Scene from the film Invention for Destruction
Scene from the film Invention for Destruction
Scene from the film Invention for Destruction
Scene from the film Invention for Destruction
Scene from the film Invention for Destruction

Invention for Destruction

  • Czech Republic
Audio Tracks 

In 1958, this film literally circled the globe. It was showered with prizes and became one of the most significant films of the 20th century. Among its many awards, it won the Grand Prix at the World Exposition EXPO 58 in Brussels. It is the first of several Zeman films inspired by the works of Jules Verne. In it, the director tried a new artistic style to bring to life the black and white engravings made by the first illustrators of the Jules Verne books, Édouard Riou and Leon Bennett. Throughout his life Zeman continued to develop this new style, using it to create his visionary worlds. Together, Verne’s timeless story of an exploited inventor whose work falls into the hands of criminals, threatening the entire world, along with the paper look of the scenes and dramatic stylization of the whole film, all contribute to the unique appearance and original atmosphere of this masterwork of cinematic art.

The story of the engineer Simon Hart - as recorded in his diary - takes place at a time when humanity was driven by a belief in inevitable progress. New inventions emerged like mushrooms after the rain and attracted criminals to abuse them... Hart, along with his mentor, Professor Roch are kidnapped by the rogue Count Artigas. This alleged benefactor of the professor’s research is in fact the cynical boss of a band of pirates, who deliberately sink merchant ships to steal their cargo. The trusting Roch is for a long time completely unaware that Artigas wants to exploit his new explosive to gain world domination. Hart, cut off from the old scientist in a makeshift shack, tries to thwart the plans of the villains and inform the world outside of their real intentions. Meanwhile he meets the young beauty Jane, who was rescued during one of the pirate attacks. With some difficulty, he manages to send a message from the villain’s lair on the island of Back Cup, a high-tech base hidden inside what looks to the outside world like a smoldering volcano. But it is not easy to attack overwhelmingly powerful enemies who possess the deadly submarine Nautilus and an array of deadly inventions...

The film Invention for Destruction has been restored thanks to the project Čistíme svět fantazie / Restoring the World of Fantasy, which is a joint project of the Czech Film Foundation, the Karel Zeman Museum and Czech Television.

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  • Original title
    Vynález zkázy
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Karel Zeman, František Hrubín
  • Cast
    Lubor Tokoš, Arnošt Navrátil, František Šlégr, Miloslav Holub, Václav Kyzlink, Jana Zatloukalová, Felix le Breux, Otto Šimánek, Alena Kreuzmannová, František Řehák
  • DOP
    Jiří Tarantík
  • Music
    Zdeněk Liška
  • Duration
    83 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Czech Republic
  • Colour
    • Black & White
  • Distribution
  • Awards
    • World Film Festival at EXPO ’58 Brussels - Grand Prix in the International Film Festival (Grand Prix du Mondial du Film a l’Unanimite du Jury)
    • Ist International Showing of Winning Films from Five Festivals (Mexico City, 1958) - Award „The Invention for Destruction is the discovery of the show“ – in the form of the head of the Mayan king of Palenque
    • Trofeo „Jalisco“ Primer Festival Internacional De Cine En Guadalajara, Mexico (Pecime Circuito „Luis R. Montes“)
    • Film Audience Award: Best Film of the Year (1958)
    • Czechoslovak Film Critics Award for 1958
    • International Grand Prix of the French Film Academy (1959) - The Crystal Star
    • French Film Critics’ Award (1959) - Prix Jean-Georges Auriol
    • In a Japanese film criticism survey, the film was among the top 20 international films in 1959
    • Ist Banská Bystrica Festival of Czechoslovak Films (1959)
    • State Prize for the Director (1959) - Czechoslovak Prize for Peace
    • 2nd Congress of UNIATEC Prague (1960) - 1st prize is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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