Wakefield CAMRA Homepage                                                                 Ale on DVD Index                                Bob Wallis (reviewer)

Cutting It Short is the English title: probably not one for you if you only like high speed American style humour, as the film is happy to milk a gag and let it resurface throughout the story just when you think it’s been exhausted. It’s set in and around a Czech brewery in the 1920s with a young brewery manager Francin who’s a bit of a twerp really and only hangs on to his job because the board of directors (especially the local doctor) just absolutely drool in the presence of his sensual and delicious wife Maryška– you never saw a woman drink beer like she does - and there’s a pork feast that could have been in Tom Jones!

Louie the pig and his bit parts would certainly confirm vegetarians in their views. For most of the film Maryška’s the only woman in the town, literally and in the eyes of the entire male population anyway. The precious Francin has the brother from Hell, Peppin a male with a Peggy Mount voice, who comes to visit and has almost everyone running for shelter but certainly stirs things up. An unforgettable episode has Maryška climbing the brewery chimney in an oh so diaphanous white dress, closely followed by that loose cannon brother-in-law Peppin.

The brewery stuff includes plenty of slapstick cooperage and some handsome copper kettles, plus lingering camera on Maryška nocturnally bathing herself in a trough with water from the HLT.

If you like European humour you won’t find over-contrived the way that the strands are interwoven and come to the surface in their turn: Cutting It Short will be found to apply to bobbed hair (and the hairdresser character), hemlines in the Twenties, cutting costs at the brewery including workers’ hours (and wages), new wireless sets that shorten distances, and the docking of animals’ tails. Why does the camera linger on that horse’s twitching backside near the end? Ho ho! A novel by Bohumila Hrabala, filmed in Czechoslovakia in 1980 by Jiřím Menzelem, the dvd version has 5.1 sound, titulky in English and other bonusy including a short Czech tv feature (no titulky). Available new on eBay for under Ł8 post free if you put in Postriziny (no inflexions needed) or around Ł13 for Cutting It Short. ©RKW