BARON PRASIL (1961)::
The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Czech: Baron Prášil) is a 1961 tinted Czechoslovak, romantic adventure film directed by Karel Zeman, based on the tales about Baron Münchhausen. The film combines animation with live-action and is heavily stylised.
The film begins with footsteps leading to a pond. The camera continually moves upwards to show the flight of butterflies, birds, and a progression of historical aircraft ending with a rocketship travelling through space and landing on the moon. The astronaut/cosmonaut leaves his spacecraft and sights other footsteps on the moon leading him to an old phonograph, then a crashed rocket with a plaque readingJules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. Taken to a dinner table, the surprised space traveller meets the characters from Verne's book and Baron Münchhausen. Inviting him to their table, the characters believe that the cosmonaut is a man actually from the moon, and kindly treat him as a small child. The Baron decides to take him to Earth in a fanciful airship held up by a herd of winged horses. The Baron dresses the spaceman, called "Joey" in the English dubbed version and "Tonik" in the original Czech, in 18th Century costume where they land in 18th Century Turkey. Speaking in an unintelligible voice that he calls the "language of diplomacy" the Baron presents Joey to theSultan. However Joey's lack of knowledge of diplomatic protocal and his falling in love with Princess Bianca, a damsel in distress held prisoner by the Sultan leads to a series of romantic and fanciful adventures that transform the modern scientific space traveller into a hero rivalling the Baron. Among the exciting and satiric adventures are sword and sea battles with the Turks, being swallowed by a giant fish, and ending the conflict between two warring kingdoms. (83 minutes; in Czech with English and Spanish subtitles. Very good quality).
THE PARSON'S WIDOW (Prästänkan) (1920):
Söfren, a recent seminary graduate, and his fiancee Mari make their way on foot through a Norwegian forest to a village where a church is in need of a pastor. Mari's father won't allow her to marry until Söfren obtains a full-time church assignment. Söfren learns that he is competing with two other men who are affluent scholars from Copenhagen. The three men wait outside the church until the verger calls them in, one by one, to deliver their trial sermons. The first candidate delivers a sermon on the creation story that promptly puts the entire congregation to sleep. The second candidate is summoned and announces that his sermon topic is "Balaam's ass and God's strange power by which He was able to open the jaws of a dumb animal so that it might speak like a man!" (Numbers 22:28-30)
The verger comes out to summon Söfren and finds him doing handstands. Söfren bounds into the church, surveys the congregation and begins: "Now, two learned applicants have appeared here before me. One of them took us to Eden, and that is as far back as we can go. Let him stay there! The other one chose the text: Am I Not An Ass? But what has an ass to do on the pulpit? My friends, I will not take you to Eden -- you are too clever. But I will take you to the bowels of the earth, deep in the roaring jaws of Hell!" The congregation is enthralled by Söfren's "fire and brimstone" sermon. Söfren concludes: "And so my friends, beware that you are not swallowed up by the roaring jaws of Hell!"
Söfren's rivals from Copenhagen host a dinner for the townspeople and feel obliged to invite Söfren. The church committee announces that Söfren is their choice for pastor. The committee spokesman then adds that Margarete Pedersdotter, the widow of the previous pastor, has exercised her right to demand that her husband's successor marry her. (71 minutes; silent film with English intertitles. Very good quality).
DVD-R IS APPROXIMATELY 154 MINUTES. VERY GOOD QUALITY. REGION FREE (will play in any DVD player).
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):