Young knight John travels the world in search of fame and fortune, but also to help others and prove himself. However, things go dire fast and he becomes burdened with life's hardships. But then he meets a pretty water nymph, Mary.
The time is 1945-46. 10 year old Eda and his friend Tonda live in a small village outside Prague. In school, their class is so wild and indisciplined that their teacher quits and is ... See full summary »
Wanting to test her suitor Lubos's character and his relation to her son Vasek, Anna accepts his offer for her and Vasek to spend summer holidays at his father's country house. She's ... See full summary »
Saxana has the enthusiasm, but lacks the right talent to become a witch. So she's kept in for 300 years - nothing unusual for a sorceress' school. Being bored, she skims through the ... See full summary »
Petr's greedy stepmother steals everything from her stepson. Meanwhile, Petr meets two daughters of a local duke. He falls in love with one of them, but she is very proud and Petr means ... See full summary »
Three middle-aged men go for a vacation with their children and learn to cope with their needs without their wives. Quickly, they plan to exhaust the kids to have some time off, but nothing really works out as planned.
Four young boys visit a dinosaur exhibit at the New York city Museum of Natural History. They then row out onto Central Park Lake where they find a secret cave and paddle into a wondrous prehistoric world filled with the very dinosaurs they had just seen.Written by
Most of the prehistoric animal reconstructions have been modeled after the artwork of renowned Czech painter Zdenek Burian. This is perhaps most apparent on the Brontosaurus, which is standing in almost the exact same pose as in Burian's famous piece and has the exact same detailing on its body. Strangely, the prominently-featured Stegosaurus and Ceratosaurus were not based on Burian's art, even though he has painted both animals, including the promotional paintings for this very film. See more »
The sound is out-of-sync during the stegosaurus examination scene. Most noticeable when the boys are measuring the length of the dinosaur. See more »
What a difference a few years makes (eg., this is a follow-up to an earlier post of mine).
Both the US and the original Czech versions are out there for sale these days (try ebay - and go for the DVD! The Czech version, at least, is cut from a wonderful print).
How the distributors of the US version ever came up with four boys falling asleep in the American Museum of Natural History and transgressing time via an Indian shaman statue is beyond me, but it was a pretty ingenious way of putting a domestic mystical stamp on a foreign film.
The Czech version begins with the character known as "Doc" in the US version recounting his "journey" while reviewing his diary. Before long, the four boys are seen emerging from the cave (which was supposedly located in Central Park in the US version) into the realm of the Ice Age, after which, the film proceeds as the movie we all know with a few notable exceptions: occasional shots of "Doc's" diary written in Czech, and an ending very different from what American audiences have seen - a seashore sequence in which the boys find a living trilobite, and closing shot of the narrator summing up the movie before fading out. (How the boys got back from their 4.5 billion year trip will remain a mystery until I get someone to translate the Czech dialog!) There appears to be no pontificating over how the boys had reached "creation" - and no footage to accompany it (the US version has shots of spouting lava and twisting luminous geometric shapes suggesting not only the beginning of earth but of the universe itself).
Despite extensive credit given to the staff of the American Museum of Natural History in the US version (namely, Edwin Colbert, prominent paleontologist at the time), it's apparent that, after viewing the Czech version, the Museum's input was limited to the museum sequences. The original movie is all Karel Zamen's - along with whichever Czech(s) who served as his paleo-documentarian(s).
Still a mystery, however, is why (as I stated in an earlier post) North American fossil vertebrates feature prominently in the film. The Styracosaur, the Sabertooth cat and, most notably, the grotesque Uintatherium featured are all unique to the American West.
Perhaps Zamen was not as isolated from US influences as life behind the Iron Curtain would have us think.
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