This cult film from Czechoslovakia is a musical parody of the American Western, spiced up with tricks by the godfather of Czech animation Jiří Trnka. It includes a dream cast of acclaimed actors with great songs by Karel Gott and Waldemar Matuška.
Made at a time of exuberant hope that Czechoslovakia could break free of the 1950s Stalinist ideological grip and head towards more freedom, the very choice in Lemonade Joe of the Western and of satirical comedy is a step contrary to the official view of the genre as ‘degenerate and damaging’.
There is a fight between the handsome hero, Joe, and an ugly scoundrel on a typical main street of a small town in the far West. Joe is an agent for the manufacturer of the ‘Kolaloka’ soft drink, and is trying to enforce prohibition, but the film’s value is not in the plot. Five decades later, its slightly oppositionist undertone has disappeared, while its charm, bravura and humour ensured it 4.5 million viewers; the film is still regularly shown on Czech and Slovak TV stations.
Eva Vzentekova / Rotterdam IFF
San Sebastián IFF 1964 – Silver Seashell
Born in 1924, died in 1986 in Czechoslovakia. He was a Prague filmmaker who specialised in comedies. He was a great lover of the circus and made several films and a TV series about circus life. Man of the First Century (1961) was nominated for a Golden Palm. In 1964, he won a prize at the San Sebastián International Film Festival with Lemonade Joe.
1950 Slepice a kostelník / The Hen and the Sexton
1954 Dziś wieczór gramy! / Cirkus bude! / Circus
1961 Człowiek z pierwszego stulecia / Muž z prvního století / Man of the First Century
1964 Lemoniadowy Joe / Limonádový Joe aneb Koňská opera / Lemonade Joe or Horse Opera
1970 Trup w każdej szafie / Čtyři vraždy stačí, drahoušku / Four Murders Are Enough, Darling
1977 Niech żyją duchy! / Ať žijí duchové! / Long Live Ghosts!
1977 Adela jeszcze nie jadła kolacji / Adéla ještě nevečeřela / Dinner for Adele
1981 Tajemnica zamku w karpatach / Tajemství hradu v Karpatech / The Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians