Give the Devil His Due

  • Czechoslovakia S čerty nejsou žerty


In a war-torn principality, a prince with two daughters resides: the malicious Angelina and the humble Adelka. The prince, neglecting his duties, entrusts leadership to a greedy steward. The steward covets a mill where live young Peter and his wicked stepmother, who aids the steward's quest to control the property. Ever-watchful devils see everything and send young devil Janek to Earth to drag sinners to Hell. Befriending Peter and aided by Adelka, they challenge earthly lords and infernal forces. (Zlín Film Festival)


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English Sure, it's immoral to make a pact with devils, but when you get a group of the most lovable guys led by the (literally) demonic Karel Heřmánek, it's not hard to agree to the rules of this fairy tale. Hynek Bočan directs with clarity, the set design is impressive (hell especially), the great special effects are effective, and the mood of the film is in a pleasantly light spirit, with the Czech acting elite delivering divine catchphrases, opening the way to the peak of Czech/Slovak fairy tale production. ()


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English One of the unforgettable Czech fairy tales. It is one of the newer ones and yet it's almost thirty years old. It's a shame that nowadays we can't make anything that would be so great in terms of acting, storytelling, and humor in this not only Christmas genre. The sentences spoken here have often become part of everyday language and will mean something to you, even if you don't associate them with this fairy tale. Absolutely fantastic characters portrayed by great Czech actors. ()



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English In my list of the best Czech films, this devilishly entertaining adventure will probably remain at the absolute top for good. First of all, thanks to the performances, of which, apart from Vladimír Dlouhý, the most noteworthy is Petr Nárožný, whose role is absolutely brilliant and probably the biggest reservoir for catchphrases in the history of Czech cinema. Then also thanks to the gorgeous sets and costumes, which gave us the most magnificent hell that has ever appeared and will ever appear on screen, all under the baton of the most likeable hellraiser, Karel Heřmánek, whose evil speeches always send chills down my spine. And thirdly, thanks to what is easily the most perfect script that Czech fairytales have ever seen and which, as our national jewel, deserves its place of honour in a showcase of the National Museum. And they say we have nothing to be proud of! ()


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English This Czech fairy tale is absolutely perfect. It is incredibly funny and full of memorable lines, which you can quote, and so when the men in the warehouse drop some of the boxes, the first thing I hear is, "You dropped something Machal, I think it is the wind," and I cannot help smiling. Karel Hermanek is the best ruler of hell I have ever seen in a fairy tale and other actors like Petr Narozny excel. This iconic movie has second place in my Top Ten because I rarely miss watching it when it is on. ()


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English Hynek Bočan is probably a Satanist in every way. How else do you explain such a sympathetic hell headed by the absolutely characterful Lucifer in the very crazy package of Karel Heřmánek? This story is moldy. If it weren't for the hideous Princess Adélka and her castrate chants, it wouldn't have a single mistake. It's got something naturalistic and non-fairytale in it, and yet it caresses like a wolf's tail. Moreover, it has truly top-notch choreography that will not get lost even next to something Pirates of the Caribbean (isn't Peter Koza responsible for it?). The characters besides the aforementioned grazed princess are one and the same, especially Janek, the devil with the rank of a crow and the choleric General Nárožný... Oh, and also the bark of Václav Vydra. He became more human. Just like this entire fairytale non-fairytale. ()

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