THE KIDNAPPING OF FUX THE BANKER
The Kidnapping of Fux the Banker
(Únos bankéře Fuxe) (Elektafilm, Czechoslovakia, 1923)
Dir.: Karel Anton, script: Karel Anton, Eman Fiala
Cast: A. Berger (C.W.Fux), Anny Ondráková (Daisy), Emilie Nitschová (governess), Karel Lamač (Tom Darey), Bronislava Livia (Maud Gouldová)
35mm, 61’, bw, intertitle/subtitle: CS/PL, source: NFA
Daisy, the daughter of Fux the banker, wants to help her friend Maud – and at the same time meet an interesting man for herself – so she puts an advertisement in the social pages of a newspaper. The announcement attracts the attention of, among others, her widowed father and his creditor, the charming but profligate Tom Darey. The would-be tryst between the three characters triggers an avalanche of crazy events in which the famous detective Sherlock Holmes II will play a major role...
A Czech parody of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, this crazy comedy of errors was inspired by American models – especially the slapstick of the Keystone Cops – with its chases, swapping of positions, disguises, the perversely treated detective plot and the happy ending of the love story.
Detective movies did not have a big tradition in Czechoslovakia, although foreign productions did enjoy great popularity there. Playing with the convention was therefore a good strategy, especially since the film had hopes - ultimately unfulfilled - for international success, which was so badly needed by the crisis-torn Czech film industry. The sparkling screenplay was supported by a large budget which allowed impressive set design and a cast of stars, headed by the popular couple of Anny Ondra and Karel Lamač.
The film was accompanied by an interesting promotional campaign. Before the premiere, a series of mysterious announcements appeared in the press, such as: "The investigation into the case of Fux the Banker is close to an end thanks to the ingenuity of Sherlock Holmes", "The cloak of mystery is finally lifting" and "The kidnapping case appears to have been solved".
The film achieved great success in its home country, but unfortunately neither the negative nor any of its full prints have survived. This current version was reconstructed in 1954 by Jan Stanisław Kolár on the basis of the film’s preserved documentation and the incomplete copies found after the war. In this form, it remains the only evidence of the comedic output of Karel Anton from the 1920s. (KW)
Translated by: Paweł Włochacz
April 5 | 22.00 | Iluzjon cinema
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