“The Turks raged like devils as they pursued us, and I had no doubt their fury made my Moon Man’s hair stand on end — as well as frighten the princess. Naturally, this chasing game left me quite unperturbed.”
Baron von Munchausen (Milos Kopecky) and an astronaut (Rudolf Jelanek) travel around the world, rescuing an imprisoned princess (Jana Brejchova) along the way.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Eastern European Films
- Love Triangle
Czechoslovakian director Karel Zeman was responsible for some of the most visually innovative fantasies in cinematic history. His unique blend of live action and animation — including the use of Gustave Dore’s intricate illustrations as backdrops — is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before (except, perhaps, in Monty Python films, given that Terry Gilliam is an enormous fan of Zeman’s). It’s impossible to describe the sheer wealth of visual enjoyment Munchausen has to offer; see the stills below for a tasty sampling. The narrative basically consists of one bizarre, humanly impossible adventure after the other, and is written with a droll sense of humor. A love triangle is also woven seamlessly into the proceedings, as Munchausen — who fancies himself quite the ladies’ man — finds himself unable to convince beautiful Princess Bianca (Brejchova) to choose him over the Moon Man. In the end, however, Munchausen remains unperturbed, and ready to take on whatever escapade awaits him next.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- The traveling duo’s improbable journey through space, back to the Earth
- A court dancer frolicking with an enormous bunch of grapes
- Munchausen swimming on his webbed-feet horse
- A snake emerging from a tapestry to bother the Moon Man and Princess Bianca as they canoodle
- Countless surreal images, blending live-action with animation, and reality with fantasy
- Many humorous moments — as when the Moon Man discovers the trick behind the Sultan’s protective swords
- Munchausen’s hilariously self-aggrandizing monologues: “At the time I had a tremendous appetite, kept busy night and day as I was by one after the other lovely lady, who succumbed to the charm of my manly eloquence…”
- Zdenek Liska’s delightful musical score
Yes. This inventive fantasy film deserves a much wider audience. It’s listed as both a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.
- Foreign Gem
- Important Director