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Princess Lada flees her country occupied by villainous King Kazisvet
(The "Wrecker") who threatens to destroy her father's kingdom if she
does not marry him. Princess hides herself (in her ugly mice fur coat)
as a dishwasher in the court of Prince Radovan, who falls in love with
her. King Kazisvet floods Radovan's country, but is beaten and runs
To the Czechs this fairy tale is especially exceptional and dear as one of few movies created under communist supervision (1948-1989), which were not conforming to communist ideology and were only celebrating love and showed that evil is defeated by good in the end.
If you live anywhere else but in Czech republic, you probably don't
know much about this movie. But if you do, this is something like
Wizard of Oz for Americans. Great acting, nostalgia, classic fairytale
- each year's Xmas favorite. Loved by generations.
Princess Lada, with her golden star on the forehead, should become married. However, she doesn't like her wannabe-husband. And neither does anyone else - because it is evil king Kazisvět (Destroyer). He has fulfilled all the seemingly impossible tasks to deserve her, now he threatens her country with the war, if she does not marry him. The wise nanny cannot bear watching her suffer, and helps her to escape. Princess Lada travels around, dressed in the mice fur coat with big cape - just to avoid to be recognized for her golden hair and golden star. She comes to sunny kingdom of prince Radovan, and becomes cookie in the castle kitchen. She wears his mice fur all the time, so no one could recognize her. Once she secretly goes to the ball, where prince is supposed to choose her future wife. He turns down several offers, but falls in love with the mysterious lady that no one knows - its her, of course. They exchange rings, but Lada escapes him and hides again in the kitchen. Once the breakfast is prepared and she accidentally drops the ring to the soup. King calls whole kitchen staff to his mansions and recognizes Lada almost immediately. He proposes her, but she refuses sadly, saying she is supposed to marry king Destroyer. As it happens, King Destroyer is being announced entering. He threatens Radovan with war, if he does not surrender Lada. She comes to him, dressed in her mice furs, and he refuses to admit that he knows her. Then Radovan takes off her coat and everyone recognizes her immediately. Radovan then forces Destroyer out of the country, old cook is excused for treating her like cookie, and gets his medal for being great servant. Of course, happy end follows... Lada and Radovan got married and probably still live happy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a world where Hollywood regular produce is thrown at me everywhere,
I cherish the occasion whenever I can get hold of a very different
movie, one steady source being the German SuperIllu magazine which each
month comes with a fairy tale film from the old Socialist days - so far
alternating GDR and USSR productions, but today they gave a CSSR one,
It started slow, which disappointed me for a while, but then it picked up steam. Image quality showed its age of 51 years - no "digital restoration", once possibly radiant colors degrading to b/w at times, reminding of 2-strip Technicolor at others.. but still, it grew more and more watchable.
The story deals with heroic princess Lada, who leaves her home castle to flee an unsuitable suitor, dressed in a mouse-skin coat, to do a partly Cinderella act at Prince Charming's place. We also get lots of music, ballet, some Czech songs (voiced over in German in this edition), a little but impressive swashbuckling, trials and tribulations, and a happily-ever-after ending as known from old Hollywood :) This is a charming movie, with interesting actor faces (I liked most the ballet-master and the cook). Not sure how today's children will like it, but I (being born 3 years before) still enjoyed it very much, 51 years later.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So, Princess Lada is quite of the age to get married - and one of her
suitors, the only one we see in the movie, is King Kazisvět, whom the
princess does not want to marry, but decides to give him what she
obviously thought an impossible task - to make her different dresses,
one with colours of morning, the others with colours of noon and the
last one in colours of the night. Each of these dresses is showed off
with a swirl of dance, and music that fits the time of the day - but of
course, Lada is not content and claims that King Kazisvět didn't
fulfill his part of the deal, which I always thought damn unfair
towards him (and really, we women obviously do not know what we want).
So, what is the next best way how to proceed with the plot? Have the King declare war, if she doesn't agree to marry him, and have the Princess escape while wearing a masquerade, while the plot continues, to have her meet another King, who is in search of a wife, and poof, he want to marry the masqueraded princess, who lays her masquerade off only for th evening. Of course, there is a happy ending, and King Kazisvět looks like an idiot, but hey, Princess married the other King and everything ends well, no? This is the only fairy tale that was made that the dialogs rhyme the whole time - not sure about translations, but in original, it's a bit like one long poem.
Not bad, but ever since I watched that movie for second time as a kid, I always thought that poor King Kazisvět had been cheated on.
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