17 March 2014

Vladimír Borský

Vladimir Borsky (1904-1962) started as a film actor of the Czech silent cinema. He then became a popular film comedy star of the 1930s and later expanded to be an actor-writer-director.

Czech postcard, no. 147. Photo: Foto Ströminger, Praha (Prague).

Counts, Doctors or Other Respectable Characters

Vladimír Borský (also written as Wladimir Borsky) was born as Vladimir Fuks in Prague, in Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic) in 1904.

He made his first film appearance in the silent comedy Prach a broky/Tarnation (Premysl Prazský, 1926).

He had his breakthrough in the sound film era with comedies like To neznáte Hadimrsku/Business Under Distress (Martin Fric, Carl Lamac, 1931) and Kariéra Pavla Camrdy/The Career of Pavel Camdra (Miroslav Josef Krnanský, 1931) opposite Hugo Haas and the beautiful Lída Baarová, who later would become a star of the German cinema during the Nazi era.

He made with the same co-stars the comedies Zapadlí vlastenci/Forgotten Patriots (Miroslav Josef Krnanský, 1932), Madla z cihelny/Madla from the Brickworks (Vladimír Slavínský, 1932) and the Ufa production Její lékar/Her Doctor (Vladimír Slavínský, 1933). In these films Borský often played counts, doctors or other respectable characters.

The following year he appeared in Poslední muz/The Last man (Martin Fric, 1934), again starring Hugo Haas. Haas was a celebrated comedy star in Czechoslovakia. The Nazi invasion forced him to leave his beloved country and he went to the United States. After the war he worked there as a character actor and also as a director of independent B-films.

Czech postcard, no. 217. Photo: Foto Ströminger, Praha (Prague).

Volga in Flames

Vladimir Borský continued acting in Czech films during the 1930s and 1940s.

He had a small role in the French-Czech co-production Volga en flammes/Volga in Flames (Victor Tourjansky, 1934) starring Albert Préjean and Danielle Darrieux.

The comedy Anita v ráji/Anita in Paradise (Jan Sviták, 1934) was an alternative language version of the German production Annette im Paradies (Max Obal, 1934).

Other films were Vdavky Nanynky Kulichovy/Nanynka Kulichova's Wedding (Vladimír Slavínský, 1935), Tri muzi ve snehu/Three Men in the Snow (Vladimír Slavínský, 1936), based on the novel by Erich Kästner, and Svadlenka/The Seamstress (Martin Fric, 1936) again starring Lída Baarová and Hugo Haas.

Another Czech star of the 1930’s and 1940’s with whom Borsky co-starred was Adina Mandlová. They appeared together in the drama Porucik Alexander Rjepkin/Lieutenant Alexander Rjepkin (Václav Binovec, 1937) and the musical drama Druhe mládi/Second Youth (Václav Binovec, 1938).

He also frequently appeared opposite Hana Vítová, such as in Bláhové devce/A Foolish Girl (Václav Binovec, 1938) and the drama Písen lásky/Love Song (Václav Binovec, 1940).

Danielle Darrieux. French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 20.

Master of Orphans

During the war years, Vladimir Borský only appeared incidentally in films. He played a supporting role in the comedy Host do domu/The Guest House ( Zdenek Gina Hasler, 1942).

In 1936 he had started a second career as a film director. His first film was the drama Vojnarka (1936). Other films were Jan Výrava (1938), the romantic comedy Cekanky/Chicory (1940), Palicova dcera/The Incendiary's Daughter (1941) with Lída Baarová, and the war drama Jan Rohac z Dube/Warriors of Faith (1947).

Jan Rohac z Dube was the first colour film in Czechoslovakia. The main hero Jan Rohac of Duba was a 15th Century Bohemian Hussite marshal originated from Bohemian gentry. Following the death of Jan Zizka, he became Master of Orphans, a radical Hussite sect. He survived the Battle of Lipany and, in 1437, he moved with his last remaining disciples on the castle Sion. There he was besieged and later assaulted by Hungarian troops. He was hanged three days later in Prague. Borský had also written the screenplay for this film.

Among Borsky later films were Kudy kam/Whence and Where to? (1956) and a documentary about the actor Stanislav Neuman, Herec Stanislav Neuman/Actor Stanislav Neuman (1961).

Borský’s last film role was a supporting part in Slecna od vody/The Young Lady from the Riverside (Borivoj Zeman, 1959).

Vladimír Borský died in 1962 in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic).

Albert Préjean. French postcard by Pathé Consortium, no. 44. Photo: Roger Karan.

Source: IMDb.

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