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7 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and very wonderful
Ignore anybody who tells you you can't enjoy this movie unless you know what was going on in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. That's pompous, ignorant bull. This is a delightful, gently but ruthlessly hilarious movie about human incompetence, which is not limited to any country in any decade, or to any political or economic system.

We human beings like to imagine...
Published 15 months ago by J. Martin

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1.0 out of 5 stars Not very funny now.
I had this remembered as hilarious from years ago at college but maybe I was inhaling? Now it doesn't raise a smile from beginning to end. I was very disappointed and gave it to charity, rather uncharitably to waste someone else's time. It's a period piece.
Published 2 months ago by Ms. Mary Fletcher


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1.0 out of 5 stars Not very funny now., 31 Jan 2014
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Ms. Mary Fletcher (u.k.Cornwall) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
I had this remembered as hilarious from years ago at college but maybe I was inhaling? Now it doesn't raise a smile from beginning to end. I was very disappointed and gave it to charity, rather uncharitably to waste someone else's time. It's a period piece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and very wonderful, 10 Jan 2013
By 
J. Martin (New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Ignore anybody who tells you you can't enjoy this movie unless you know what was going on in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. That's pompous, ignorant bull. This is a delightful, gently but ruthlessly hilarious movie about human incompetence, which is not limited to any country in any decade, or to any political or economic system.

We human beings like to imagine we're clever and competent, but were aren't and never have been. We're destroying our beautiful world and ourselves along with it, and the more we try to stop the faster we career toward self-destruction; we aim for the brakes but always hit the accelerator. We're a race of idiots, and anybody who believes otherwise is the biggest fool of all.

This is a great movie, and its greatness has nothing to do with Communism or any other ism but with its uncompromising but compassionate and very funny look at what bumbling dolts we all are. A very special and very wonderful movie.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Up in Flames, 2 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
I remembered it as hysterically well observed, and it does have very funny moments . It is often filmed in a verité style which is lively and interesting. Some of the set pieces tend to drag. It still has that quirky view of people for which Foreman was well known. The quality of the DVD is good, slightly grainy- probably the original film was, too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very basic product from Arrow Films - surely it's The Firemen's Ball, 26 Jan 2011
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A. S. Potts (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Not so much film grain more some pretty invasive textures apparent in the blacks. And there's a lot of black, it's a very contrasty copy. Sit well back and for under a fiver you can't crumble I suppose. If you're at all concerned about quality you'll probably want to look elsewhere.

***** for the actual film, still as acute an observation as ever, but only *** for this cheap, moderate quality edition.

If you search for this under the accepted plural title of The Firemen's Ball this edition doesn't show up because Arrow have chosen to go out on a limb and plumped for the singular The Fireman's Ball. It's definitely about a group of firemen organising a ball not about the ball of one particular fireman. The photo on the cover might have given a clue.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant early work by Milos Forman, 8 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Excellent satire. Ingeniously hilarious from the first to the last minute. Every sequence is a little master piece.

Would recommend it to admirers of Czech cinema, Eastern Europeans or those who can know and understand the history of this region, can relate to it and who appreciate its specific humor.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fires allover, 5 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Fireman's ball by Forman

For Ursula and Raffael Bietenhader

Many more people are bound to recall Milos Forman as a Hollywood film maker - with best picture Oscars 1975 for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and 1984 for Amadeus. Few would remember his early successes in Czechoslovakia - Black Peter (1964), Loves of a Blonde (1964), and Fireman's Ball (1967). Loves of a Blonde was nominated for Best Foreign Language Oscar; Firemen's ball met stony silence from the Czech authorities, but got a kult-like reception in the West.

The film is thoroughly entertaining despite no professional actors, but an ensem-ble cast of non-professionals, totally up to the job under Forman's direction. A Gogol-style biting comedy unfolds as a group of firemen prepares to honor its former boss at a large party. Auction items disappear or get misplaced while sexual play occurs beneath the tables. Decorations go up in flames as a worker is separated from his ladder, and the beauty pageant erupts in utter chaos.''

The centerpiece rests with the hilarious search for the ball's beauty queen. The committee of firemen (directly paralleling Communist government structure) bungles its way to stage a last minute beauty queen pageant. The final contestants are anything but beauties, and the struggling committee sees its last minute coaching efforts fall apart when the girls panic and race off to the restroom at the crucial moment.''

Parallels to the workings of the Communist Party abound. As Foreman reveals, the one scene that most incensed the party leaders refers to the national malaise of the time, and the common practice of stealing, reflected in the popular saying: "Who doesn't steal, is stealing away from his family". When one of the brigade members suffers pangs of honesty and attempts to return an item that his wife had stolen, the fire brigade is mortified, and when another member justifies the errant member's actions and states that he would do the same, a third responds: "Never! In this situation never. Remember that. The good name of the fire brigade means more to me than any honesty, you pighead!"

In the end, a fire breaks out in a neighbouring building. The fire brigade is unable to rescue it. No wonder that the issues caused such consternation in the Russian camp, and simultaneously make Forman's last Czech film essential viewing for a greater understanding of the Cold War. The Russian authorities went overboard and banned the film from the country forever. It was François Truffaut who prevented the comedy from being destroyed by paying off producer Carlo Ponti for the film rights.

59-5 February 2012
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lost a little over time?, 3 Jan 2011
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This review is from: The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Seeing it for the first time in 40 years this did seem a bit slow-moving and heavy-handed in its satire but also managed to embody a community and its quirks
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The Fireman's Ball [DVD] [1967]
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