Ladislav Rychman, director of legendary Czech film musical, dies aged 84
The sad news was announced earlier this week that film director Ladislav Rychman had died at age 84 leaving behind a rich film and TV legacy. Rychman's best-known work is without doubts the 1964 Czech cult film musical "Starci na chmelu" or "The Hop Pickers".
His cinematic career reached its peak in 1964 when his film musical "The Hop Pickers" also known in English as "The Hop Side Story" became an instant hit, thanks in part to catchy tunes by Jiri Bazant, Jiri Malasek and Vlastimil Hala. Written by screenwriter Vratislav Blazek, the romantic story is set on a hop farm where high school students are helping out as seasonal workers. A couple fall in love and are eventually expelled from school for breach of conduct. Film critic Vojtech Rynda says this Czech film legend bears comparison with Western productions of that era.
Rychman also worked for Czechoslovak Television where as early as in 1958 he came up with a concept of so-called "staged songs" - which were nothing other than music videos. That genre was then simultaneously evolving in other countries but only became a mainstream format in the 1980s. Film critic Vojtech Rynda.
After "Starci na chmelu" Ladislav Rychman went on to shoot a few other very popular films but none of them achieved the fame of his first film musical. A multitalented filmmaker, Ladislav Rychman tried almost everything there was in the business, from shorts and documentaries to music videos, TV commercials, feature films and TV dramas. As he said in one newspaper interview: "I was curious to try out everything."