SummaryThe previously unreleased spooked-out psychedelic-jazz score to 70s Czech's 'other' favourite teenage witch flick. Directed by Vacalav Vorlicek (3 Nuts For Cinderella / Who Killed Jessie?) from the studios that brought you 'Valerie and Her Week of Wonders', 'Daisies' and 'The Cremator'. Finders Keepers presents the entire studio sessions, plus psychedelic effects by Angelo Michajlov (Marta Kubisova's arranger) performed by the Karel Vlach Orchestra.
"Imagine Gary Bartz and Nucleus meeting Swedish singer Doris at a Czech Pop Festival with the cast of H.R. Pufnstuff as the moody stage security".
First screened in Czech cinemas in 1972, fifteen years before British director Robert Young directed 'The Worst Witch' (1986) starring Diana Rigg (from 'The Avengers') and Tim Curry (from 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show') and almost 30 years before the ongoing series of the 'Harry Potter' films began in 1992, 'Dívka na kosteti' (The Girl On The Broomstick) occupies a special place in the hearts of many Czechs who grew up in the 1970s and 80s. But how do you score a 76 minute feature about... deep breath... a girl at a black magic university who, in order to escape a 300 year detention, steals a spell book which allows her, and her vampire guardian, to spend 44 hours, in various animalistic guises, in 1970s Prague, where, while being manipulated into casting spells for the malediction of a gang of three tear aways, she learns about love, life and morality leading to a quest to recover the witches lexicon and the bizarre formula that will free her of her ancient curse and turn her into a human teenager...!?!?!?!
Embodying the same dance floor sensibilities as tracks like Kubisová's own 'Tak Dej Se K Ruman' or a version of 'Beatmaker' by Sweden's Doris Svensson, the film's title track, played by the right DJ, could even transcend European retro dance floors. However, by 21st Century record nerd standards it might be an idea to use the "Doris" gauge to judge the psychedelic jazz score to Czechoslovakia's favourite family witch flick... Don't get me wrong, these aren't pop songs, we're talking about instrumental and incidental music here (of the spooky variety) only to be found in European cinemas, and as soon as Karel Vlach puts down the brass and pulls out the electric bass and mid-tempo score sheets then Angelo Mikhailov's demands for backwards percussion samples and eerie manmade Hex F.X. begin to add extra colour to our screens and stereos. Take the music out of its visual context and imagine a banned Italian Giallo film with a laid back Bruno Nicolai score. We even get the sitars on one track! But let's not forget that this is a kid's film for a teenage audience with a soundtrack made by chief technician at the Czech pop factory. You can almost hear the pulsating influence of Western pop music with chord progressions that teeter on the copyright friendly side of 'Light My Fire'. Could that bass line be a reference to a top ten Spanish hit by Christian rockers Lone Star? Perhaps it's unlikely but if a well traveled (by Czech standards) composer like Mikhailov was infusing the teenage market with messages from the wicked witch of the West then maybe 'Dívka na kosteti' is more subversive than we think. After years of being trapped in a small cold room by an evil wizard she finds that all she needs is the right documents before she can join the rest of the world. Like I say it's a kid's film, but many say that the Czechs made the best fantasies.