” and “dull enough” to father her child and not ask for any money. All of the characters are shaken when the aunt arrives – alive.
The jazz opera “A Well Paid Walk” was originally performed during Semafor’s golden era where it ran for over sixty-four performances. The stars of the original Semafor performance were the popular Czech singers Eva Pilarova, Nada Urbankova and Hana Hegerova, and also the playwrights Jiri Slitr and Jiri Suchy. The cast of the TV adaptation remained almost the same, with the exception of Eva Pilarova as Vanilka and Hana Hegerova as the Aunt.
As Jiri Suchy recalls, ”We were filming it in the Film Studio Hostivar, you know, in those wooden ateliers, in very modest conditions, and naturally in black and white. Milos Forman was already quite successful in those days, so we valued his filming with us.”
- Jan Rohac was the director of the original opera “A Well Paid Walk” at Prague’s popular Semafor Theatre that premiered on 15th June 1965. Milos Forman worked with Jan Rohac to adapt the theatre play into its TV form.
- At one point composer Jiri Slitr wanted to present this opera farce on Broadway. In order to introduce the opera to American audiences Slitr and Suchy had the film done with English subtitles. Slitr took the film with him to EXPO 67 in Montreal where he performed as a pianist with the act Kinoautomat. After EXPO, American journalist Alan Levy began translating the libretto of the play, however Slitr’s ambitions were never realized. Compared to the contemporary musical productions on Broadway such as “Cabaret”(1966) or “Hair” (1967), “A Well Paid Walk” appeared to be too modest.
- The script of the TV play differs slightly from the theatre libretto.
- The film was released by Supraphon on DVD in 2009 as a bonus within its collection “Unique”.
Czechoslovakia (Current Czech Republic)
- Barrandov Studios, Film Studio Hostivar
- The interior of Uli and Vanilka’s apartment.
|Czechoslovak Television presents|
|Opera by Jiri Slitr with lyrics by Jiri Suchy|
Starring and singing
|Aunt from Liverpool||Hana Hegerova|
|Screenplay by||Jan Rohac, Milos Forman|
|Jiri Slitr's Music Recorded by||Dalibor Brazda Orcehstra, conducted by Dalibor Brazda|
|Production Designer||Frantisek Zajicek|
|Head of Wardrobe||Marie Dolezalova|
|Make up||Vladimir Petrina|
|Make up Assistant||Heda Aksamitova|
|Assistant Production Manager||Lenka Jandova|
|Assistants Cameraman||Karel Ludvik, Viktor Ruzicka|
|Assistant Production Designer||Bohuslav Varhanik|
|Assistant Film Editor||Jana Goetzova|
|Film Editor||Karel Kohout|
|First Assistant Director||Pavel Horak|
|Production Manager||Miloslav Vanek|
|Director of Photography||Jaroslav Kucera|
|Directed by||Milos Forman, Jan Rohac|
|Processed at the Barrandov Film Laboratories, Prague|
|Filmed in Barrandov studio ateliers, Prague|
|© 1966 Television Film Productions|