Archive of films Lemonade Joe / Limonádový Joe aneb Koňská opera
1964, 95 min
Section: Out of the Past
This brilliant parody of the classic Western, which apparently had master of the genre John Ford rolling in the aisles, is unique among Czech comedies. Others of its type usually disappear together with their film-viewing generation, while Lemonade Joe enchants audiences today just as it did back then. You can bet your bottom dollar you won’t find a single minute without an original idea, witty rejoinder, or ingenious special effect.
Anything could happen in this movie: you might be quietly reading the paper in the saloon or belting out notes on the piano while cowboys indulge in a bit of fisticuffs; the bad guy might get strung up by the ankles, spun around and tossed about like a rag doll; and the sterling hero might have to suffer the heartbreak of seeing his snow-white suit deliberately trashed. All this and countless other comic scenes make for mighty fine entertainment. The profusion of brilliant gags embellishing the action, situations and characterisation arises from the filmmaker’s parody of the traditional Western genre, with its ultimate clash of goodies and baddies, and from his send-up of overly sentimental opera scenarios. As in opera, feelings are here expressed in song, while conscious affectation alternates with the naive in both lyrics and dialogue. More than four and a half million Czech moviegoers were enchanted by the subtle blend of humour and nostalgia, as they were by the filmmakers’ cinematic vision, reflected in a rich variety of special effects and in their stylisation of set, performance and movement.
About the director
Oldřich Lipský (1924–1986) is a legend of Czech film comedy from the latter half of the 20th century. He began as an actor and stage director, and shot his first comedy in 1950. Perhaps it was his lifelong love of the circus that gave his humour its eccentricity and playfulness, coupled with a sense of reckless hyperbole; he was also a great champion of visual effects. A whole series of writers and scripters worked on Lipský’s films, some of the most productive collaboration involving Jiří Brdečka, Miloš Macourek and duo Svěrák and Smoljak. Their contribution brought elements of sci-fi and crime into the stories, always steeped in a blend of fairytale fantasy and comic parody. His most celebrated classics alongside Lemonade Joe include I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen… (1969), Joachim, Put It in the Machine! (1974), Mareček, Pass Me the Pen! (1976), Adele’s Dinner (1977), The Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians (1981) and The Three Veterans (1983).
About the film
Color, Black & White, 35 mm
|Section:||Out of the Past|
|Screenplay:||Jiří Brdečka, Oldřich Lipský|
|Dir. of Photography:||Vladimír Novotný|
|Music:||Jan Rychlík, Vlastimil Hála|
|Art Director:||Karel Škvor, Jiří Trnka, Břetislav Pojar|
|Production:||Filmové studio Barrandov|
|Cast:||Karel Fiala, Rudolf Deyl ml., Miloš Kopecký, Květa Fialová, Olga Schoberová|
|Sales:||National Film Archive|