Dark Blue World (2001) is a Czech World War II film with a nifty story and well-known themes.  The dramatis personae includes Franta, a Czech pilot imprisoned by the Communists of his homeland because he fought German aircraft for the RAF and is now feared to be dangerously pro-freedom.

Flashbacks to the Forties exhibit Franta and his best friend Karel leaving Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia for England in order to join the British armed services, and after a number of months they and other Czech pilots are allowed to fly missions.  One of them leads to Karel having to bail out of his plane and meeting an English lady whose soldier husband has been missing in action for a year.  Karel, liking her, puts the moves on her but Susan, the lady, is unattracted to him.  As it happens, she wishes to ease her loneliness with nice Franta, who, though he knows of Karel’s love for Susan, acquiesces.  The missing husband is forgotten.

What all this means is that Franta mistreats his best friend even after Karel valiantly saves Franta’s life in an air battle.  When the truth about Franta and Susan becomes known, the friendship dies; Karel is unforgiving.  There is, though, an instance of magnanimity which I must be sufficiently decent not to disclose.  After the war Franta, the lost soul, returns to a different Czechoslovakia.  It appears the pilot’s purgatory is right around the corner since he suffers in a Communist prison.  1951 is when Czech pilots like Franta were set free from the prisons, although the film tells us they perforce lived as outcasts.  In truth, Dark Blue World honors them.

The movie was directed by Jan Sverak and written by Zdenek Sverak.  Ondrej Vetchy, as Franta, is capable of force but has an easy manner.  Krystof Hadek displays boyish anger and purity of heart as Karel.  With now womanly good looks Tara Fitzgerald (Susan) is compellingly grave and as English as they come.

Dark Blue World

Dark Blue World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)