Archive of films Galgin's Mysterious Case / Záhadný případ Galginův

1923, 80 min

Section: Treasures from the National Film Archive
Year: 2006

The story of a man who, after a railway catastrophe, loses his memory and is unable to return to his home. This unique film from the beginning of the 1920s is a testimony of the increasing status of Czech cinematography; it is also appealing, above all, for the performance given by Theodor Pištěk in a dramatic double role. The film, considered lost until the 1990s, was discovered in the United States. In accordance with film restoration regulations, the title Count Jaromír of Kolovraty appears in the opening titles, the name under which the film was screened in the United States during the 1920s.


Until the 1990s, the film Galgin’s Mysterious Case was considered lost. The National Film Archive managed to acquire it from the United States, where it was probably screened for the large community of Czech emigrants under the title Count Jaromír of Kolovraty, and with the somewhat sensational sub-title The Mystery of the Castle Crypt. The film was based on the short story by Otomar Schäfer Galgin’s Insoluble Case, reworked into a film libretto which won first prize in a competition organised by the Czechoslovak Film League in 1922. The prize was probably justified since the story about a count who, after a railway catastrophe, loses his memory, is well constructed and focuses on two separate plot lines, unfolding in different environments. Various actors who were highly popular at the time appeared in major or lesser roles: Marie Fingerová, Karel Fiala, Ferenc Futurista, Josef Šváb-Malostranský and Jaroslav Vojta (in the role of the brutal lover). The cast is dominated, however, by Theodor Pištěk who is familiar to today’s audiences as a comic actor. The dramatic double role introduces another side to his acting talent which was unfortunately appreciated for the most part only in silent films.

About the director

Václav Kubásek (1897–1964, Prague) began as an actor in a rural theatre company; after the 1st World War he turned his attention to filmmaking. He worked as an independent director for the first time in 1923, producing two films in succession, Bewitching Eyes (Čarovné oči) and Galgin’s Mysterious Case (Záhadný případ Galginův). In subsequent years during the silent film era he made several films, of which the most successful was an adaptation of the comedy by František Ferdinand Šamberk The Eleventh Commandment (Jedenácté přikázání, 1925). The advent of film sound tracks appeared to catch him unawares, yet by 1932 his name was appearing once again in the titles of a whole series of films. During the German occupation, Kubásek abandoned filmmaking, only returning to the Barrandov Film Studios in 1945. This post-war period produced the comedy The Great Case (Velký případ, 1946) and the drama Thunder in the Hills (V horách duní, 1946). From the 1950s onwards Kubásek worked only as a dubbing director for foreign films.


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Treasures from the National Film Archive
Director: Václav Kubásek
Screenplay: Podle povídky Otomara Schäfera zpracovali Josef Kokeisl, Václav Kubásek / Based on a story by Otomar Schäfer, writen by Josef Kokeisl and Václav Kubásek
Dir. of Photography: Josef Kokeisl
Production: Pronax-Film
Cast: Theodor Pištěk, Xenie Alexandrovna Carelli, Ferenc Futurista, Jaroslav Vojta, Marie Fingerová, Josef Šváb-Malostranský
Contact: National Film Archive


Blažena Urgošíková

Film Institution Rep.


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