Castro Theatre Fri, May 3, 2019 12:00 PM
Film Info
Director:Karel Anton
Cast:Ita Rina
Vera Baranovskaya
Josef Rovensky
Total Run Time:83 min.


Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
A rarely seen gem from the archives of the Czech Republic, Tonka of the Gallows fuses German chiaroscuro aesthetics with the Soviet flare for surprising angles for this affective parable of the cruelty that comes from small-mindedness. At the center of an international cast is the Slovenian ingénue with the haunting eyes, Ita Rina, who seems to channel Garbo’s Anna Christie in her portrayal of a prostitute whose selfless act of spending the night with a condemned man makes her a pariah throughout all Prague. The indomitable Russian actress Vera Baranovskaya, recognizable from Pudovkin’s Mat, is heartbreaking as the loving but limited mother and Austrian actor Jack Mylong-Münz superbly limns the complexities of Tonka’s fair-weather, hometown boyfriend. Prague-born Josef Rovenský in the role of the condemned man will be familiar to fans of Diary of a Lost Girl for playing Thymian’s father. Made as sound was taking over the industry, Tonka of the Gallows is a tour-de-force of silent-era filmmaking from Czechoslovakian director Karel Anton, who here has made his best work, always tempering style to serve the larger story.

Print courtesy of Narodni Filmovy Archiv, Prague


Introduction by Eddie Muller


Copresented by Film Noir Foundation

Additional Information

 Image Credit: Pamela Gentile

Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
Based at London’s BFI Southbank, Stephen Horne is considered one of the leading silent film accompanists working today and his music has met with acclaim worldwide. Principally a pianist, he often incorporates other instruments into his performances, sometimes playing them simultaneously. He has recorded music for DVD releases and television broadcasts of silent films and regularly performs internationally. This year marks Horne’s twefth year playing at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.