The Fifth Horseman is Fear
1964 / B&W
2:35 anamorphic 16:9
…a páty jezdec je Strach
Street Date July 25, 2006
Starring Miroslav Machácek
Cinematography Jan Kalis
Production Designer Milan Nejedla
Film Editor Miroslav Hájek
Written by Zbynek Brynych, Ota Koval, Ester Krumbachová from a book by Hana Belohradska
Produced by Studio Barrandov
Directed by Zbynek Brynych
THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR- To go by reviews on IMDB and AMAZON as well as various critics sites this Czech film is supposed to be a masterpiece. The recently departed Roger Ebert who I agreed with in some things called it.. “a near perfect film.”
Having watched it I have to say… not so much.
While I understand its historic significance in being an early filmic examination of life under an oppressive regime, I found its execution falling far short of its acclaim.
And as someone who is a fan of classic cinema and consider films such as THE THIRD MAN, and ODD MAN OUT and THE CRANES ARE FLYING, historically significant and brilliant films, THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR is not a brilliant film. It has moments of interesting cinematography that unfortunately gets lost in the unfinished bones of a movie, a movie that is more exercise and experiment than finished film. I found THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR tedious rather than engaging; and the screeching and overwrought performances and dialogue, felt false and empty.
I respect the film’s courage for trying to say something of import, given the perilous nature of when and where the film was made, but I have to say I don’t think the film says it well. Not today, and not even upon its release.
A film that by all means view if you can see it for free, but not something that I think you will be particularly enriched or intrigued by in the viewing. GRADE: If you can see it for free… fine, otherwise avoid. ** out of ****.