The Virgin and the Monster

Julie, the youngest daughter of a bankrupt merchant, sacrifices her life in order to save her father. She goes to an enchanted castle in the woods and meets Netvor, a bird-like monster. As Netvor begins to fall in love with Julie, he must suppress his beastly urge to kill her.

Panna a netvor
Czechoslovakia 1978
88 min.
  • This film is available in the following territories: Czechia, Slovakia.

In 1978, director Juraj Herz enriched the contemporary genre scene with two fairytale horror films – Deváté srdce (The Ninth Heart) and Panna a netvor (The Virgin and the Monster). Following his highly stylised features of the 1960s, the filmmaker was forced to express himself in terms of plain realism. So within his filmography, these two films constitute his return to the expressive style of Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator, 1968), Petrolejové lampy (Oil Lamps, 1971) and Morgiana (Morgiana, 1972). While Deváté srdce was based on an original theme, the story of Panna a netvor is an adaptation of classic material, respectively František Hrubín’s play for the theatre inspired by the fairytale story of Beauty and the Beast. Otta Hofan adapted Hrubín’s text for the film, but Panna a netvor is most of all a demonstration of the director’s ability to construct a fanciful, poetically sombre and gloomy atmosphere.

At the chateau in the deep woods, the heroine of the narration, the beautiful, impoverished daughter of a merchant, Julie (Zdena Studénková), experiences both a nightmarish and affectionate relationship with the mysterious beast. Despite the fact that the strange, cursed host eventually turns into a handsome prince, the beast has become the feature’s most impressive attraction. Herz rejected the canonical “lion” stylisation and instead created a bird monster, whose inhuman and beastly movements and gestures made it all the more convincing given the artistic ability of the motion picture’s big star, the dancer Vlastimil Harapes.

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Director: Juraj Herz
Based on: František Hrubín
Screenplay: Ota Hofman, Juraj Herz
Cinematography: Jiří Macháně
Music: Petr Hapka
Sound: František Černý
Editing: Jaromír Janáček
Production Design: Vladimír Labský
Producer: Karel Kochman
Costumes: Irena Greifová
Cast: Zdena Studenková, Vlastimil Harapes, Václav Voska, Jana Brejchová, Zuzana Kocúriková, Josef Laufer, Milan Hein
  • This film is available in the following territories: Czechia, Slovakia.