DISCOUNTED SET OF THE FOLLOWING TWO FILMS:
DOBRY VOJAK SVEJK (1957):
Faithful to the letter if not quite the spirit of the oft-adapted Great Czech Novel, this mid-'50s double-feature version lacks the vulgarity and satiric pungency of its source -- hardly surprising given the time and place of its making -- but under the circumstances it makes a decent fist of Jaroslav Hašek's rollicking anti-war picaresque. That's largely down to Rudolf Hrušínský, probably the best-loved Czech actor of his generation, who with his moon face and beguiling eyes was born to play Hašek's discursive, deceptively imbecilic World War I doughboy. Ploughing his bumbling furrow to the front, the Švejk of director Karel Steklý and screenwriter Jan Halek is more plodding everyman survivor than Hašek's cunning "idiot," the book's savage absurdity gentled into impish bemusement. But the actors bring off the novel's farcical set pieces with brio, especially Švejk's delirious service with the irreverent Chaplain Katz (a wonderful comic turn by Miloš Kopecký) and his "interrogation" by a preening provincial police chief. The films' look, at least, is delightfully true to the original, reproducing Josef Lada's peerless Švejk illustrations down to the publican's brushy mustachios and fanciful pipe. And every now and then a hint of Hašek's unregenerate anti-authoritarianism pokes through, as when Švejk comforts a miserable dog he's just nicked from an officer: "Don't be so cross, you silly ass. If you think about it, every soldier has been stolen from his home too."
POSLUSNE HLASIM (1958):
The second part of Dobry Vojak Svejk, made one year later, continues to chronicle the good soldier’s unintentional sabotage of Austria-Hungary’s efforts to carry out the First World War, all the time protesting his patriotism while screwing things up. His rambling reflections that he spouts out in an attempt to justify his conduct drives his lieutenant to despair and get him in trouble with the authorities. This Czech masterpiece does its part in defining the concept of “Catch 22”, as its predecessor did the year before.
DVD-Rs are in Czech with hard encoded, English subtitles. Approx. 196 mins. combined. Pixellization issues.
PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW. IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):