Jan is a decent, boring man, living a decent, boring life as a rocket designer. When his adventurous twin brother dies in a breakfast accident, Jan decides to impersonate him, unwittingly becoming a part of a Nazi time travel conspiracy.
Former Nazi Klaus Abard survives to the 1990s by taking anti-aging pills. He plans to use a time travel trip to return to Germany in 1944 and present Hitler with a hydrogen bomb, so that he can win the war. Unfortunately the pilot, woman-chasing Karel Bures, dies on the morning of the trip and his earnest twin brother Jan impersonates him, without knowing about the plot. The plot goes wrong when they lose the bomb and land near Hitler's bunker in 1941, at a time that the Nazis sense victory. Bures, with two of the plotters, escape capture by the Nazis and make it back to the time machine. Bures programs the machine to return one day before they left, because he figures he can then save his brother and foil the plot. Written by
Undisputedly, one of the jewels of Czech science fiction.
One morning, Jan Bures (or is it Karel Bures? I forgot which is which :) discovers that his twin brother Karel (Jan?) has choked to death on a bread roll. However, Jan knows what to do - Karel was a pilot for Universum, a time travel agency. So he dresses up as his brother and goes to his brother's job. He soon discovers that his brother was part of a Nazi ploy to hijack a time travel rocket, go to 1944 (when Germany is in trouble) and give Adolf Hitler an A-bomb. Although he can do little to prevent this, the ploy fails - firstly, the hijackers are double-booked with two American tourists, and secondly, they land in 1941 - when German soldiers are threatening to conquer Moscow. When they return, they return before they actually took off (this is Jan's attempt to save his brother by preventing him from suffocating). And things go downhill from there...
Firstly, this is a very original take on the topic of time travel. Secondly, Petr Kostka does a great job in this double-role (which is in fact more of a single role after all). The effects and styling appear naive now, but they're good for their time and place. (The Universum scenes were mostly filmed in the then-new Prague subway.) Finally, the writers and director must be commended for not getting lost in the screenplay and for not letting us get lost or bored - there's always something going on and if you're willing to believe that time travel was possible in the 1970s as demonstrated in the film, there are few (if any) plot holes or inconsistencies. Music doesn't play much of a role here.
The near-obligatory compromises to Communism (this was the 1970s, y'know) are present, but in a way that just makes it even more entertaining - the aforementioned American tourists react to the sight of Hitler in the flesh by demanding to take photographs with him, much to the Führer's frustration (the guy who played him was great too). Can't really think of any other examples right now.
If you like this film, an obvious recommendation would be Zabil jsem Einsteina, pánové (I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen), but I found Zítra vstanu a oparím se cajem more entertaining.
10 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?